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HP Chromebook 11 Vs Samsung Chromebook: Which Is Better?

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Google announced the HP Chromebook 11 earlier today – an ARM-powered low-cost laptop with a sleek new design and IPS screen.

But, putting appearances to one side, the specifications of the new notebook don’t differ too much from last year’s Samsung Chromebook (Series 3).

With that in mind, we take a look at what the two models have in common, where their differences lie, and which one comes out on top.

Specs

“Both Chromebooks are powered by the same Samsung Exynos 5250 CPU.”

A decent processor, ample RAM and capable graphics performance are vital to any computer.

Both of the ARM Chromebooks are powered by the Samsung Exynos 5250 – a dual-core ARM processor clocked at 1.7Ghz.

Likewise, both notebooks feature 2GB of RAM and 16GB of solid-state storage.

It’s possibly that the HP model uses a different model of SSD, something that could be giving the HP model its slight performance boost against the Samsung in initial benchmarks.

Graphics also remain standard between the pair, being provided by an integrated Mali-T604 chip.

HP say that their 11-inch can run for 6.5 hours, while Samsung proffers 6.3 hours.

Screen

Better Screen

Latest model sports better screen

Both models sport 11.6″ displays at a resolution of 1366 x 768. But when it comes to quality they differ by a country mile.

Samsung use a traditional matte LCD HD display in their low-end Chromebook. It’s perfectly suitable for general web work and surfing, and avoids the need to jostle around to prevent face or light reflections on screen.

But HP have opted to use an IPS screen in their offering.  If you’ve used an Apple iMac in the last few years you’ll be familiar with IPS. Not only does it provide a very wide viewing angle without colour inversion, but it has fantastic colour reproduction, too.

The screen is, arguably, where the true differentiation lies.

Ports, Keyboard & Trackpad

When it comes to input, both models are evenly matched. There are full-sized Chrome OS chiclet keyboards on both, as well as gesture-ready clickable trackpads – though without a hands-on I can’t attest to how the trackpads compare against each other.

But there is a difference in the number and types of ports offered by each. HP’s new notebook covers the basics but skimps on an SD card slot, a decision probably aimed at getting people to make use of Google Drive for storage. The HP Chromebook also charges via a Micro USB port, meaning you’ll need one less cable on the go.

Its ports, all on the left hand side of the device, are as follows:

  • 1x Micro USB (used for charging and video out through SlimPort)
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • Mic/Headphone Combo

For the peripheral-addicts Samsung’s ARM Chromebook offers a few extra options, such as high-speed USB 3 and full-size HDMI out:

  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x USB 3.0
  • SD Card Slot
  • HDMI Out
  • Mic/Headphone Combo

Appearance

Colourful Options with HP

Colourful Options with HP

The HP model is available in 5 color variants – black, and white with either red, blue, green or yellow accents, and a lightbar similar to that found on the Chromebook Pixel. Packaged app developers are able to take advantage of an API to communicate with the lightbar, too.

Samsung’s Chromebook is only available in one uniform matte silver look, and lacks a lightbar.

Build & Weight

No one wants to carry around excessive weight just to do a bit of coffee-shop surfing, so Chromebooks have always been built to be lighter and slimmer than traditional laptops.

The HP Chromebook 11 is the lightest and thinnest Chromebook yet – but only just.

HP Chromebook 11: 

  • Weight 2.3lbs/1.4Kg, size
  • Size: 297 x 192 x 17.6 mm

Samsung Series 3:

  • Weight: 2.43lbs
  • Size: 289 x 208 x 17.5 mm

Build-wise the HP will feel more sturdy thanks to Google and HP bonding its plastic shell to a strong magnesium skeleton. While the Samsung is not exactly fragile, the lack of internal frame will result in it feeling slightly less robust in hand.

Price

The kicker for most is price. A great laptop with awesome specs is all fine and dandy, but it has to be within reach.

Thankfully both the Samsung Chromebook and the new HP model are aimed at the ‘low-end’ of the computing market.

Samsung Chromebook retails at $249, though a year on from its release it can be had for around $215 by shopping around.

HP’s offering is slightly more expensive at $279, no doubt on account of the much better display.

