Dell Chromebook 11 | A Refurbished Laptop Review
What is a Chromebook and lots of reasons why you should get one
Google Chromebooks are unique in that they run on a different operating system to laptops that are “Windows” laptops or Apple products that run Mac OS. Chrome is essentially Google’s Windows 10. Its focus is being linked to the Google cloud system and offers a more web-app focused approach to computing. And yes, Chrome is short for Chromium. This means that it is predominantly used with web browsers and online apps or ‘in-browser apps’ rather than having to install programs onto the device directly. This saves the need to download and take up hard drive space when using a Chromebook. The machines typically come with low specs and very low storage (as cloud storage is mainly used), however, this makes them the cheapest laptops on the market. Google Chromebooks are amongst the cheapest and most affordable laptops on the market, making them great for young students and schools. The Dell 11 3120 is supported by Google auto updates until September 2021, but currently does not have support for the Google Play Store specifically – see the support list here.
Is a Dell Chromebook good?
Given that we have mentioned the fact Chromebooks are often low spec, does that mean they are not very good?
Not at all. The idea is to use web based apps and online resources that you might use within a web browser like Google Chrome. Take Microsoft Word on-line; rather than install the whole Microsoft office package, you can use the online version. This takes away the need for a lot of computing power because the online servers take most of the strain. In addition, this removes the need to have applications installed on the device itself which can be time consuming and take up storage space. It also allows users to access apps from anywhere. This is highly desirable for schools for example, as multiple devices can have access to the same programs, rather than having to install them on individual devices for an entire classroom.
Dell Chromebook 11 3120 | Why so many people love their Chromebook
Why buy a Dell 11 Chromebook?
Well, in our opinion this is one of the best Chromebooks under £300 available. Our Chromebooks come with a UK keyboard layout as we refurbish the keyboards with a vinyl sticker overlay. The 3120’s also come with a touchscreen display which adds to their value. It provides a new dimension to these units and allows for the use with stylus pens for simple photo editing or design work.
The device also has moderate, yet good specs. For example, the storage is only 16GB, but it’s an eMMC flash storage device which provides fast load and boot times. The CPU is an Intel Celeron N2840 which operates at a base speed of 2.16GHz and can reach a turbo boost of 2.58GHz. This processor offers less power than some other popular CPUs that operate within the same GHz range. But again, the CPU power needed in Chromebook is much less than other laptops and that’s why they are so economical. The downside to this of course, is the graphics processing power is very low, making rendering videos or more professional photo editing difficult. Gaming is impossible; even with on-line browser based games as the CPU is just not built for that functionality. For this type of usage, you can look at some of our more capable models here.
Benefits of Google Chrome
Now that you know a bit more about the device, you might want to know a bit more about what Google has to offer with its Chrome OS service. You may notice on our product listings that Windows and Apple laptops all come with BullGuard Antivirus software. This is not the case with our Chromebooks. But why?
This is because as a Chromebook user you benefit from the Google auto update cycle which provides automatic security updates along with bug fixes and OS updates. This model has continuous support up till September 2021. Chromium OS is actually built from the ground up with security in mind. To this day, Google claim that their firewall has not been breached by a security hack, so your user data is certainly as safe as it gets. In fact, Google has a rewards program based on whether their OS can be hacked or not. A security hack against them that is successful could earn the hacker a $20K reward; such is their confidence in their testing and procedures. This built-in security system means you don’t have to spend money on additional subscriptions to anti-virus software if you don’t want to.
Please be aware that this does not prevent on-line/ email scams that can trick you into providing your details under false pretenses. You must always be cautious when providing personal details on-line.
Chrome Device Management
With Chrome you can control any number of Chromebooks through the device management system. This makes it particularly useful to businesses and schools, because an IT department can deploy apps to any number of Chromebooks in the network seamlessly, and without the need to boot up every individual device. It also provides better security and monitoring for all your staff/ students devices as there is one control hub. From here you can see those logging in and much more effectively manage your users. If you are wanting to look into this functionality more you can look here.
