HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0021nrb) Review

7.5 Total Score
GOOD

The HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0021nrb) is a value Chromebook designed for the basic internet fan and budget-first student, offering better performance and a more beautiful aesthetic than most Chromebooks at this price point.

PROS
  • Very inexpensive
  • Beautiful design
  • Long battery life
CONS
  • Limited port selection

When shopping for a laptop on a tight budget, options like the HP Chromebook 11a will often pop up – and for a good reason. Chromebooks were designed to offer an affordable solution for folks who are majorly reliant on the internet and online services at a very affordable price, but we’ve seen some get so powerful recently and demand higher prices as well. With the 11a-na0021nrb, HP sticks to the original premise of Chromebooks – simple, affordable, and functional.

Rather than running Windows 11 OS like mainstream laptops, the HP Chromebook 11a like all other Chromebooks arrives with Chrome OS, which runs all of its applications through the Chrome web browser, but integrates some robust offline modes for those instances you can’t get online. To be honest, at its price, it’s an attractive option for most people, especially those who just need to get online and nothing else.

Low cost, often means corners have been cut and maybe quality is lacking, but HP avoided those pitfalls here and we’re impressed by the first impressions. We’ve reviewed cheap laptops before, but none have quite a decent build quality like this. Yes, it’s plastic but it feels sturdy and there’s none of the creakiness that low-cost Chromebooks have had.

It also looks great, with the white plastic neatly beveled and curved, giving the Chromebook 11a a more beautiful aesthetic than it really costs. Battery life is excellent, lasting over 14 hours on a single charge, but we wish the screen resolution was better than the 720p it currently offers.

HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0021nrb) front

HP CHROMEBOOK 11A SPECS

Laptop ClassBudget, Chromebook
ProcessorMediaTek MT8183
Processor Speed2 GHz
RAM (as Tested)4 GB
Boot Drive TypeeMMC Flash Memory
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)32 GB
Screen Size11.6 inches
Native Display Resolution1366 by 768
Touch ScreenYes
Panel TechnologyIPS
Graphics ProcessorMediaTek Integrated Graphics
Wireless Networking802.11ac, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD)0.6 by 7.6 by 11.2 inches
Weight2.4 lbs
Operating SystemGoogle Chrome OS

Display and Features

The HP 11a-na0021nrb boasts an 11-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1,366×768. Given that Chrome OS doesn’t take up lots of screen space with clutter and that there’s a full-screen mode, this resolution is still ideal (but 1080p is always better). Still, on an 11-inch screen, everything looks sharp and easy to read.

The screen’s viewing angles are great and you can see the screen no matter what angle you’re viewing it from. The screen doesn’t fold back 180 degrees, but you can easily see everything on the screen comfortably while the ChromeBook 11a is on your lap.  The colors look incredible too, with lots of vibrancy and detail on daily use.

Port selection is a bit scarce, but that’s what to expect from an 11-inch laptop. You’re getting a single USB-A port, a microSD card port, a 3.5mm audio/mic jack, and a USB-C port. Wireless connectivity comes via Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2.

HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0021nrb) lid

Keyboard and Touchpad

Since the 11a-na0021nrb doesn’t come with a touchscreen option, the keyboard and touchpad are the only ways to interact with the laptop. The keyboard impresses in good measure: it’s edge-to-edge inside the laptop, which means every key is of decent size.

While the keyboard isn’t quite on the level of the Apple MacBook Air, it’s still responsive and offers good key travel. Feedback is pretty good, although I find the keys a little soft so you need to make sure to hit the, well. However, after a few minutes of getting used to it, you can get to touch typing at full speed.

Google has added some Chrome OS shortcut keys to the top of the keyboard where the Function keys would normally be. These include buttons to go backward and forwards in the browser, page reload, go full screen, and switch between apps. There are also dedicated buttons for screen brightness, volume, and a power button.

Below the keyboard is a touchpad of decent size, considering the small 11-inch profile. It’s intelligent too, it deactivates as you type, so that you don’t accidentally brush against it and move the cursor; we just wish Windows laptops were this smart. It supports some gestures, too. With two-finger swipes, you can go backward or forwards in the browser, a two-fingered click is right-clicked, and you can also use it to scroll.

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HP Chromebook 11a Review: Performance

Build quality aside, there’s always the danger of corners cut inside to keep the cost of Chromebooks down. Fortunately, with the Chromebook 11a, that isn’t the case, as HP makes the right choices for the right reason.

Simply put, it’s goodbye to the high-speed Core i5 in the Google PixelBook Go, and hello to the 2.0Ghz Mediatek MT8183 ARM SoC chip alongside 4GB RAM and 32GB flash storage. This configuration would be madness on a Windows-based laptop, but ChromeOS is designed for efficient CPUs.

We can’t run our usual benchmarks on Chrome OS, but the browser-based SunSpider test puts the ChromeBook 11a at fast Android-tablet speeds (718ms). In other words, the 11a-na0021nrb is a laptop that’s more than fast enough for the web applications it’s created for. There’s n worry about daily productivity tasks or videos, as the Mediatek SoC will happily handle HD video. You can even play both Netflix and Google Play Film content with ease.

More importantly, in daily use, the laptop is extremely responsive. All ChromeOS animations are handled smoothly and apps launch quickly. The laptop starts within seconds, with MacBook-level power-on times.

HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0021nrb) keyboard

Battery Life

The core appeal of all ARM-based laptops is incredible battery life and the same is well manifested on the Chromebook 11a. Despite having a small 37Wh capacity battery, the HP 11a-na0021nrb can easily last an entire day of work. HP claims 15 hours of battery life, but an average of 12-13 hours of usage is simply fantastic.

The Chromebook 11a’s 45W USB-C charging adapter is termed to be fast, but it takes just over an hour and a half to fill up the battery. Again. HP using a USB-C port for charging as well as data transfer is much welcome in the laptop world.

Should you buy the HP Chromebook 11a?

Yes. The HP Chromebook 11a is a great buy for anyone on a tight budget who needs something that can handle basic tasks like browsing the internet and word processing. While the ‎1366 x 768 screen resolution would be better, we’ve come to accept it as standard at this price point and screen size.

However, if you’re looking for a forward-looking Chromebook experience, we suggest our Editors’ Choice pick, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 with better performance and a 13-inch touch screen. But if you want a 2-in-1 experience without spending too much, the Asus Chromebook Flip C433 is an excellent choice.

Meanwhile, if you’re specifically shopping for the 11-inch screen size, the HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0021nrb) fits the bill, and it will be better as your child’s first laptop without paying a laptop kind of money.

Last update on 2022-12-06 at 13:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OUR PICK

HP Chromebook 11-inch Laptop - Up to 15 Hour Battery Life - MediaTek - MT8183 - 4 GB RAM - 32 GB eMMC Storage - 11.6-inch HD Display - with Chrome OS™ - (11a-na0021nr, 2020 model, Snow White)

$199.00  in stock
25 new from $178.30
25 used from $103.81
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as of December 6, 2022 1:54 pm
HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0021nrb) Review
HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0021nrb) Review
$199.00
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