Keyboard and TouchPad
The Chromebook 11 features the Chrome keyboard, meaning it doesn't have a Windows key, or Function keys. The layout is the now standard island-style keyboard, which is full size, making typing a breeze. However, for $279, you don't get a backlit keyboard.
Surprisingly enough, the keyboard offers a fairly good typing experience. The lack of a backlight is not surprising, but it definitely makes typing in a darkened room less enjoyable. The rest of the keyboard, however, is quite exceptional considering the price of the machine that it is on.
The keyboard features virtually no flex, which is again surprising considering the cost of the machine. The full-size keyboard makes transitioning from a desktop to this keyboard a breeze. Key travel, while still less than a desktop keyboard, is enough.
The keys make a very subdued sound, one that is unlikely to annoy people sitting around you. The keys feature a matte coating, and are perfectly flat. The texture of the key surface is different from that of the palm rest; though, this isn't too important, as detecting when you are on the keyboard shouldn't be too difficult at all.
Overall, I'm impressed with the quality of the keyboard equipped to the Chromebook 11. I would have expected it to be much worse given the price of the machine.
The touchpad is wide, yet somewhat stubby. The texture of the touchpad is definitely different than the smooth palm rests. It's a slightly grainy texture. It's also slightly recessed into the palm rests. When I say slightly, I mean it's almost unnoticeable.
The Chromebook 11 features an 11.6-inch 1366x768 IPS display. According to the advertising material, the display features a 176-degree viewing angle. However, during testing, the screen quickly darkened when looking from a slightly off angle. The surface of the screen is a glossy texture; this makes use in a well-lit environment slightly difficult.
However, the display is quite bright, with HP and Google saying it goes up to 300 nits. It would be nice to see a matte screen, or anti-reflective coating to aid with bright environment viewing.
Accessory Port Layout
The left side, from back to front, features the power port (Micro USB with SlimPort tech), two USB 2.0 ports, and a combined microphone/headphone jack.