HP Chromebook 14 review: Big display, bold colors, full keyboard

HP Chromebook 14 review: Big display, bold colors, full keyboard

Summary: HP's latest Intel Haswell Chromebook is available now with free monthly LTE and available in bold colors. It's a rocking Chromebook that enables efficiency with the large display and keyboard.

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  • HP Chromebook 14

    Last week I won the Chromebook debate and after spending more than a week with the HP Chromebook 14 I am even more convinced there are indeed good reasons to buy Chromebooks.

    I just sold my 3rd generation LTE iPad and ordered a Nokia Lumia 2520 that Verizon doesn't seem to want to deliver. As I approach one week since I ordered an in stock item with overnight shipping, I find myself grabbing the LTE-enabled HP Chromebook 14 rather than the evaluation Nokia Lumia 2520.

    The more time I spend with the Chromebook 14 the more I regret ever returning the Chromebook 11 and am likely to cancel the 2520 and pick up the Chromebook 11 as soon as they become available again.

    Hardware

    There are only a few Intel Haswell Chromebooks available and this HP Chromebook 14 is the best. The Chromebook is definitely a large device so if you are looking for a small companion device then this is not what you want.

    At first I was put off by the sheer size of it, then I started using it and fell in love with the keyboard and large display. The front is dominated by the 14 inch display. I like the size, but continue to hope for Chromebooks with higher resolution displays.

    Below the display is a cool hinge design that helps reduce the thickness of the device. It is wrapped in the same turquoise material you will find around the display, on the back of the display, and under the bottom of the device. The front facing camera, for Google Hangouts, is centered above the display.

    The keyboard reminds me of my old MacBook Pro that my wife continues to use. She saw this HP Chromebook 14 and thought it was another Macbook Pro. Given that we have an iMac as our home family computer, I think my wife could honestly use this as her computer for email, social networking, and basic photo needs and when her Macbook Pro dies I may just give this plan a try.

    On the right side you will find the SIM card slot, USB 2 port, SD card slot, and power port. The power brick is a bit large, but given that you can easily go at least a day with the device I didn't find that to be a problem.

    On the left side you will find the audio input/output port, two USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI port.

    There are fan openings on the bottom along with dual speakers near the front of the device.

    Software

    The HP Chromebook 14 runs Google Chrome OS that is the same as what you can find on any other Chromebook. There is nothing special from HP on the device and after logging in with your Gmail address everything you have installed previously on a Chromebook is synced over.

    Google Chrome OS has continued to advance with decent support for offline apps. I wrote this post with Write Space and no active connection for half the time.

    You still cannot download movies for offline viewing, but you can work with photos stored locally.

    As I was checking out the Chromebook 14, I started looking at what I do on other computers and realized even with them I rarely work in offline mode. In my engineering work, I do work offline quite a bit with special Windows programs.

    Do you actually work offline that often? If not, then you shouldn't be too worried about using a Chromebook as a home computer.

    Usage and experiences

    I wrote a few articles for ZDNet using the HP Chromebook 14 and find the ability to write at a steady pace to be quite attractive. I am very efficient with the Chromebook and enjoy the experience.

    HP states that the Chromebook 14 can give you about 9.5 hours of battery life and in my testing I was able to go at least a day with it. I used it for an hour each way on the train and while working at home.

    Pros and Cons

    To summarize my experiences with the HP Chromebook 14, here are my pros and cons.

    Pros

    • Large display
    • Fast performance with ample RAM
    • Long battery life
    • Full size keyboard
    • Integrated T-Mobile LTE support with 200MB free monthly data
    • Reasonable price

    Cons

    • Four pound weight
    • Low resolution display
    • Stereo speakers face downwards and are mounted on the bottom

    Pricing and availability

    The WiFi only model of the HP Chromebook 14 is available from various retailers for $299. The LTE-enabled one I tested is available for $50 more, $349. In addition to the T-Mobile LTE radio, the higher priced one also has double the RAM, 4GB, and that alone is worth the $50 if you open multiple tabs in your browser.

    The HP Chromebook 14 comes in three colors, including ocean turquoise (the one I tested), peach coral, and white.

    Don't forget you get the Google goodies that include 100GB of Google Drive storage for 2 years, 12 free GoGo in-flight passes, and 60 days of Google Play Music All Access.

    The competition

    There are several other Chromebooks available, including the newer Acer C720, Samsung models, and high end Chromebook Pixel. This HP model has the largest display, which is actually pretty helpful when browsing the Internet and trying to see as much as possible.

    The Acer C720P has a touchscreen, but less RAM and is also priced at $299.

    Specifications

    • Google Chrome OS
    • 14" diagonal HD BrightView LED-backlit (1366 x 768)
    • Intel Celeron 2955U Haswell processor
    • 4GB RAM and 16GB SSD storage
    • SD card expansion capability
    • 2 USB 3.0 ports and 1 USB 2.0 port
    • HDMI port
    • HP TrueVision Webcam with integrated digital microphone
    • 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
    • Dimensions of 13.6 x 9.4 x 0.81 in and 4.07 lbs

    Conclusion

    The HP Chromebook 14 is more of a desktop replacement than a super portable device, but the large size is also fantastic for enjoying the Internet in the Chrome browser, typing on a large keyboard, and enjoying long battery life.

    It is nearly the perfect Chromebook for me, but I still want a higher resolution display and continue to look for the Chromebook that is between these models and the high priced Pixel. I hear many people ask for such a model and hope we see this in early 2014.

    The HP Chromebook 14 is very well constructed with an excellent keyboard, lots of available ports, solid hinge, nicely designed outer shell, long battery life, responsive trackpad, and large display.