Summary

As you can see: the differences between the two devices are more about lifestyle and looks than they are about raw specs and special features.

For an extra $30 on the price of the Samsung, the HP’s IPS display, along with the more robust and colourful design, does make the HP the preferred choice on paper.

But, with good deals to be found on the Samsung Chromebook, it’s far from being a poor substitute.

Links to buy both laptops on Amazon.com can be found below.

HP Chromebook 11 on Amazon.com   Samsung Chromebook on Amazon.com

  • dnd

    Thanks for the article, exactly what I was looking for.
    Disappointing specs really as I found the Samsung to be under powered and also the colours look tacky.

    • Sebastiaan Franken

      Under powered? What do you do with your chromebook if I may ask? Mine runs fast and fine still, even with HD youtube vids and hangouts and all that jazz

      • Joe Montfort

        I’m with you there. I’ve seen some criticize the ARM-powered Samsung for being sluggish, but that has not been my experience.

      • dnd

        I agree the video decoding is good but it struggles with complex websites, large photos and even spreadsheets with graphs take a while to load.

        From memory I recall this one being bad:
        http://www.case-3d.com/#home

        • Sebastiaan Franken

          I guess this is different per Chrome OS user. Mine runs that site just fine (no lags and ~55 FPS according to the developer tools) but I’ve just opened this and nothing else. Who knows; maybe it stutters if I have 30 other tabs open.

          • http://www.live-craft.com/ Jonathan Alfonso

            Hangouts causes my Samsung Series 3 to randomly restart. Does this happen to you? I also get very sluggish performance in Cut the Rope and Happy Friday; they perform so miserably that I actually use it as a benchmark for Chrome OS devices.

    • LS650

      Chalk me up as also suprised. I find that the browser tends to be just as responsive, if not better, than my Windows machines.

  • bozzykid

    You should point out how good the Samsung ARM trackpad is. Based on how bad the current HP trackpad is on the 14in Chromebook, I would be a bit worried about the new one. And it is a shame they put year old hardware on the inside. I’m waiting for a new Samsung Chromebook to beef up the CPU/GPU.

  • Andreas Arambasic

    Well I’m disappointed. 1 year old(same) hardware. More expensive than the Samsung. Sure, chassis and screen are better, but gloss everywhere. You’re better off buying the Samsung one. Especially when price drops are about to happen at holiday season.

  • Curtis Mitchell

    Man, you guys got this comparison out fast. It is a good read though. Like others I’m disappointed that we get the same old RAM/CPU combo (and to a lesser extent the SSD) but the selection of ports and the display make a strong argument.

    I suppose we’ll have to wait to get the machine in our hands but I’m assuming that the HP 11 won’t have the trackpad issues that the Samsung has with flexing on the palm rests. That’ll be great for when I’m feeling lazy and want to sink into the couch or in bed.

    • shadowguy14

      Yes that horrible flexing issue needs to be fixed.

    • Sam Hollis

      Yeah, they should’ve kept the same specs from the 14 and put them into this one’s body.

  • Chris

    Why is everyone ditching the RJ-45 network port on these devices. Thank goodness I bought the old C7 when I did. Even the new one has dropped the port. Forgetting about the performance advantage of wired connections in low-signal strength environments (hotel wi-fi for example), for the pennies involved, it is handy to have for places you can’t get wi-fi (like my workplace which doesn’t allow wi-fi for purportedly security reasons.) I’ll buy Chromebooks anyway, because I love the one I have and the worry-free computing experience, but it looks like once this C7 dies, I’ll be out of luck for using my own laptop at work. :(

    • Josiah Slice Gensler

      A Linux-compatible USB-to-RJ-45 adapter can be acquired for less than $5 USD. I own one of these said adapters and have no complaints

    • Arthur Tucker

      There are thousands, if not millions, of USB-to-Ethernet adapters on the market.

    • http://www.gramachree.co.uk/ John Samuel

      Yeah, I’ve bought an adapter. But I agree, on the chassis would have been better.

    • http://www.live-craft.com/ Jonathan Alfonso

      I hear you can get 10 Gigabit with a USB 3.0 -> RJ-45 adapter.

