In a bid to simplify the often bewildering world of laptop shopping, Google has unveiled the Chromebook Plus certification, an initiative reminiscent of Intel’s Evo program for Windows PCs. The primary aim? To provide consumers with a straightforward way to spot top-tier Chromebooks. No longer do you need to be well-versed in the technical intricacies of PCs; the “Chromebook Plus” emblem on a product is your assurance that Google stands behind its quality.
So, what are the prerequisites for a Chromebook to earn this prestigious label? To don the Chromebook Plus badge, a device must meet the following criteria:
- Powered by an Intel Core (i3 or higher) or AMD Ryzen 7000 CPU
- Equipped with an IPS panel boasting at least 1080p resolution
- Features a 1080p webcam for crisp video conferencing
- Boasts a minimum of 8GB RAM
- Offers 128GB of storage capacity
Interestingly, what’s conspicuously missing from this checklist is any mention of battery life. Remarkably, the term “battery life” is nowhere to be found in Google’s official press release. This omission begs the question of why, especially given that Chromebooks are renowned for their portability. When queried about this oversight, Google spokesperson Peter Du clarified that all Chromebooks, including those with the Chromebook Plus designation, must adhere to a minimum 10-hour battery life standard based on their internal testing protocols.
While the specifics of these internal testing standards remain undisclosed, it’s reassuring to know that battery life remains a crucial aspect of Chromebook performance, even if it isn’t explicitly stated in the Chromebook Plus criteria.
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Beyond meeting these hardware requirements, Chromebooks blessed with the Chromebook Plus label will enjoy access to exclusive AI-powered features. Some of these features were showcased at a recent press event and include a “magic eraser” tool in Google Photos, capable of intelligently removing background elements. Furthermore, improvements to video conferencing in terms of lighting and noise cancellation will enhance remote communication experiences. The Offline File Sync feature will also automatically download Drive files onto your device, although users might be cautious considering the volume of data often stored on Drive.
The future holds even more exciting developments, such as AI-generated wallpapers generated through text prompts and a “personal writing assistant” – a prospect that promises both productivity and entertainment. Additionally, Chromebook Plus products include a three-month subscription to Photoshop on the Web and a three-month membership to GeForce Now’s priority tier, signaling Google’s continued commitment to enriching the Chromebook experience.
Among the initial devices earning the Chromebook Plus certification, notable entries include:
- Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming ChromeBook Plus 16: A gaming-focused Chromebook featuring an RGB keyboard and a high-refresh-rate 120Hz screen, exclusively available in the EMEA region for £599.
- Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus 14: A versatile 2-in-1 convertible designed for on-the-go creators, available now at an attractive price point of $499.
- Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook Plus 14: A lightweight, military-grade durable clamshell device, weighing in at just 3.31 pounds and available at $549.99.
- HP Chromebook Plus x360 14 and Chromebook Plus 15.6: Tailored for unrestrained productivity and creativity, these devices incorporate PCR and ocean-bound plastic in their construction. They are set to hit the market on October 8th, priced at $749.99 and $599.99, respectively.
Acer Chromebook Plus 515 and 514: Offering budget-friendly options with both Intel Core and AMD Ryzen configurations, these Chromebooks are scheduled to arrive in October, starting at $399.99.
As these Chromebook Plus laptops make their way to store shelves in the coming weeks, rest assured that we’ll be closely examining and reviewing some of these devices to help you make informed choices in your quest for the perfect Chromebook.