HP has announced and is preparing a new Chromebook model, the HP Chromebook 11 G4. The 2015 model looks very much like the 2014 model but with a useful difference: it is cheaper. The retail price of the cheapest model is down to $199, some $40 less than the starting price of the G3 although HP are careful to point out that the average selling price of the cheapest model is actually $219. Also, as you would expect, this $199 buys you an entry level Chromebook. It's powered by the Intel Celeron N2840 Bay Trail, a dual core, 64-bit processor clocked at 2.17 GHz as standard with a turbo mode available of up to 2.58 GHz depending on circumstances. The N2840 is backed up by 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of local storage. The screen has the as-expected and standard for the smaller Chromebook's 11.6-inch size. It is also the standard Chromebook resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels although HP notes that an IPS screen of the same resolution will be available from late July. The Chromebook 11 G4 includes dual band WiFi, Bluetooth 4, a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port plus a media card reader.
In common with many HP products, the Chromebook 11 G4 can be ordered with a different specification. Customers may upgrade the memory from 2 GB of RAM up to 4 GB and the internal storage may be doubled from 16 GB to 32 GB. I have already mentioned the screen, whereby HP are planning on making an IPS unit available a little later into the summer: hopefully this will be as bright and colorful as the last HP Chromebook 11 with an IPS display, plus bringing with it much wider viewing angles. Furthermore, the model has an optional LTE modem. Charging and power is provided by a 36 WHr battery and a HP power block – there's no MicroUSB charging here. The basic Chromebook 11 G4 weighs 1.28 kg.
The price drop is a welcome feature, but it is not quite clear why the average selling price is some $20 higher than the $199 quoted by HP. From HP's quick specification document released, the G4 has clearly been designed for the classroom and this may make the device a little tougher to track down as it's likely to not appear directly in retail stores. Chromebooks designed for education are often somewhat more robust than those designed for the consumer but contain very similar components: if you are in the market for an inexpensive and tough Chromebook, the HP Chromebook 11 G4 may well be just the device you are looking for.