Dell Chromebook 13 7310 review: The business-class Chromebook Pixel
Dell Chromebook 13 7310: Performance and battery life
The range-topping Chromebook 13 is about as powerful as Chromebooks get. There’s a Broadwell Core i5-5300U processor, 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It’s no surprise, then, to find that the Dell flies through myriad Chrome tabs and multiple applications without breaking a sweat – I didn’t even hear a fan once. It’s as slick and stutter-free as anyone could ask for.
However, if you think a Core i5 in a Chromebook is complete overkill (which, admittedly, it probably is), bear in mind that you can save a huge amount of cash by opting for the dramatically cheaper Core i3 or Celeron models. I’m sceptical that many businesses will benefit from a Core i5-powered Chromebook, so am hoping to get the Core i3 and/or Celeron models in to update this part of the review in the near future.
Even in its high-powered Core i5 guise, however, the Chromebook 13 is impressively long-lasting. The 67Wh battery inside partially explains why it’s a good deal heavier than most 13.3in laptops, and in our standard video-rundown test, that huge battery allowed the Dell to push on for 10hrs 34mins before expiring. I got just under seven hours out of the Chromebook 13 while writing this review. That may not sound impressive, but then I had about 30 Chrome tabs open, the screen was cranked up to maximum brightness, and I was streaming music from SoundCloud over 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi. I’d say that’s pretty good going.
Dell Chromebook 13 7310: Features and connectivity
There’s nothing here to get too excited about, but Dell has covered most of the essentials. You get a pair of USB 3 ports, one on each edge, an HDMI 1.4 output, a 3.5mm headset jack and a microSD slot.
You also get 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4, although sadly there’s no Ethernet. Still, the presence of a decent-quality 720p camera is welcome, and the speakers are genuinely impressive. Crank the speakers up to maximum and there’s plenty of volume and even a modicum of depth and clarity to the sound.
Dell Chromebook 13 7310: Verdict
Let’s get one thing straight: I do not recommend spending more than £1,000 on the Core i5 touchscreen model of the Chromebook 13. For that money, I’d buy an XPS 13. Or a Chromebook Pixel. Or a 13in MacBook Pro.
The non-touch Celeron or Core i3 models are far more attractive, however. They’re fairly pricey over on Dell’s site, but I’ve seen them for sale on Insight UK for £404 and £475 respectively, and at that price it’s not hard to see the appeal. You get high-end build quality, a superb keyboard and touchpad, and great battery life in a tough, handsome package.
You can say what you like about Chrome OS, but it’s tough to argue with getting a premium-quality business laptop for less than £500. You’d be hard-pressed to get a similar-quality Windows business laptop for the same money. Okay, that value-for-money argument evaporates once you get to the top-spec model I have here, but no-one’s forcing you to buy that. Set your sights lower down the range, and the Dell Chromebook 13 is one of the very best.
Read more: Looking for a business device that’s more than just a laptop? Then click here to read our review of Lenovo’s multitalented hybrid, the ThinkPad Yoga 260
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