HP says this is the first Chromebook to use a 6th-generation Intel Core M processor (as seen in Apple's recently refreshed MacBook) and it's available with up to 16GB of RAM. There's also a USB-C docking setup for it that'll let you hook the Chromebook 13 into multiple displays (ChromeOS supports three simultaneous displays), as well as full-size keyboards and other accessories. HP claims 11.5 hours on a charge of the 45 watt-hour battery and USB-C plays a role here as well, offering an option for fast charging.
The spec sheet suggests why Google might have been involved in the design process: This looks like a pared-down version of the company's Pixel, the ultra-high end Chromebook that many love, but few can afford. This high-end (for a Chromebook, at least) machine is clearly targeted at professionals, with pre-orders starting today at $499. That's a lot cheaper than the Pixel, even if, especially at entry level, it's quite a bit less powerful.
Indeed, our own Dana Wollman and the opportunity to get hands-on with the device at an event in New York today, and found the build quality to be shockingly nice for a laptop that starts at $499. The keyboard is comfortable -- on par with many of HP's other laptops. As for performance, our few minutes of hands-on time obviously doesn't take the place of a full review, but what Dana saw in her quick demo was promising. Whereas many Chromebooks of yore felt like glorified netbooks, the speed on our test machine (Core M3 with 4GB of RAM) is on par with other modern laptops from Apple and various Windows PC makers. The machine is quick to boot, wake from sleep and log in and out. Web pages load quickly and scrolling is brisk. It's hard to quantify after such a brief demo, but trust us: Core M makes a difference over Atom, or Celeron or even Pentium.