At IFA, Dell is launching a few Chromebooks, and while most are designed to maximum affordability, The Inspiron Chromebook 14 has a higher quality than one might imagine, for a Chromebook.
On the outside, the Inspiron Chromebook 14 has an aluminum chassis with a 360-degrees screen swivel capability. We found the build quality to be very nice for that price level and for the Chromebook category. Of course, more expensive computers (XPS 13) will get even better materials, but it’s all relative.
The display of this Chromebook is a 14” FHD (1920×1080) IPS LCD panel, which should have excellent viewing angle, inherent to this technology. The 72% Adobe RGB color coverage is very decent for this category and a good trade-off between performance and value. Keep in mind that there are relatively few 14” Chromebooks, and we pointed it out when we reviewed Google’s 2018 Pixelbook recently.
It is possible to use a digital pen, and it reminds to be seen how well it compares with Google’s version. That will be an exciting contest if we find the time to review this computer. This Chromebook’s pen is garaged in the chassis, which can be an advantage in itself.
Since these computers are supposed to be connected all the time, Dell has included a 2×2 WiFi (AC) which should perform well. This refers to the capability for the laptop’s wifi to handle multiple connections at once, thus increasing speed by parallelism.
Once you can stream fast, the audio quality becomes essential. Dell mentions a “built-in stereo speakers are professionally tuned with advanced processing to deliver professional-grade sound,” but we haven’t been able to test it because the demo environment was a bit noisy. That said, most Chromebooks aren’t really for “audiophiles,” so we would not be surprised that this fancier one had much better speakers than average — how good is the question.
The CPU option for this laptop is the Intel Core i3-8130U, with 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of eMMC flash storage. From a general laptop perspective, it’s not really the fastest CPU option you can get, but it’s a pretty standard option for value-oriented computers. When we have the street prices, we can compute precisely how much speed you get for the money.
The other thing to keep in mind is that Chromebooks run on a light version of Linux, which is not as demanding as Windows. In our experience, if you run with less than 10 browser tabs, the performance is slightly smoother than even a more powerful Windows laptop. However, if you leave a lot of tabs open, the faster computers will be noticeably more responsive.