Chromebooks have gone from curiosity to useful budget computer, but they all feel a bit cheap — usually because they are cheap. Dell is deviating from that norm with its new Chromebook 13, a more high-end product with better build quality, improved specs, and of course, a higher price tag. But between its specs and a work-focused update to Chrome OS, it could be a good mid-range laptop option.
Instead of plastic, the Chromebook 13 is made of aluminum and magnesium alloy. The keyboard is backlit and the trackpad is glass. Its screen (13 inches wide, as you might have guessed from the name) is a high-quality 1080p one. And it has real high-end laptop guts: a current-generation Core i5 processor, 12-hour battery, 8 gigs of RAM, and 32 gigs of storage — at least it can have those, if you opt for them.
The base model will set you back $400, which is already more expensive than most Chromebooks, and bumping those specs could bring you north of $700 or so — at which price you could probably get a decent Windows laptop or refurbished Macbook Air. But if you want to run Chrome OS (and especially if you want to use this laptop for work) this is probably your best option.