The model reviewed here may no longer be available, but the HP Chromebook 14 is still a very active part of the company’s lineup. The variety of configurations offered, the price of which varies depending on the CPU equipped, nevertheless makes them extremely affordable laptops. Some of them are already benefiting from slight discounts in anticipation of Black friday and Cyber monday with more savings surely on the way.
If you have ever doubted best Chromebooks as viable alternatives to laptops, the HP Chromebook 14 is sure to eliminate any hassle. While many users are turning to Windows or Apple laptops, devices powered by ChromeOS have their place, and this Chromebook is proof of that.
In fact, with all the features and consistent performance the Chromebook 14 has, you might decide to take the plunge. If all you need is a computer to log in, check emails, do basic chores, and binge on Netflix, this hugely affordable device is more than up to the job. Add a great keyboard, a great trackpad, and a beautiful 14-inch display, and you’ve got a machine that offers a lot more value than its low price.
There are obvious limitations with a laptop like this. It won’t do intensive gaming or heavy graphics work such as video editing. But, if you have more basic computing requirements, the HP Chromebook 14 is the way to go, especially considering that it will only set you back $ 199 (around £ 230, AU $ 500).
HP’s Chromebook isn’t exactly a high-end PC, but it’s a sleek and streamlined kit nonetheless. The tapered case is 0.7 inches (approx 18mm) thick at its thickest point. At 3.74 pounds (1.7 kg), it’s also reasonably light, but not as light as the Toshiba 13.3-inch, 2.97-pound Chromebook 2. That extra weight gives you a slightly larger screen, and the Chromebook 14 doesn’t feel heavy in the hand at all.
The case itself is all plastic, and it flexes and squeaks when you adjust the screen or pick it up with one hand. On the light side, the case has no exposed screws, so you don’t have to worry about a loose screen falling off randomly.
Oh. And it’s blue. Very blue. Like the blue of the swimming pool. The shade of blue, which HP calls Sky Blue, looks cool, but it’s not for everyone. A white keyboard and cover make up for all the glowing blue, though that makes our Chromebook 14 review unit the PC equivalent of a Smurf. (Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on your taste for 1980s cartoons).
Lots of ports
You won’t run out of inputs on the Chromebook 14. The left edge features an HDMI out port, a security lock slot, a USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot. On the right, you will find the power connector and two USB 2.0 ports. Ideally, I would have liked all three USB ports to support USB 3.0, but there’s plenty of connectivity for most users.
Stellar keyboard and trackpad
As a writer I’m picky about keyboards and was pleasantly surprised with the typing experience on the Chromebook 14. The keyboard is responsive with clickable keys and plenty of key movement.
The keyboard flexes very slightly when I tap on it, but under normal conditions it’s not mushy at all. My gripe is that there is no dedicated caps lock key; a Search key takes its place and must be triggered by holding down the Alt key. That’s okay, but it makes impulsive tweeting in all caps more difficult.
The trackpad is equally excellent. It’s big and spacious, with plenty of room for the mouse. The entire trackpad is one button, so you don’t have to fiddle around to find the left and right click buttons.
The button itself digs in with a satisfying click, but it’s much stiffer the closer you get to the keyboard. If you’re used to the trackpad on, say, a MacBook Air, you’ll feel right at home on the Chromebook 14.