Dell Chrome­book 11 (3120)

£202 inc VAT •

Tech Advisor - - CONTENTS -

When we re­viewed the pre­vi­ous ver­sion of the Chrome­book 11 back in 2014, that smart lit­tle de­vice in­stantly be­came one of our favourites. The mix­ture of light weight, fast per­for­mance, and user com­fort made it al­most the per­fect Chrome­book. Now Dell has re­turned with an up­graded and restyled ver­sion aimed at the ed­u­ca­tion mar­ket.


There’s lit­tle doubt that this Chrome­book of­fers good value for money. You can buy the 4GB non-touch­screen model from Dell for £202, but if you want to save a few more pen­nies, then you could plump for the 2GB ver­sion which goes for £191. In all hon­esty, we don’t see the logic in that when the ex­tra RAM adds quite a bit to the per­for­mance on Chrome­books. The touch­screen ver­sion that will cost you £275 from Dell.

You, of course, don’t have to buy from Dell, and we found the touch­screen model avail­able on Ama­zon for £219, but other than that it does ap­pear you will get the best deals direct.


As this new vi­sion of the Chrome­book 11 is pri­mar­ily aimed at young peo­ple and stu­dents, there are a few con­struc­tion choices that mark it out from its svelte pre­de­ces­sor. The most ob­vi­ous ap­point­ments are the rub­ber bind­ings that pro­tect the outer edg­ings of the cas­ing and screen. This cer­tainly makes the de­vice easy to hold as you walk along, but also sug­gests that if it slips from your fingers and tum­bles to the floor, it will most likely sur­vive the trip.

Dell goes to great lengths to high­light the ro­bust na­ture of its new­est prog­eny, and the specs do look im­pres­sive. The de­vice is graded as US Mil­i­tary Stan­dard, mean­ing it can sur­vive drops, a wide range of tem­per­a­tures, and even a cer­tain amount of pres­sure. Of course, the big killer of elec­tronic equip­ment is wa­ter, so the fact that this model has a sealed key­board and track­pad, which can re­sist spillages, should make it an at­trac­tive op­tion for those whose flat mates or chil­dren can be a lit­tle care­less with their bev­er­ages.

Ad­mit­tedly, we did find it enor­mously tempt­ing to set about the unit with an as­sort­ment of ar­ma­ments and blow torches, but alas our tool­kit ex­tends only to a few screw­drivers and an ad­justable span­ner. So we’ll take Dell at its word.

Slate grey is the liv­ery of choice, which makes the Chrome­book 11 (3120) look se­ri­ous and in­dus­trial. It doesn’t seem as smart or pro­fes­sional as the pre­vi­ous model, but it’s not a bad-look­ing de­vice and we’ll swap a lit­tle style for sub­stance any day.

The 11.6in dis­play is at­tached to the main body by a chunky hinge that can be pushed back flat to 180 de­grees. This is to al­low

The fact that this model has a sealed key­board and track­pad, which can re­sist spillages, should make it an at­trac­tive op­tion

you to share the screen con­tent with other col­lab­o­ra­tors around a ta­ble. While this is a nice idea in prin­ci­ple, the choice not to use an IPS panel means viewing an­gles suf­fer when you’re not look­ing square-on. So those friends you’re sharing with might only see an al­most en­tirely blank screen. The dis­play it­self is bright and clear when used in the tra­di­tional ori­en­ta­tion, run­ning at the pretty much stan­dard Chrome­book res­o­lu­tion of 1366x768.

Fin­ish­ing off the hard­ware fea­tures are the var­i­ous ports that Dell has crammed into the chas­sis, in­clud­ing USB 2.0, USB 3.0 (with BC1.2 charg­ing), HDMI, SD card, head­phone, Kens­ing­ton lock, and the pro­pri­etary charg­ing socket.

We dis­cov­ered a mys­te­ri­ous panel that seemed to house a SIM card slot. This was cov­ered over with a flap that re­quired a small pen­talobe screw­driver to open it, one which we didn’t have in our tool bag. SIM ca­pa­bil­i­ties are not listed on the spec­i­fi­ca­tions sheet, so it might be some­thing else pos­si­bly aimed at sys­tem ad­min­is­tra­tors for se­cu­rity. At the time of writ­ing, we were wait­ing to hear back from Dell as to where this por­tal may lead.


The Chrome­book 11 isn’t just solid in terms of con­struc­tion, it’s also a very sturdy per­former. Nav­i­gat­ing the web while stream­ing mu­sic or run­ning videos on YouTube in the back­ground all pre­sented no chal­lenge, with the de­vice al­ways moving along at a good clip. This is in no small part due to the in­clu­sion of an In­tel Celeron Bay Trail-M N2840 CPU and 4GB of RAM, which cer­tainly seem to give the Dell the am­mu­ni­tion it needs take on pretty much any task you would ex­pect of a Chrome­book.

Bat­tery life was also a strength, with our looped video test fi­nally drain­ing the bat­tery dry af­ter a mas­sive nine hours and 40 min­utes.

For those who pre­fer hard sta­tis­tics we ran a few bench­marks which con­firmed our real-world ex­pe­ri­ence of speed. On SunSpi­der 1.0.2, the Dell scored an av­er­age of 697ms, while the more mod­ern al­ter­na­tive of JetStream re­ported 51.3, which makes it one of the fastest

Chrome­book we’ve come across so far.


Dell knows what it’s do­ing when it comes to Chrome­books. This new, rugged model has plenty to of­fer in terms of speed and dura­bil­ity, but you don’t feel like you’re sac­ri­fic­ing much in re­turn. With the long bat­tery life and waterproofing fea­ture it does seem like a de­vice that’s built to last, which is good as you’ll want to keep us­ing it for a long time to come.

Bat­tery life was a strength, with our looped video test fi­nally drain­ing the bat­tery dry af­ter a mas­sive nine hours and 40 min­utes

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