Dell's Carbon Fiber-Clad Chromebook 13 Is Ready For Prime Time

When I hear the word Chromebook, I first think of cheap plastic machines that are geared more towards A) consumers that don’t mind operating in a mostly cloud-centric environment or B) school children. But Chromebooks are also increasingly finding a home in the business sector, and companies like Dell are more than happy to address that growing market.

That’s where Dell’s Chromebook 13 comes into play, targeting businesses that have not only fully embraced Chrome OS, but also want a premium machine that will stand up to abuse from employees that are continually on the go. Dell delivers with the Chromebook 13, giving it an aluminum base, a magnesium alloy palm rest and a carbon fiber weave cover.

Dell Chromebook 13

Speaking of that carbon fiber cover, it houses a 13.3-inch Full HD (1920x1080) IPS display. Dell offers both anti-glare non-touch and touch-screen display (Gorilla Glass NBT) options. Dell also offers another feature that is not often seen in Chromebooks: a backlit keyboard and a precision glass trackpad.

When it comes to the hardware under the hood, the Chromebook 13 doesn’t disappoint. Base systems can be had with a fifth generation Intel Celeron 3250U processor that clocks in at 1.5GHz. However, there are two more potent options on the table including a 2GHz Core i3-5005U and a 2.9GHz Core i7-5300U. Those processor options are paired with 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB of RAM respectively. Storage options for the Chromebook 13 include either a 16GB of 32GB M.2 solid state drive (SSD), and Dell is including a single USB 3.0 port along with one USB 2.0 port (you’ll also find HDMI 1.4, Bluetooth 4.1, and 802.11ac onboard).

Dell Chromebook 13

Given that this is a Chromebook that is tailored for a business environment, it comes jam-packed with management tools including Dell KACE and the Dell SonicWALL Mobile Connect VPN application. And given the optional firepower that is under the hood — namely the Core i5 — the Chromebook 13 is a prime fit for Dell’s Wyse vWorkspace desktop virtualization software, which is a perfect way to access Microsoft’s brand new Windows 10 operating system.

The Dell Chromebook 13 will ship on September 17th in the U.S. with a base price of $399 (Celeron/4GB/16GB).