Digital Life

Chromebook 11 goes on sale in Australia

Google's ultra-portable HP Chromebook 11 laptop has gone on sale in Australia after sales were halted overseas due to reported overheating of power supplies.

Available at JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores, the 1.04-kilogram device, with 11.6-inch (diagonal) display, claims to have more than six hours of battery life.

Built in partnership with HP, the laptop runs Google's Chrome operating system, which emphasises web browsing, video and the company's online software for word processing and other tasks.

Caesar Sengupta, vice-president of product management for Chromebooks, said the Chromebook 11 has no sharp edges, meaning "nothing digs into your wrists while you type".

It also comes with a micro-USB charger – so you can charge an Android phone or tablet – and 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, 2 USB 2.0 Ports, a webcam and Wi-Fi versions a/b/g/n.

The 16 GB hard drive is smaller compared to other laptops that usually offer hundreds of gigabytes of storage space. But this is due to the fact it makes users put most of their files on to Google's servers and not the laptop itself.

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Google claims, however, that users can do most tasks in offline mode when not in reach of an internet connection – a claim that is hotly disputed by Microsoft in TV advertisements, where it says you need to connect to the internet to get "much done" on Chromebooks.

Gadget reviewers say the "much done" claim depends on the definition of "much".

"A lot of stuff works offline on a Chromebook, and a lot of stuff doesn't," wrote the Australian Financial Review's John Davidson.

In the US the Chromebook 11 sells for $US279 ($312), leaving a price discrepancy of about $86 between Australia and the US. 

While for $399 the laptop is a bargain remember that it isn't designed to run many of the applications you might usually install on a Windows machine.

twitter This reporter is on Facebook: /bengrubb

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