Chromebooks are near and dear to my heart as I find them to be great tools in my work kit. I believe I have used most every one available and when I heard HP had a new 14-inch model I moved heaven and earth to get one to test. The Pavilion 14 Chromebook has the biggest screen currently available on a Chromebook.
Hardware as reviewed:
- Processor: Intel Celeron, 1.1GHz
- Display: 14-inch, 1366x768
- Memory: 2GB
- Storage: 16GB
- Connectivity: Ethernet; Wifi a/b/g/n; Bluetooth
- Ports: 3-USB 2.0; RJ-45; HDMI; SD card slot; Audio in/out
- Battery: 37WHr; 4.25 hours
- Dimensions: 0.83x13.66x9.37in; 3.96lbs
The casing on the Pavilion 14 is black sparkly plastic that looks nice but feels a bit cheap. Tapping on the lid and on the palmrest when opened doesn't invoke feelings of sturdy construction, but in practice it holds up fine. This is obviously a concession to keep the price low and the weight down.
The island-style keys feel nice and solid and all of the standard Chrome OS control keys are where you expect to find them on the top row of the keyboard. Despite the large display size, the trackpad is small compared to most other Chromebooks. This is due to the inclusion of two large mouse buttons in front of the trackpad. Rather than use a glass buttonless trackpad as found on other Chromebooks, HP has used a plastic textured cover on the Pavilion 14. It works fine but is not quite as fluid as other glass models used by Samsung on its Chromebooks or of that on Google's Chromebook Pixel.
The 14-inch screen is nice and bright with decent viewing angles. Having the bigger display it would be nice had HP used a screen resolution bigger than 1366x768. While this standard resolution works fine, the big screen could use a higher resolution to take full advantage of it.
The Altec Lansing stereo speakers sound better than those found on many laptops. The volume is pretty loud for a laptop and doesn't distort terribly at high volume as many notebook sound systems do.
The battery life of the Pavilion 14 Chromebook is just over four hours due to the small battery, which is likely a concession to keep the weight down. Fortunately, HP chose a removable battery design which makes a second battery an option for those wanting a full day away from a power outlet. This is not possible with some other Chromebooks using a sealed battery design.
The HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook is a solid entry into the Chrome OS space that is designed to appeal to those who like bigger displays. The construction of the laptop doesn't feel the sturdiest due to the all plastic design, but that keeps the weight down for a large notebook.
The Celeron processor is powerful enough to keep Chrome OS hopping without bogging down. Everything runs smoothly and while I wouldn't play intensive games on this Chromebook everything else runs just fine.
The HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook is a solid device and is available now from various retailers. It is also available from HP online currently priced at $299.
Fun fact: According to HP these ship to retailers in bulk by the pallet. They are packed 72 to a pallet with a shipping weight of 562.2 lbs.
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