Haier has been a somewhat middling player in the Chinese smartphone scene for a while now, but decided to take a stab at Chromebooks back in 2015. Their freshman efforts were two lower-end Chromebooks, made under Google’s watchful eye, that offered Rockchip processors and small amounts of internal storage. Made to give consumers a practical Chromebook experience at a low price, the notebooks, somewhat predictably, garnered mediocre reactions. Labelled the Haier Chromebook HR-116 and codenamed “Wizpig”, their sophomore effort seems to be a somewhat classier beast, if some hands on time with a writer for Notebook Italia at the Intel Developer Forum in Shenzen, China is any indication.
Boasting a 360 degree hinge and a somewhat sturdy-looking plastic frame, the prototype shown in the pictures and video below holds some slightly higher-end bits under the hood than its predecessors. While the display remains unchanged, an 11.6 inch affair with a 1366 x 768 resolution with IPS LCD technology, the RAM has been bumped up to between 2 and 4 GB, depending on the variant at hand. Storage options come in at 16GB and 32GB, while the processors are a dual-core Intel Celeron N3060 or quad-core Celeron N3160, both using Intel’s 14nm Braswell architecture that’s meant to serve as a successor to Bay Trail. Also on offer with both models, you’ll find Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a MicroSD slot and a 40WH battery, which should keep the lights on for about 10 hours under normal use conditions.
There was no word on pricing, but the spec bump and build suggest a price slightly higher than its predecessors, but not likely more than $350. The specs on offer are somewhat similar to a mid to low end Windows laptop or a mid-range Chromebook and will likely be priced accordingly. Speculation pegs the device as launching in June, though there was no solid word in this area, either. Although the pictures and videos seem to show a polished product, it should be noted that this is only a prototype and that the final design could change drastically, as well as the specs, leading up to launch day.