Thursday, 27 August 2015

The standardisation of Chromebooks

Chromebook specifications, generally, tend to be standardised; the current batch, with some exceptions, adopt the Nvidia Tegra K1 and Celeron Baytrail-M processors (with the recent addition of Rockchip), 16GB SSD, 2GB RAM and a TN panel display. Dell offer something different with their Chromebooks by allowing some choice for the user to configure their device. The latest Dell 11 Chromebook, for example, can be configured in regards to RAM and touch screen. The 4GB version retails for a reasonable £189 and comes with a Baytrail-M processor; the previous generation sells for an identical price but comes with a more powerful Celeron Haswell processor. The plus side, with the newer generation, is that it comes, in the words of Dell, with a "Mil-spec tested for drops, spills on the keyboard and track pad, vibration, heat, humidity, dust and dirt" (the military spec is due to the device primarily being directed at schools). Other manufacturers do offer variants, e.g. 2GB and 4GB, but these are different models and the 4GB version is often difficult to find and when available, retailers can hike prices significantly (Dell, by selling devices direct to users, control the retail price and only increase the price of the 4GB version by £20). In general, Dell offer the best Chromebooks and their new 'mid-range' Chromebook 13 further expands options beyond the present standardisation of Chromebooks.

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