    It is a bit heavy at 4 pounds, but I carried it in my backpack to work every day and found its usefulness and functionality to overshadow the weight. I used the HP Chromebook 14 to write this review using the Write Space offline application.

    Contributor's rating: 9 out of 10

    Further reading

  • Left side of the keyboard

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Reviews, Google Apps

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Talkback

38 comments
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  • I tried chrome

    not a single "app" I couldn't live without or run in IE.

    An 8" tablet is a far better choice.
    everss02
    • Unless you don't want an 8" tablet

      In which case you haven't made a credible argument against buying this.

      FYI: There is no single app in existence that people can't live without anymore. There are reasonable substitutes all over the place. Even if you still feel you cannot live without MS Office, you can use the Web version of Office on Chrome.
      Michael Kelly
      • No touch on Chromebook

        If I'm getting a consumption device, no touch is a deal breaker.

        no active stylus support is another deal breaker.
        everss02
        • No Shortwave Radio!!!!! No Manicures!!! Heads Will Roll!!!!!

          Given the millions of devices used for consumption without touch interface and given the even larger number of devices sold without a stylus, I'm guessing no one is drowning their sorrows over the deal they broke.
          DannyO_0x98
          • Absense of short wave radio is definitely a deal breaker

            However, for a plastic laptop, the 4 pound system weight is a significant disadvantage.
            kenosha77a
        • On a laptop?

          I have touch on my desktop and I never, ever use it. I don't have touch on my laptop, and I never, ever miss it. I do have it on my phone and tablets, and it works great for them. But when I dock my Windows tablet to the keyboard (thus converting it into a laptop), I never, ever use touch.
          Michael Kelly
        • Buy one with a touchscreen if that's what you want

          If you read the article, Miller pointed out that the Acer C720P has a touchscreen. There are MANY Windows 8 laptops that don't have touchscreens. That lack nothing to do with the OS.

          An 8" tablet has a lot of uses, but Miller also pointed out that he wrote this article on the Chromebook. I don't think he would have had the patience to do that on an 8" tablet.

          This is all about your use case. If you need a simple device to write articles, surf the web, play with photos and videos, then this can be a compelling device. Many people don't want or need the power or hassles of a full Windows device; this device is perfect for them.
          Keltypack
    • IE

      Did I read IE. People still use that?
      RIM71260
  • At $474

    the HP doesn't make such a good figure over here. It is much more expensive than an equivalently powered netbook running Windows 8... :-S
    wright_is
    • No Windows is a feature not a bug.

      Commenters like this don't get that NOT having Windows is a feature, not a deficiency. No Windows means means for the end user not having to hassle with all the mandatory anti-Virus software (and continual updates) which eats up significant CPU cycles (the corollary being that w/o A/V you get more CPU cycles for your apps - especially critical on a netbook), security holes, and the hassle of Windows administrative headaches such as it performing worse over time.

      Chrome OS simplicity is a virtue. Not having Windows means drastically lower Cost of Ownership and less hassles. That means not having to waste yours or your support friend's time/life futzing with a computer to get it to work, and getting on with your business.

      Most end users can live life on the new paradigm of the cloud. Windows is a legacy app that has been obsoleted by the Future.
      cosmolee501
      • re:

        And yet, the only person who is ever spotted at the Chromebook display in Best Buy always has a Google badge on.
        Sir Name
      • Still

        a Windows laptop with Chrome is still cheaper than Chrome OS and I haven't really noticed it being slowed down by AV software. The "continual" updates, ChromeOS has them as well, like modern Windows that all happens in the background.

        The first the user will usually hear about them is if they never turn off their computer, that Windows will say that it will force a reboot in 2 days...

        Performing worse over time? I haven't noticed that on my machines. OK, my Windows 7 laptop ran a lot faster when I upgraded it to Windows 8, but it hadn't slowed down appreciably from new.

        And my Atom based Windows 8 tablet runs very smoothly, thank you very much. I can also work offline for the times where there are no network connections - about 50% of the time around here.
        wright_is
      • Freedom form Microsoft

        Great point on hassle- free computing. Isn't windows a synonym for headaches?
        RIM71260
  • Nokia Lumia 2520

    Its good to see that the most awaiting tablet from the Nokia is going to release...
    All the specs and features of 2520 are available here :
    abinav.531
  • Isn't that nice...

    more trash for the bin. These crapbooks don't stack up to laptop running any version of Windows. I'd take my old Dell D600 with XP over one of these any day of the week.
    Rob.sharp
    • @Rob.sharp - maybe because you enjoy spending all your free time on

      system software maintenance, and enjoy the warmth, whir of fans and hard disk clatter?
      drwong
    • any version?

      Which of the hundred versions we're forced to buy, update, and constantly upgrade do you like spending hours fixing? Or fixing the software needed to fix the operating system?
      RIM71260
  • HP Chromebook 14 review: Big display, bold colors, full keyboard

    The cons outweigh the pro's. Looking at that pic it doesn't look very well designed. There is a lot of space between the end of the chromebook and the keyboad. That might get a little awkward to type on. For $299 you are getting an internet only device. For the same price you can get a full fledged laptop that will allow you to do things online and offline. The time has not come where everyone is doing everything offline. People say they do but the time will come where they will want more from the chromebook including offline apps. In the end its still a chromebook and that is its drawback.
    Loverock.Davidson
    • and being linux based, will I need to close the telnet port

      and compile everything?
      drwong
      • Yep

        Yep!
        Loverock.Davidson