Web Performance

Due to the limitations of Chrome OS, we're mostly limited to browser benchmarks to characterize performance. It's a similar situation to mobile benchmarking, which I commonly describe as less than optimal. However, since essentially everything a user will do on a Chrome OS device is done through Chrome, it's actually a fairly good indication of the performance they'll see on a given device.

Like the Toshiba Chromebook 2, the Dell Chromebook 11 being reviewed uses Intel's Celeron N2840. Unlike Intel's more expensive Celeron parts which use their Haswell architecture, N2840 uses Silvermont cores much like Intel's Atom parts in the Bay Trail line. Because of this, users should expect performance closer to that of higher end ARM chips and Intel Atom SoCs than that of Intel's Haswell based Celeron parts.

SunSpider 1.0.2 (Stock Browser)

Google Octane v1 (Stock Browser)

Mozilla Kraken (Stock Browser)

WebXPRT (Stock Browser)


In all of our benchmarks, the Dell Chromebook 11 gets roughly the same results as the Toshiba Chromebook 2. There are some minor differences which can be attributed to variance in scores between tests, as well as updates that have been made to Chrome OS since previous reviews. When using the Dell Chromebook 11 it never seemed to struggle, and I think that users will have all the speed they need to do their work on the web even if the CPU doesn't offer class leading performance.

WiFi Performance

Since Chromebooks are devices that are primarily used to browse the web, it's important to have good WiFi performance. Most inexpensive Chromebooks opt for 802.11n, and sometimes don't even include support for the 5GHz band. Because the Dell Chromebook 11 is more of a mid range Chromebook, it includes support for dual spatial stream 802.11ac which is pretty much as good as it gets for laptop WiFi, with the exception of a few 3x3 devices that are on the market.

While there's no way to test WiFi performance in Chrome OS, it can be accomplished via other means with the use of Linux and iPerf. I'm hoping to eventually bring our laptop WiFi performance test from Windows to Linux in order to get TCP results that are comparable to those in our standard laptop reviews, but for now I've just put the Dell Chromebook 11 through the UDP performance test that we use in mobile reviews.

WiFi Performance - UDP

With a maximum speed of 502Mbps, the Dell Chromebook 11 is beaten only by the Chromebook Pixel. I wish I had more Chromebook data points here, but this is a test that I introduced for our Chromebook reviews and this is only my second review of one. Regardless, I don't suspect that users will have any complaints about the WiFi performance on the Dell Chromebook 11.

Display Battery Life and Charge Time
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  • nikon133 - Sunday, May 10, 2015 - link

    Don't be so quick on judging others, you are not 13, I hope... Anyway. I'll take it with your vast knowledge, you are shooting your DSLR in JPG. Personally I think it is a bit of waste, but I'm not judging - see? Being mature. Or are you using something like Polarr on your Chromebook? Presuming that Polarr can to RAW off-line - most hotels I've been in, some Hiltons and Novotels included - had quite abysmal, yet extremely expensive Internet - can you easily export library from your Chromebook and import it in Lightroom with all the edits (you might have done on Chromebook) preserved? Or do you use CB exclusively for all your photo needs?

    And... you are comparing 2015 Chromebooks with machines introduced in 2007 and not significantly upgraded in their lifetime? That's a bit unrealistic. I said "at least I could dump my photos..." to underline my disagreement with this minimal storage trend on machines that aim to replace traditional laptop for some/many, I didn't say that I would be using netbook today. I did say that for my usage scenario something like 128GB Surface 3 is better, and I think that statement is quite solid. Otherwise, I agree there is no need to drag heavy Windows laptop - that is why we have all sort on ultrabooks, MBAs, convertibles. If I am aware of that, with all my lack of hardware knowledge, you must be too, for sure.
  • nikon133 - Sunday, May 10, 2015 - link


    I'm a bit of camera freak. I shot in RAW, and my current camera does about 20MB photo size. I usually carry with me two 32GB SD cards, and one 16GB for backup... though so far I never filled up 64GB, but I did come close to that. Realistically, I'm usually between 32 and 48GB of RAM images.

    Good luck with that on 16GB storage Chromebook.

    Even if I could backup to another SD card via built-in storage... really? Copying 32+ GB to laptop's SSD and then back to another SD card makes more sense than dumping it to laptop's storage and leaving it there? In which universe..?

    I don't understand some of you folks. Just because your favourite company made something, suddenly it is perfectly OK do downgrade dramatically and workout some funny workarounds in order to cope with severe limitations. Personally, I'm OK to go down from 500+ GB HDD to 256GB SSD... or even 128GB SSD... but down to 16GB? Where do I put my movies/TV/digital comics I like to carry with me on trips?

    Beside all that... I like having Adobe Lightroom on my travel machine, in case I want to export a few photos to JPG, for whatever reason I might have (usually wife wanting to email someone from her vast list of friends and relatives). It doesn't have to be up to speed, just a few photos will get munched even on 4C Atom, as long as it runs Windows (or OSX). On Chromebook, a bit harder.

