HP's Chromebook 13 is dressed for success at $499

HP's new Chromebook 13 G1 could compete with Apple's MacBook at half the price. The Chromebook 13 G1 offers an aesthetically pleasing, brushed-aluminum body that may be the best-looking Chromebook since the Pixel (even if it doesn't come in pink). This the first Chromebook we know of with Intel's Skylake Core M processors. That class of CPU might let HP's Chromebook strike the right balance between performance and battery life for this platform.

HP includes two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and a single USB 3.1 Type-A port on the left of the Chromebook 13. The company hasn't said how much storage it'll include with this machine, but a microSD card reader should let users move files around or expand the internal flash. Chrome OS should look pretty on this machine's standard 13" 1080p display or an optional 3200x1800 panel. The Chromebook squeezes all of those bits into a 13-mm-tall chassis, besting the MacBook by a hair's width. For on-the-go users, the purported 11.5-hour battery life could make long car rides and flights more bearable. Business users who need enterprise-grade remote desktop and virtual private network support will find that the Chromebook 13 is ready for VDI and VPN from vendors like Citrix, VMWare, and Cisco, too.

HP caters to the business crowd with the $149 HP Elite USB-C Docking Station. If it's not obvious from the name, the dock connects to the laptop using a USB-C cable. The dock can drive up to two 1080p displays connected using DisplayPort or HDMI. It also adds an Ethernet port for wired networking and a five-port USB hub for charging phones and connecting peripheral devices.

Several configuration options exist for the Chromebook 13, according to a detailed HP spec sheet leak. The entry-level laptop will include 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and a choice of Intel Pentium 4405Y, Core m3-6Y30, or Core m5-6Y57 CPUs. The mid-level unit will include 8GB of RAM and Intel Core m5-6Y57 or Core m7-6Y75 CPUs. The high-end model comes with a whopping 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core m7-6Y75 chip. The last option choice is between the 1080p and 3200x1800 screens, neither of which support touch. The Chromebook 13 should be available this month for $499.

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