On the heels of Acer’s latest Chromebook, HP has joined the fray and announced four new EDU Chromebooks ahead of opening day at BETT 2020 in London. In the mix of devices, HP is expanding their “EE” lineup with three 11.6″ Chromebook to include one x360 convertible as well as a 14″ clamshell that can be outfitted with a Full HD display and up to 8GB of RAM.
Unlike Acer that opted to go with a Comet Lake processor, HP’s new line is a bit of a grab bag with chipsets that include Gemini Lake, Gemini Lake-R and the scarcely utilized A4 and A6 APUs from AMD. (It seems a bit odd to launch devices with Gemini Lake chips and the refreshed version of the processor given how similar they are in performance but hey, they don’t ask for my input on these decisions.) Anyway, here’s a closer look at HP’s new EE (Education Edition) lineup.
HP Chromebook 11 and 11A G8 EE
The 11.6″ clamshells in this lineup come with more configurations than most of us would care to filter through. So, I’ll highlight the details and you can check out the spec sheets if you’d like to take a more detailed look at the differences. First, there are six (6) processor options. Where available, you can choose from dual or quad-core Gemini Lake or Gemini Lake-R processors as well as the AMD A4 or A6 APUs. (11A denotes the AMD models) All configurations include 2 USB-C ports and 2 USB-A ports. One peculiar thing to note is that the A ports on the Intel models are USB 3.1 while the AMD Chromebooks are only USB 2.0.
Both the Intel and AMD variants can be equipped with up to 8GB of RAM but the Intel models can opt for 64GB of storage while the AMD siblings only get 32GB max which is a shame for any Chromebook. You can upgrade to an IPS touchscreen that pumps out an okay 220 nits but from my experience, none of these panels are going to win any awards. I really hope that manufacturers will take a note from their consumer devices and realize that it isn’t difficult to put in a decent screen and still keep the price down but that’s a rant for another day. Both the 11 and 11A G8 come in your choice of Sage Green or Pebble Grey with the Intel-powered models being available this week and starting at $259. The AMD version will be available in February with pricing to be announced closer to release.
HP Chromebook x360 11 G3 EE
The only convertible of the bunch, the HP Chromebook x360 11 G3 EE looks to be the common fare for the education market but is boasting that it’s the thinnest 11.6″ EDU Chromebooks on the market. With an 11.6″ HD Gorilla Glass display and an optional digitizer with HP EMR Pen, the x360 11 G3 EE looks like just about every other chunky-bezel EDU device on the market. It offers the same variety of Gemini Lake and Gemini Lake-R processors as the Chromebook 11 G8 and can be equipped with up to 8GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. It is worth mentioning that the HP x360 isn’t being advertised as having USI stylus support which I feel is a massive omission on HP’s part. Their latest x360 models for consumers feature this tech and it seems like a bit of a fail to not include it in an EDU device.
Ports include 2 USB-C, 2 USB-A 3.1, a MicroSD card slot and a 3.5mm audio jack. HP is also touting that this new Chromebook line is “the world’s first Chromebooks with full-skirted anchored keys.” That simply means that they are more pick resistant than previous models. The x360 11 G3 is drop-tested to 122cm, splash-resistant and features metal-reinforced corners. Available in Dusk Blue and Pebble Gray, the HP Chromebook x360 11 G3 EE is available now and starts at $299.
HP Chromebook 14 G6
Last but not least, we have the next iteration of HP’s 14″ EDU Chromebook. Again, there isn’t a lot to get excited about here except for the fact that you can get the latest Gemini Lake-R processor and an optional touchscreen that puts out a decent 250 nits of brightness. The HP Chromebook 14 G6 gets up to 8GB of RAM but you can slap on 128GB of storage which is a breath of fresh air for an EDU device. It does offer an optional privacy shade for the webcam which is a plus for schools and the Chromebook can easily be expanded to a second desktop with the full-size HDMI port. The HP Chromebook 14 G6 comes in Chalkboard Gray and is available now starting at $289.
You can find the newest HP Chromebooks for education at the link below. We’ll get our hands on as many of these as we can in the coming weeks so we can share our thoughts and first impressions of HP’s latest device.