    • LS650

      I’m surprised that your business doesn’t allow BYOD to attach to a neutral WiFi – yet will let you connect an unsupported external device to their supposedly secure network.

      • Chris

        They don’t even allow wi-fi to be setup in our building (I’m in ATC), and they require me to authenticate myself as a user on the network even with my own device, so they know who I am. I guess that plus their malware detection programs and Websense filters are enough to make them feel secure. Though I don’t see why wi-fi would be any less so, given that I would still be subject to all those things. Anyway, I can’t change it, so I just have to live with it. The USB RJ-45 is a good solution, though like someone else said, it’s better if it’s on the chassis – one less thing sticking out a port to get bent or broken.

  • dhtcogb

    can you charge the laptop and run an external monitor at the same time on the HP Chromebook 11? I’m not familiar with the slimport

    • http://www.chrissteurer.com/ Chris Steurer

      Most SlimPort adapters have a microUSB port in them to deliver power to the device and run the video out. These same adapters can be used for phones and tablets too.

  • http://forum.north-ameri.ca/ Michael Zuskin

    Samsung’s display doesn’t reflect lamps and windows behind the user. HP’s reflects – don’t want it even for free.

    • http://www.live-craft.com/ Jonathan Alfonso

      Not to mention that the entire laptop is made of smudgy, shiny plastic.

  • SausPud

    Both chromebooks are the same price in the UK of £229.

  • Anthony Tumiwa

    which one has a faster startup?

    • http://www.live-craft.com/ Jonathan Alfonso

      They are identical.

  • Graham Brand

    I’m quibbling, but you state that the HP is the thinnest and lightest Chromebook yet. Lightest yes, but the Samsung is thinner (by 0.1 mm).

    The HP’s a nice addition to the range, and will suit many people, but for me the matte screen, HDMI output and SD card slot of the Samsung still give it the edge.

    • iMatWork

      The 17.6 is not the depth that they are gauging the THINNEST category by. I believe it’s the 192 vs 208 that is being compared.

  • a.d.AM

    sARMsung all the way. $30 less, more ports, and the screen is totally fine. Way to “upgrade” Google!!!!

    • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

      more than $30 if you go used. I got mine for $180. Saw one for $160 on craigslist. Was thinking of upgrading to this one but I was hoping for more cpu.

    • Christian Koncz

      Yeah, the price is great, but don’t expect top-notch quality. The samsungs are quite fragile, made of really thin, brittle plastic and the screen is prone to cracking. You need to handle the samsung really carefully or it will break within a couple of months. I bought mine last year and it was great back then, but now I would go for a newer model, probably the HP or wait for the Toshiba one. I also managed to crack the screen a bit, though it is only a 2 inch thin vertical line that is not too disturbing. One of the 4 rubberized pads on the bottom came off and the hinge is a bit loose and slightly off centre after it fell off my bed. It still works perfectly but I am already looking to buy a new model, I wouldn’t buy the samsung now that the much better made HP is out. I would definitely pay the extra for the HP if I were you.

    • John Montgomery

      What do you mean? Google didn’t “upgrade” anything. HP built this Chromebook. The folks in Mountain View didn’t have anything to do with it.

  • sven

    I’m in the market for a chromebook, but slightly worried about the quality of the trackpad on the HP compared to the Samsung which suposedly is very good – anyone knows anything? My google’ing on the issiue has led to nothing yet.

    • http://www.live-craft.com/ Jonathan Alfonso

      I own a Series 3 Samsung Chromebook and I love it. The laptop itself can be rather slow at times, but overall the entire experience is very smooth. Answering your question more directly, the trackpad is very fluid and responsive. If you have ever used a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, the experience is comparable. Gestures are fluid and follow your fingers to the point.

      Great trackpad overall; to be honest, I prefer it over a Macbook any day.

    • LS650

      I read some reviews from a year ago that were a bit negative towards the Samsung trackpad. I was reluctant about buying the Samsung, but I’ve found the trackpad to be completely fine, and just as good as I’ve found on any other laptop.

  • CyberBob859

    Does anybody know if the HP Chromebook 11 has Bluetooth, and if so which version?

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      Bluetooth comes as default on all Chromebooks.

