Until recently, if you wanted a Chromebook, you had two distinct choices: splurge on a Pixel, or settle for something cheap and pokey. Lately, though, we’ve seen a few entries that aim to do something different: offer better design and performance for just a modest premium. The latest is the HP Chromebook 13 ($499 and up), which brings a high-res 3,200 x 1,800 screen, comfortable keyboard and trackpad, up to a Core m7 processor and as much as 16GB of memory.
Obviously, though, the tricked-out version will cost you a little more than $499 ($1,029, to be precise). Indeed, we don’t recommend most people spend that much on a machine running Chrome OS. For most people, the base level model, which has a Pentium chip, will be enough. Even then, you can expect decent speeds for everyday use, along with the same sharp screen and comfy typing experience you’d get otherwise. That caveat aside, we’d also warn you about the battery life: It’s not as long as on competing Chromebooks, precisely because of that pixel-dense screen. That doesn’t mean we don’t recommend it — just that it’s not the all-around winner it appears to be on paper.