The new Dell Chromebook 13 promises to be a workhorse for the hardest workers. Surprisingly, this $399 machine will be able to run both Chrome OS and Windows (through a remote desktop program). That means business folks will be able to run programs typically off limits for Chromebooks, including Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Excel.
Companies that use Citrix Receiver, an app that gives you access to secure desktops and networks, can download the Citrix Reciever app from the Chrome Web Store so employees can work on their company's remote Windows desktop directly from their Chromebooks. That allows users to download any program a Windows device could including Microsoft Office programs such as Word and Excel, and Adobe Creative Cloud apps like Photoshop.
Another app called Chrome Remote Desktop also gives users remote access to other computers, but the Dell Chromebook 13 will give businesses more control over the remote environment. Dell also says the Chromebook 13 will give businesses VPN controls, allowing employees to access sensitive company programs wherever they are.
But all those features need a strong notebook to succeed, and the Dell Chromebook 13 seems to fit all the bills, on paper. It will be available with a variety of processors, from Intel Celeron to Intel Core i3 and Core i5 chips, and the models will have up to 8GB of RAM. Dell claims its 67-watt battery will last 12 hours on a single charge, which is more than enough to get your through even an extended work day.
Compared to the design of most clunky business notebooks, the Dell Chromebook 13 is a professional, yet chic, change. It has a black and gray carbon fiber chassis that's smooth and matte to the touch, a magnesium keyboard deck and an alloy bottom. Its 13.3-inch full-HD IPS display looks sharp and bright, and it will also be available with a touchscreen option. We can't wait to see how it compares to the likes of other IPS Chromebook displays such as the Toshiba Chromebook 2 and the Asus Chromebook Flip.
Dell representatives told me that the Chromebook 13 takes many design nods from its XPS line of notebooks, such as its glass precision touchpad. It also has a backlit keyboard — no doubt useful for late night work sessions, but it's also currently the only backlit keyboard available on a Chromebook.
Whether or not Dell can convince businesses to use Chromebooks in the same way as a Windows or Mac remains to be seen, but the Dell Chromebook 13 has the specs and the software that could prove intriguing to businesses, especially those who work primarily in Google apps. The Dell Chromebook 13 starts at $399 and will be available on Dell's website on September 17.
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