Google Assistant | Voice activated commands on Chrome
Voice activated devices have certainly grown in popularity over the past 5 years or so. Every tech company seems to want their own AI assistant. Google is no exception, and the Dell 11 3120 has a built-in microphone which will allow you to use the Google Assistant. This is always handy for when you want to use your device in a hands free situation. Plus, Google Assistant has some great features which can be used in conjunction with other Google or Android devices. You can translate languages, assign reminders and even hum your favorite song which Google can detect and bring up information for. A great application for this of course is accessibility; Google Assistant can read webpages or images for those with eyesight disabilities. This is particularly useful in an education environment.
The Need for Speed
Chromebooks are built to boot quickly. Some are as fast as 3 seconds; the Dell 11 3120 is no exception. Even for a device released in 2015, on first boot after being switched off for a long period of time we have clocked it being ready to use at just 15.92 seconds. This includes the time it takes to lift up the lid! That’s pretty quick for a cold start.
How good is a Refurbished Dell 11 Chromebook?
See for yourself – the Dell 11 3120 model was released in 2015. That makes it a 6 year old device. With our expert in house vinyling and QC team, we can make the unit look like new.
We cut our vinyl precisely and colour match to the device in question. The vinyl is then applied manually by hand by a trained vinyl technician which gives our units a new lease of life. We pride ourselves in the quality of our refurbishment and hope our customers agree that we set a high standard for the industry. When you receive this unit you won’t be able to tell if it’s a 6 year old laptop!
Where is the caps lock key on a Chromebook?
If you have ever used or looked at a Chromebook you will notice that there is not Caps Key. This isn’t because Google forgot to put one in your unit though; it’s simply because Google have built their Chromebooks to be streamlined for their specific functionality. In this case, the Caps Key is replaced by a Search Key, which takes users straight to Google Chrome. The way to get the caps key on the Chromebook is to press Alt + the Search Key and you will have the option to select Caps. To take caps lock off press shift + Alt + the Search Key.
You can actually remap many of the keys on your Chromebook if you so wish. This is great as you can customize the keyboard keys to your needs. If you go to Settings (bottom right of desktop screen) you can remap many of the keys including the search key. If for example you are a writer or tend to write a lot of long form content you can change the search key into a caps key.
While Chromebooks are certainly not built for traditional PC gaming, it’s worth mentioning the developments in Cloud Gaming. Google is one of the companies at the forefront of this, releasing Stadia in 2020. Stadia is a subscription based service which allows users to stream games, rather than have them download games onto the laptop and play them using the device’s hardware. Stadia uses Google’s Data Centers which essentially create virtual gaming PC’s. The idea is that you can simply log on from any device and stream games using your internet connection. You won’t need to download any content or updates and you can play triple A Titles, even with a Chromebook. This reduces your need to get more hardware or physical media, saving resources. Google is also pushing for more Renewable Data Centers given the environmental impact of their massive operation. Many Data Centers do run on renewable energy, but it’s a long road for complete carbon neutrality. That’s why Google have an environmental report which you can read if interested.
We of course highly recommend you doing your own research into hardware requirements and whether or not it is possible in your area. There are many factors that go into this technology and it’s a very new concept. We must disclaim that we do not recommend this device as a gaming laptop. However, as tech enthusiasts we like sharing amazing developments in the tech sphere.
Should I buy a Refurbished Chromebook?
Chromebooks make a strong case for themselves. Whilst we love our Windows laptops, which are generally much more powerful than Chromebooks, we can see the great benefits offered by the Chrome OS. In this case, big things come in small packages. Whilst Chromebooks tend to be smaller, lower spec units, the Chromium Operating System gives users a whole other dimension to their devices. We think they are a great choice for any School or organization looking to be better connected to their network of students or employees. You can check out our Dell 11 3120 model here.