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This $190 Chromebook is perfect for running Android apps

June 28th, 2016 at 2:40 PM
HP Chromebook 11 G5

Chromebooks are big business these days! No, really: they’re outselling Macbooks, and with the recent addition of the Google Play Store, you can now run millions of Android apps on Chrome OS.

But as you can probably imagine, clicking your way through Snapchat with a keyboard and mouse is a little laborious. To solve all of your problems, HP is launching a $190 11-inch Chromebook with a touchscreen. But can a sub-$200 machine actually do anything useful?

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HP’s Chromebooks have been around for a while as one of the better low-price Chromebook options. The new Chromebook 11 G5 looks like it’s keeping that trend up: 2.5 pounds, a claimed 11-hour battery life, and a Gorilla Glass HD touchscreen.

My main area of doubt is the processor, an Intel Celeron N3060 with two cores and a clock speed of 1.6GHz. I remember similar specs on the Dell laptop I bought a decade ago, which struggled with things like tabbed browsing and video playback.

HP claims that the Chromebook 11 will fly through spreadsheets and basic computing tasks, but I wonder what definition of ‘fly’ they’re using.

In either case, the real use for the G5 is clear: Android apps, probably in a classroom environment. From that perspective, a dual-core processor (with good onboard graphics) should work just fine.

At worst, the G5 sounds like a pretty great laptop for schools and lower-income students. At best, it could be the Netflix-in-bed machine that I’ve been wanting all my life.

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