NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I'm typing this review on a radical new $279 laptop that, if it had an Apple (AAPL) logo and were sold in Apple stores, would sell 50 million units in the first month alone. It's the best-spent $279 technology you can buy in the market today. I give it my highest recommendation ever.
Sadly, we live in an unfair world where ignorant consumers tend to buy products based on brand perceptions that often lag reality by a decade or more. As a result, this Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) laptop will probably only sell in decent quantities, but not anywhere near the 50 million units had it worn an Apple label.
So what is this radical new $279 laptop and what's so special about it?
First, let's cover the bases: This is an 11.6-inch screen that's housed in a plastic package that weighs just over 2 pounds -- basically similar to Apple's 11.6 inch MacBook Air, which starts at $999. This plastic looks and feels similar to the old MacBooks from a half-dozen years ago -- of for that matter the brand new iPhone 5c.Yet, this laptop is positively feather-weight compared to those MacBooks of yore, ca 2005. It feels more like a blown-up iPhone 5c -- but with a superb keyboard. This plastic housing doesn't have any sharp edges, but at the same time feels very sturdy. The quality impression continues to the keyboard, which is the best I have ever used -- at any price. The trackpad is as good as many much more expensive laptops. There are several things other than copying the very best of Apple's physical appearances that set this laptop apart from the rest: 1. It charges using your regular cell phone charger. This must have been one of the most blessed developments since the women of the world were liberated by the washing machine. Until now, almost every new laptop has meant a new charger. And none of them were the same as a cell phone charger. Until now. The $279 HP Chromebook comes with the same kind of MicroUSB charger with which you can also charge every smartphone -- and many tablets -- on the market, except for Apple. I have been on my knees in front of all laptop makers, begging for this since at least 1991. Finally, my prayers have been answered.
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