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

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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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 14 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

HP Chromebook 14

Last week I 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 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 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

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2 of 14 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Left side of the keyboard

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Right side of the keyboard

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Capable trackpad

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Back showing the turquoise color

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Chrome branding

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Front facing camera

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8 of 14 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Bottom of the Chromebook 14

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9 of 14 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Vent and rubber foot piece

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Left side ports

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11 of 14 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Right side ports

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Home screen and apps

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Browsing ZDNet

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App launcher

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