      • chromebkkk

        bluetooth for mouse, yes, but *not* discoverable for bluetooth audio. Found this out AFTER I had done research that claimed “bluetooth default” as you say, and purchased.

        • ChromeUser

          HP or the Samsung? Google did push out an update to the Samsung where it now recognizes audio devices. I have been able to pair up headset and portable speaker

  • http://nmmmnu.blogspot.com nmmm

    Is HP have ssd / msata or is same old nand?

    • Fuad Al-Qattan

      ssd

      • http://nmmmnu.blogspot.com nmmm

        Actually I found the specs – it is emmc, same as on samsung

  • xavier

    love if improve processor

  • http://www.jopv.net/ Jop

    Samsung makes bad quality products overally…

    • Reece Williams

      Like to see how you got to this conclusion. Or are you just a fanboy of other products.
      IIhave owned numerous Samsung products from mmicrowave ovens to cameras and not had a bad product. The first S1 had some speed issues but that was it.

      • http://www.jopv.net/ Jop

        I haven’t had any Samsung products, but some people I (indirectly) know have had bad experiences.

        • AustinUSC

          You shouldn’t let their expirences deciede you opinion

    • http://www.live-craft.com/ Jonathan Alfonso

      I own the ARM Chromebook and I couldn’t have asked for more out of it. It’s a bit slow in some places, but remember that the ARM laptop market is still new. I love this laptop and because of its low price, I’ll be sure to buy the next Samsung Chromebook in a heartbeat.

  • hadixavier

    any detail processor improvement other than 5250 official view?

  • G Dogg

    I haven’t seen a single comment about the audio.

    First I’ll tell you, I owed both the Samsung and the HP. I first bought the Samsung.. my first ever Chromebook. I loved it. But it died after one week. (For no apparent reason.) Well, these things happen. And I was still within the 15 days return/swap policy of my store, so I was on my way to get a replacement. But as fate would have it, the new HP was announced. So I checked a few reviews, and the specs, and decided to replace my new [broken] Samsung with the new HP.

    The main reason I switched to the HP was the weight. Yes, they have virtually the same weight, until you measure the power supply. (Why don’t they include the PS in the specs?) The PS of the Samsung is a typical boxy type that weighs almost a half pound! The PS of the HP is much smaller, just a couple of oz. My hobby is to adventure-travel around the world a good bit, which is precisely what I bought the Chromebook for, and the extra half pound in my small backpack is kind of a big deal to me.

    But now to the audio: The speakers in the Samsung are two little guys stuck into the bottom-side of the two front corners. In order to hear it even semi-well, I would have to hold the computer with my two hands cupped under the front edges. Not cool. The HP, on the other hand, has the speakers built in under the keypad, facing upward. The sound has no bass freqs to speak of, but otherwise, it really quite satisfactory and plenty loud enough. Nice design!

    • Charlie Du

      On the point of power adapters; Samsung’s ones are still going strong whereas HP ones are melting. Not trying to troll but I guess it is now a genuine consideration when buying the hp11.

      • g dogg

        I have no problem with Samsung quality. I think it was just bad luck that my brand new Samsung Chromebook went down within the first week. (BTW: the Samsung AC adapter was not the problem.) But my HP adapter is working fine too. It is not getting hot, just barely warm. And as I mentioned above, I travel with the Chromebook, so the lightness of the HP adapter is much appreciated.

  • Seth King

    I also wanted to hear about the ps output can you charge in on both ac and dc? I’m planning on getting a chromebook later this month and I’m definitely leaning On Hp’s product… Although I’m not happy with hp’s crappy charger and them removing it… If it takes 6months to get back on the line I’m going with the s,a sung most likely

  • Quang n.

    There’s one typo mistake here, HP Chromebook 11 weight 2.3lbs => 1.04Kg, 1.4 is too heavy for 11.6 inches laptop.

  • http://www.live-craft.com/ Jonathan Alfonso

    I feel that the Samsung Chromebook is better (personally). The Samsung Chromebook holds up rather well, and does not get as noticeably dirty. The HP Chromebook seems to be a 11.6 inch fingerprint magnet, while the Samsung Chromebook is not. Furthermore, I’d take anti-glare over IPS any day.