    Finally... both my wife and I need access to MS Office every now and then, even on vacations. Especially her. She is working on local Uni, her group always have a few papers waiting to be published in different scientific magazines, and very often they get returned for some corrections. Being able to open/edit/resend might not be a must - in most cases it can wait until we are back - but bonus it sure is.

    And really... "hot and heavy Windows laptop with a short battery life"? With abundance of ultrabooks and tablets with decent battery life, low weight and good performance, that really isn't argument anymore. Even my wife's 2011 13" Vaio S could run 6 hours and carried i3, 4GB RAM /500GB HDD and was something around 1.4KG without extended battery. Yes, there is a price-tag... but if cheap machine doesn't do the job for me, I'll pay it gladly.

    Don't judge everyone by your usage scenarios. If Chromebook does indeed work for you, well, power to you; and savings. But one shoe doesn't fit all. Never did, never will. I didn't say that my reasoning is universal, but it is my reasoning.
  • jabber - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    You do know that no one really wants to see your holiday pics whether shot in JPEG or converted and edited from RAW? They really don't. If they do they are just being polite.

    You are putting in too much effort for an audience that isn't there.
  • nikon133 - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    Well... let's put it this way.

    No one wants to watch me playing games - and I'm still playing them.

    No one wants to watch me watching Game of Thrones, but what do you know - I still watch it.

    There are things I do for myself, because I'm enjoying them, not because I want to impress anyone. Photos are my hobby, and I'm getting a blast from making and editing them. Effort I'm putting in is something that relaxes me, so the most important audience - myself - is there. It also gives me reason to be active and spend more time outdoors - and God knows, working in the office, driving car to and from work and spending additional time behind gaming machine(s), I could use much more outdoor time than what I'm giving myself :)

    I'm never showing my photos to anyone by default, if anyone asks to see my last travel/vacation, they get a link to small gallery of 20-30 selected photos (out of 1000+) sitting on OneDrive or FB.

    I don't really do vacation photos - as in, me and my family on the beach. My wife does a lot of conferences and visits/co-ops with Universities around the world, and I travel with her whenever I can. Places like Prague, Budapest, Mainz, Lyon... are great opportunities for camera action, and decent modern DSLR really gives great tools to play with... RAW being one of them. Having DSLR and not using RAW is a criminal act, really ;)
  • nikon133 - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    And all that being said, fact remains that laptop with 16GB of storage just doesn't hold water for me. Back in early 2000, my Toshiba Satellite 1000 had 15GB HDD, and it was barely enough... but that was back then. My main camera was film, my digital camera was 2MP Canon A40, and everything else digital was much smaller than today.

    Today, a decent Android tablet - or even iPad - with keyboard dock and access to large apps library would probably be much better travel companion to me. With additional benefit of being convertible.
  • der - Thursday, May 7, 2015 - link

    Dell swagbook 11.
  • der - Thursday, May 7, 2015 - link

    The Toshiba one even can go over 1080p as max resolution, something like 2048 by 1152. It-s a win-win!
  • Uplink10 - Thursday, May 7, 2015 - link

    "Starting at $249 for 2GB of RAM"
    You can get a Baytrail laptop for that price or similar with 4GB of RAM, 500 GB HDD, better BIOS/UEFI... Can you even reinstall OS (install proper Linux) or upgrade hardware or disable/enable devices like in a normal computer in a normal BIOS/UEFI?
  • SM123456 - Thursday, May 7, 2015 - link

    That must be Canadian dollars - Chromebooks with that spec are $179 now.

    As far as Windows machines like the HP Stream 11 are concerned, they are half the speed as identically spec'ed Chromebooks according to independent benchmarks like Kraken and Octane, which measure all round browser performance - and that is just running a browser. Running legacy Windows applications on Windows netbook class devices like the HP Stream 11 will be a whoile lot slower. It is all down to the full fat bloated nature of the Windows OS compared to the lean mean ChromeOS - shoehorning Windows into these low spec devices makes for a painfully slow experience, whereas ChromeOS is fast and responsive because it uses a server in the cloud to do the heavy lifting, and the local OS is very lightweight.

    By the way, here is a Chromebook "running" Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop cc, Excel, AutoDesk 3DS Max, AutoCAD 3D, and SolidWorks on a server faster and smoother than a hot and heavy $1700 high end CAD laptop with a 2.5 hour battery life can manage, and still do it with 11 hours battery life.
  • Uplink10 - Thursday, May 7, 2015 - link

    That Chromebook is runing a client which is connected to a Virtual Machine, meaning it is not actually doing anything other than displaying screen of VM, of course it is fast if processing is not done on a Chromebook but in a VM somwhere else, performance needed is the same as displaying a video or runing RDP or VNC client. Where did you get the idea Chromebook is faster than a $1700 workstation?

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