Home / Technology / Tech Reviews /  HP Chromebook 11a: A dependable low-cost laptop with touchscreen

NEW DELHI : The growing demand for low-cost laptops for online learning has once again revived interest in Google’s Chromebook notebooks.

The latest crop of Chromebooks available in India includes HP’s new Chromebook 11a. Available only on Flipkart.com at Rs21,999, the new notebook is designed for students in classes II to VII. It is compact, light (weighs just 1.05kg), ruggedly built with coarse matte finish and comes in eye catching colour options such as indigo blue.

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In terms of connectivity, the notebook has all the basic ports such as USB type-A, USB type-C, audio jack and a micro SD card slot. The USB type-C port also doubles as the charging port. There is an in-built webcam on top of the screen. The dual speakers are loud and dependable and will come in handy for younger students who may not be comfortable wearing headphones for long hours.

The only downside is that they are placed around the edge of the keyboard base. When placed on an uneven surface, the audio gets a bit muffled.

The keyboard looks spacious with ample space between each keys. Also, the keys are bigger than usual, which makes typing a lot more accurate and faster. The only issue is the lack of backlighting, which will make typing in the dark difficult. However, most low-cost laptops do not have backlit keys. The touchpad is small and cramped. However, one doesn’t have to depend on it as the notebook’s 11.6-inch HD screen supports touch, which makes selecting apps and clicking on on-screen elements more intuitive, especially for younger students who are likely to be more comfortable with touchscreen, given the familiarity with touchscreen based phones at an early age. Though the screen supports touch, the laptop doesn’t have convertible design and the screen can be pushed back only up to a point.

The 11.6-inch HD screen looks bright enough for basic tasks such as reading, online browsing, video calls and watching YouTube videos.

The Chrome OS is simple and easy to navigate. Anyone familiar with Android OS can pick it up quite fast. It doesn’t have as many features as Windows OS, but it can handle online browsing, online video playbacks and online classroom apps with ease. Most popular ed-tech platforms and creativity related apps can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

Powered by MediaTek MT8183 Octa-core processor, the HP Chromebook 11a is adequately fast and smooth to use. Device boots up instantly and apps load quickly too. The 64GB internal storage feels a bit limited. However, one can expand it with the microSD slot. With remote classrooms, battery performance doesn't have the same relevance it once did; however, it is still reassuring to have a laptop that lasts longer. The Chromebook 11a's battery performance is quite impressive and it was able to eke out 12-14 hours of backup easily on a single charge.

Overall, HP Chromebook 11a is a very dependable laptop available at a very appealing price point. Touchscreen support, easy to use interface and steady battery backup are some of its strong suits.

If you are looking for a small screen touch notebook in the vicinity of 20k, for your child’s educational needs, it is one of the top options out there.

However, if you are looking for a device that might come in handy in later years of school too, there is HP Chromebook 14a. It has a bigger 14-inch touchscreen and runs on more capable Intel Celeron N4020 processor. It is available on Amazon.in at Rs24,485.

Among Windows notebooks in the same price segment, the other reliable option is the Asus VivoBook 14 (2020), which runs on slightly more powerful Intel quad core Pentium processor, offers 1TB HDD storage, and has a bigger 14-inch full HD screen, but without touch support. It is available at Rs24,990 on Amazon.in.

Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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