Sure, Chrome OS is a book idea, I believed — a simple, streamlined operating system focused on getting you online as quickly and easily as possible — however it wasn’t for me. Would I want to live my life that is digital completely relying on internet apps to get work done?
It appeared like the equivalent of living out of a bag. It’s true that you do it when you must, but it is not perfect for everyday use. If you think in the same style, the HP Chromebook 14 ($199 US, about #229, AU$499) may not be your fantasy device.
But if you want a device to check email and surf the web, it is fast enough for most jobs. Its screen is bright and crisp, and keyboard and its trackpad are excellent. The Chromebook isn’t flawless, but it’s a strong machine that may make you forget that you are leaving behind anything.
The Chromebook of HP is not just a high-end PC, but it is a slick, compact piece of kit nonetheless. The tapered enclosure measures 0.7 inches (about 18mm) thick at its thickest point) That extra weight provides you a screen, though, along with the Chromebook 14 doesn’t feel at all heavy at hand.
The situation itself is plastic, and it does flex and creak some as you fix the screen or pick it up one-handed. On the other hand, the case does not have any exposed screws, which means you don’t need to be concerned about a screen dropping out.
Oh. And it is blue. Very blue. Like, swimming-pool blue. Looks cool, but it is not for everybody. Though it makes our Chromebook 14 review unit the PC equivalent of a Smurf A white computer keyboard and lid offsets the blue. (Whether that is a good or bad thing depends on your preference in 1980s animations).
Plenty of ports
Along the right, you’ll discover the power connector and 2 USB 2.0 ports. Ideally, I’d have loved if all 3 USB ports supported USB 3.0, but there’s a lot of connectivity for most users.
As a writer, I’m picky when it comes to keyboards, and that I had been pleasantly surprised by the experience on the Chromebook 14. The keyboard feels reactive with clicky keys and plenty of key journey.
The keyboard flexes so slightly when I falls heavily on it, however, under normal usage, it isn’t mushy at all. My gripe is there is no dedicated Caps Lock key; while holding the alt key, a Search key takes its position and must be triggered. It isn’t a big deal, but it makes it challenging to tweet in all caps.
The trackpad is every bit as excellent. It is spacious and big, with lots of space to mouse about. The trackpad is a button, so you don’t have to fiddle around to find the left- and right-click buttons.
It is much stiffer the closer to the keyboard you move, although the button itself depresses with a click. You will feel right at home on the Chromebook 14, if you’re accustomed to the trackpad on, say, a MacBook Air.
Let’s ignore the specs for a minute–we’ll get to them soon–and let us rather focus on feel. The HP Chromebook 14 feels quick. It boots absurdly the Chrome browser opens immediately, and with rare exceptions, so everything feels responsive.
Here’s the HP Chromebook 14 configuration sent to techradar for review:
* Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
* RAM: 4GB DDR3
* Screen: 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display
* Camera: HP TrueVision HD webcam
* Weight: 3.74 pounds (1696g)
With a 1080p display and quad-core 1.83GHz Intel Celeron N2940 chip inside, this Chromebook 14 might be the higher-end model that HP offers at $279 or #307 (about AU$193). Though it isn’t a powerhouse by modern standards, as a result of Chrome OS’s minimal bloat and operation, that almost doesn’t matter. Almost.
It is also over a pound lighter than Acer’s offering, although the Acer includes a 15.6-inch display. The Acer also contains 32GB of onboard storage, when compared with this 16GB on the HP Chromebook 14.
The comparative lack of storage is not as big an issue as it would be because Chrome is designed with cloud storage in your mind.
However at $429 (about #299, AU$612), it’s also much pricier than HP’s offering –and that is even considering the cheaper $329 (roughly #230, AU$469) Celeron-powered model.
I found it stuttered under heavy use, although the Chromebook 14 is more than enough to get day-to-day tasks. Videos would drop framesor scrolling would stutter a bit. With more casual web browsing usage stuttering was rare, so you shouldn’t run into troubles too frequently.
Here Is the Way the Chromebook 14 performed in our Own Battery of web browser benchmarks:
It is possible to see some patterns here, although I had to rely on the Kraken and Sunspider benchmarks because applications doesn’t run.
4,135 milliseconds’ score is nearly 3 times slower than that put up from the Core i3-based Toshiba Chromebook 2. This makes sense given the Chromebook 14’s weaker Celeron processor (and lower base cost). However, as I noted earlier, you need to be able to chug along about the Chromebook 14.
Battery life is Great, not Good
HP claims the Chromebook 14 battery may last over 8 hours on a single charge. We didn’t really get that long run time, though. The Chromebook 14 managed 5 hours, 38 minutes on one charge when playing an HD video file in VLC on loop (50\% display brightness, 50\% volume with headphones plugged in).
This lagged behind the the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (which achieved slightly over six hours on precisely the exact same test). I managed to squeeze nearly seven hours of use viewing YouTube videos, whilst browsing the web, streaming music, and going about my own business. This fell a little short of this Acer Chromebook 15, which operated close to 8 hours.
Bright, vivid screen
The 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen is bright, crisp, and backlit, with appealing color contrast and saturation. Photos and text seem crisp and sharp on-screen, and its viewing angle is great. My one criticism is that Chrome OS lacks an interface feature that lets you increase the size of onscreen and text elements but that the display’s error.
Good enough Noise
You would not expect booming audio from a notebook, and also the Chromebook 14 is no exception to this rule. The speakers are tinny and hollow-sounding, but they are serviceable.