HP Pro c640 Chromebook, hands on: Slim and robust, but the display disappoints

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  • $1,129.00

Billed as low-cost and low-maintenance devices, with easy access to web apps and automatic software updates, Chromebooks began life aimed at home and educational users, and later made the switch to the business world. Right now, as firms look to continue 2020's working-from-home imperative and to normalise remote workforces, Chromebooks are becoming an increasingly popular choice for some first-line and knowledge workers. 

HP launched three Chromebooks for the business sector in May, as COVID-19 restrictions started to bite. The Pro c640 Chromebook was hailed as the world's thinnest 14-inch Chromebook, offering military-grade robustness, a sliding shutter on its webcam and an optional fingerprint sensor as key business features, along with Wi-Fi6, a good set of physical connections, and -- on some models -- Chrome Enterprise.

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The 14-inch Pro c640 Chromebook has a slim (1.65cm) but sturdy chassis that accommodates a good selection of ports. ZDNet's review unit was powered by a 10th-generation Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and 128GB of internal eMMC storage.

Images: HP Inc

The Pro c640 Chromebook's MIL-STD 810H-compliant aluminium chassis is solid, making for a device that feels designed for professionals. The spill-resistant keyboard is welcome too, while the dimensions are compact considering the chassis houses a 14-inch screen, measuring 32.5cm wide by 20.5cm deep by 1.65cm thick. It's not particularly light at 1.5kg, but if you're mostly working from home, portability might not be your most pressing concern. 

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The keyboard is backlit and spill-resistant.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Ports and connectors are similar to those you'd find on a regular laptop: full-size HDMI, two USB 3.1, two USB-C (either of which can be used to charge the battery), a 3.5mm audio jack and a MicroSD card reader. The chassis can easily accommodate the HDMI connector, but the two USB 3.1 ports require a hinged section to allow for peripheral connection. The hinge is well made, and looks as though it will stand the test of time. 

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The USB 3.1 ports (one on each side) use a hinge mechanism to fit into the Pro c640 Chromebook's slim chassis.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

My review sample featured a 10th generation Intel Core i7 10610U processor, 16GB of RAM and 128GB of internal eMMC storage (108GB of which was available). The 14-inch IPS screen had FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution, an anti-glare coating and was touch-capable.  

I couldn't find this iteration online to purchase in the UK at the time of writing, although it is available on mainland Europe at €1,138. You can get an awful lot of laptop for that sort of money, and this, ultimately, is the problem with the HP Pro c640 Chromebook: it just doesn't stand up to Windows-based competitors in terms of value for money.  

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There are some usability and design issues too. The bezel surrounding the screen is not particularly thin, is made from a rather low-grade plastic, and is raised rather than flush. At the price, I'd expect a more stylish design. Also, 250 nits of screen brightness is moderate, and won't suit some working environments. And despite the touch-screen, this isn't a convertible: the screen does lay flat on a desk, but full 360-degree rotation would have been preferable. Finally, it's arguable that 128GB isn't enough internal storage. 

In use, the Core i7 processor handled multiple open browser windows and applications with ease, while the battery, which HP says lasts for up to 12 hours, easily kept me going for a full day's work. Despite these plus points, the HP Pro c640 Chromebook feels over-priced, and the screen is particularly disappointing.

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Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Operating System Google Chrome OS with Chrome Enterprise Upgrade - English
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core i7 (10th Gen) 10610U / 1.8 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 4.9 GHz
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Cache L3 - 8 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Features Intel Turbo Boost Technology
Cache Memory
Type L3 cache
RAM
Memory Speed 2666 MHz
Configuration Features provided memory is soldered
Technology LPDDR4 SDRAM
Rated Memory Speed 2666 MHz
Memory
RAM 16 GB (provided memory is soldered)
Technology LPDDR4 SDRAM
Speed 2666 MHz
Environmental Parameters
Humidity Range Operating 10 - 90%
Display
LCD Backlight Technology WLED backlight
Resolution 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Widescreen Display Yes
Monitor Features 45% NTSC color gamut, Micro Edge, anti-glare
Type LED
TFT Technology IPS
Diagonal Size (metric) 35.56 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation Full HD
Hard Drive
Type SSD
SSD Form Factor eMMC
Capacity 128 GB
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel UHD Graphics
Sound Stereo speakers, dual array microphone
Features Bang & Olufsen Audio
Input
Type ClickPad, keyboard
Features gesture function, multi-touch clickpad
Communications
Wireless Protocol Bluetooth 5.0
Wireless Controller Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX 201
Features Miracast, dual stream (2x2)
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Processor
CPU Type Core i7
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 1.8 GHz
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC
Battery
Capacity 60 Wh
Cells 3-cell
Technology lithium ion
Run Time (Up To) 12 hour(s)
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 65 Watt, 5 / 9 / 12 / 15 / 20 V
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces HDMI
2 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1/DisplayPort (Power Delivery)
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
Headphone/microphone combo jack
Memory Card Reader Yes (microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC)
Header
Brand HP
Product Line HP Pro
Edition Enterprise
Localization English
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 5.0, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Miscellaneous
Case Material aluminum
Security Google Security Chip H1, fingerprint reader
Features HP Fast Charge
Compliant Standards BSMI, CCC, EAC, FCC, ICCP, ICES, KC, RCM, SABS, UL, low halogen
Localization Language: English / region: United States
Manufacturer Selling Program HP Smart Buy
Theft/Intrusion Protection security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)
Security Slot Type Kensington nano security slot
Monitor
Diagonal Size 14 in
Image Brightness 250 cd/m2
System
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Notebook Type Chromebook
Platform Chrome OS
Hard Drive Capacity 128 GB
Security Devices fingerprint reader
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.8 in
Depth 8.1 in
Height 0.6 in
Audio Output
Compliant Standards High Definition Audio
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 3 years warranty
Environmental Standards
EPEAT Level EPEAT Silver
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Physical Characteristics
Weight 3.31 lbs
Power
Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operating System / Software
Type Google Play
Video Output
Graphics Processor Series Intel UHD Graphics
Input Device
Backlight Yes
Interfaces
USB-C Ports Qty 2
USB-C Features USB Power Delivery
Comment Power Delivery
Service & Support
Type 3 years warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Full Contract Period 3 years
Shock & Vibration Tolerance
Shock Acceleration (Operating) 40 g
Shock Acceleration (Non-operating) 240 g
Vibration Acceleration (Operating) 1.043 g
Vibration Frequency Range (Operating) RMS (random)
Vibration Acceleration (Non-operating) 3.5 g
Vibration Frequency Range (Non-operating) RMS (random)

Where To Buy

Price
$1,129.00

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Where To Buy

HP Pro c640 Chromebook - Enterprise - 14" - Core i7 10610U - 16 GB RAM - 128 GB eMMC - US

Part Number: 190G5UT#ABA
Price
$1,129.00