BETT 2021, like everything else, has gone virtual this year. Though the global education and technology conference doesn’t kick off until the 20th, major Chromebook manufacturers are already taking the wraps off of a slew of new Chromebooks. Acer rocked the boat with the first Jasper Lake devices to hit the market as well as the first EDU Chromebook to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c processor. For good measure, Acer threw in a refreshed Chromebook 311 that’s rocking the same MediaTek 8183 ARM processor as the Lenovo Duet.
Not to be outdone, HP arrived (virtually) at BETT 2021 with five new Chrome OS devices to add to the company’s resume. Like Acer, HP has leveraged the ARM-based MediaTek 8183 as well as the newly released Intel Jasper Lake CPUs. There’s no Snapdragon in the mix but HP did bring one surprise to the party in the form of a rechargeable, garaged USI stylus. More on that in a minute. Here’s a rundown of all five of the new EDU Chromebook offerings from HP.
HP Chromebook 14 G7
First up, HP has updated its Chromebook 14 with Intel’s latest small core processors. The Jasper Lake CPUs include the dual-core N4500 and the quad-core N5100 that are the successors to the Gemini Lake-R chips in the current generation of many EDU Chromebooks and Windows devices. The HP Chromebook 14 G7 is equipped with a fold-flat hinge, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, and classroom-ready features like a spill-resistant keyboard and an optional privacy shade for the camera.
With its 14″ display, this Chromebook is geared toward educators. Optional upgrades like 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a Full HD touch display should make this model a great fit for educators in a Google-centric classroom. Dual top-firing speakers and dual mics are perfect for remote learning and video conferencing. The HP Chromebook 14 G7 will be available in February with pricing still TBA.
HP Chromebook x360 11 G4 EE
HP’s latest 11.6″ Education Edition convertible is probably the most interesting on the list for a couple of reasons. Like the 14 G7, it features Intel’s new Jasper Lake processors. These small core CPUs are slated to offer a significant performance boost over the previous generation’s Gemini Lake chips. Gemini Lake-R has proven to be a formidable processor for EDU and budget-friendly devices. Jasper Lake could feasibly narrow the gap between small core and big core CPUs even more.
The most interesting feature of this particular model happens to be the stylus. The optional pen is a USI stylus but like Lenovo’s C13 Yoga Chromebook, the HP’s stylus is stowable and that is also how it recharges. It clearly isn’t the first Chromebook to do this but it is the first Chrome OS device we’ve ever seen to use such a clever location to garage the pen. Instead of sliding into the base of the Chromebook, the pen has a cozy little cradle directly above the keyboard. This makes access to the stylus quick and easy which is exactly what you want in the classroom.
Other than that, the x360 11 G4 EE features exactly what you’d expect from an educational device. It comes with up to 8GB of RAM and 32GB/64GB of storage. The screen is an 11.6″ HD touch display with optional Gorilla Glass and of course, you can get the optional stylus. This Chromebook does come with two cameras with one being the standard 720p webcam while the other is an 8MP world-facing camera with autofocus. HP has mounted the world-facing camera to the keyboard deck left of the left-hand palm rest. The HP Chromebook x360 14 G4 EE is expected to launch in March and will come in Jet Black and Nautical Teal.
HP Chromebook 11 G9 EE and 11 MK G9 EE
The HP Chromebook 11 G9 and MK G9 are essentially the clamshell version of the x360 11 G4 and the offerings here are standard fare for an EDU device. Both models are practically identical with the only significant difference being the processors. The 11 G9 will offer the new Jasper Lake lineup from Intel while the 11 MK G9 is powered by the same MediaTek 8183 ARM processor that is found in the Lenovo Duet. The Intel model will likely dwarf the MK model when it comes to processing power but the MK G9 is touting 16 hours of battery life and that’s a big deal for any device that’s being used for hours on end every day in a classroom environment. Both models come in either Jet Black or Nautical Teal. The Intel-powered Chromebook 11 G9 EE will be available in February while the MK G9 is expected to launch by the end of this month.
HP Chromebook x360 11 MK G3 EE
Rounding out the list, HP has taken the MediaTek 8183 and slapped it into an 11.6″ rugged convertible. This model favors the x360 11 G4 with the same rugged design and choice of 4GB/8GB of RAM and 32GB/64GB of storage. You won’t get the stylus option with the model it only features a single webcam but it will likely the most budget-friendly of the bunch. This will likely be a great seller for HP as schools ramp up spending for the 2021-2022 school year and the new normal of remote learning. The 11 MK G3 EE comes in Jet Black or Nautical Teal and will be available in late January with pricing yet to be announced.