HP Chromebook 14 Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Good multitasking performance; Strong audio; Large 1080p screen; Colorful design

The Cons

Dim display; Relatively short battery life; Underside gets warm

Verdict

The HP Chromebook 14 packs offers good multitasking performance and blasts a lot of volume, but competitors offer brighter displays and more battery life.

If you've been tempted to switch from a Windows 10 notebook to one that runs Google's lightweight Chrome OS, you might have noticed there aren't many big-screen Chromebooks available. Enter the 14-inch HP Chromebook 14, which packs an Intel Celeron processor and a 1080p display. This attractive, teal-and-white laptop provides strong audio and plenty of performance for multitasking, but competing Chromebooks have better battery life and more colorful screens.

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Design

At certain angles, the HP Chromebook 14's white plastic lid gives off a slight glimmer that reminds me of Formica countertops. The rest of the chassis, including the deck, sides, bezel and bottom, are a light teal, which gives the laptop a Crest toothpaste aesthetic. The deck also has a neat matrix pattern.

HP Chromebook 14

The solid feel of the HP Chromebook 14 suggests a reliable build quality, and its soft keyboard deck felt comfortable against my wrists. If you're looking for a more premium design, check out the Dell Chromebook 13, which has a soft-touch carbon-fiber finish and a sturdy magnesium-alloy design.

Weighing 3.48 pounds, the 14-inch HP Chromebook 14 is heavier than the 13-inch Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2.97 pounds) and the Dell Chromebook 13 (3.23 pounds). Measuring 0.7 inches thin, the HP Chromebook is about as thick as the Dell (0.72 inches) and the Toshiba (0.76 inches).

Ports and Webcam

HP's put a security lock slot, an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack and a microSD reader on the Chromebook 14's left side, and a pair of USB 2.0 ports on its right side.

HP Chromebook 14

The HP Chromebook 14's 0.9-megapixel webcam shot accurate but noisy selfies of me in our office. Its photos correctly captured the red of the Purch wall and my blue gingham shirt, but the images looked splotchy, as if a pointillist filter had been applied.

HP Chromebook 14 Webcam Picture

Battery Life

Unlike its competitors, the HP Chromebook 14 doesn't have enough battery life to make it through a day. The Laptop Mag Battery Test needed only 6 hours and 42 minutes to drain the notebook of its charge, a time that the Dell (13:25) and the Toshiba (10:05) both beat.

Display

The HP Chromebook 14's 1080p screen may be sharp, but it's on the dim side. When I watched the Star Wars: Rogue One trailer on the HP Chromebook 14, multiple scenes looked dark and muddied. The blue lasers were rendered green and the orange of rebel pilot jumpsuits failed to pop. I could see the scratches and other fine details of Forrest Whitaker's armor, but the screen reproduced the Imperial Star Destroyer in a yellow hue that made it look like an old prop.

HP Chromebook 14

Based on our tests, the Chromebook 14 emits only 212 nits (a measurement of brightness). That's lower than the Dell (270 nits) and the Toshiba (378 nits). Its viewing angles aren't great, either, as its color darkened at 35 degrees to the left or right.

According to our colorimeter, the HP Chromebook 14 can produce only 65 percent of the sRGB spectrum. That's less than the Dell Chromebook 13 (96 percent) and the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (110 percent).

The HP Chromebook 14's panel fared better in the Delta-E color accuracy test, where it earned a 0.5 (closer to zero is better). That beats the Dell (1.4) and the Toshiba (0.9). This score is contrary to our experience, but if the notebook can produce only a limited range of color, its accuracy doesn't mean as much.

Audio

Those who like their music loud and clear will appreciate the HP Chromebook 14. The notebook filled a large conference room with an accurate version of CFO$'s "The Rising Sun," reproducing its strong bass guitar riffs, crisp drums and high synths.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The HP Chromebook 14's keyboard isn't perfect, but it makes for decent typing. I noticed its deck bounced a lot as I used the 10FastFingers typing test, where I clicked my way to 70 words per minute with 99 percent accuracy. That's below my 80-wpm average. The keys have 1.3 millimeters of travel, while we prefer 1.5 mm.

HP Chromebook 14

The HP Chromebook 14's 4.3 x 2.7-inch, buttonless touchpad accurately tracked my input as my fingers navigated around the Chrome browser, and there was a solid feel to each click. The notebook smoothly responded to my two-finger scrolling, and it correctly registered my three-finger navigation gestures.

Performance

Armed with a 1.8-GHz Intel Celeron N2940 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 16GB eMMC drive, the HP Chromebook 14 provides enough power for multitasking. When I split my screen between a dozen tabs and a streaming YouTube video and opened Cut The Rope and Google Keep, the system stayed speedy, with no lag as I typed in a Google Doc and moved from tab to tab.

Chrome Windows

The HP Chromebook 14 did poorly on Google's Octane 2.0 performance benchmark, which gave it a score of 7,869. The Celeron 3205U-powered Dell Chromebook 13 (14,453) and Celeron 3215U-powered Toshiba Chromebook 2 (17,044) earned better scores.

HP Chromebook 14

The Browser mark test for overall browser performance produced similar results, with the HP Chromebook 14 (2,300) getting bested by the Dell (4,199) and the Toshiba (4,576), again.

HP's Chromebook 14 is also not as good at running JavaScript as its competitors, earning a 46.1 in the JetStream 1.1 test. That score is lower than those of the Dell (86.3) and the Toshiba (99.2).

Graphics

I had no trouble playing casual games like Cut The Rope and streaming 1080p video from Netflix on the HP Chromebook 14, but again, synthetic test scores favor its competitors. This system earned a score of only 1,480 in the Oort Online test, which measures the browser's ability to display simulated environments. That's far below the Dell Chromebook 13 (5,050) and the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (5,060).

HP Chromebook 14

The HP Chromebook 14 also performed poorly in the Aquarium graphics simulation, which tests 3D rendering. The notebook mustered 47 frames per second with 250 and 500 fish in the tank, while the Dell and Toshiba both sped along at 60 fps with as many as 1,000 fish.

 

MORE: Should I Buy a Chromebook? Buying Guide and Advice

 

Audio

Those who like their music loud and clear will appreciate the HP Chromebook 14. The notebook filled a large conference room with an accurate version of CFO$'s "The Rising Sun," reproducing its strong bass guitar riffs, crisp drums and high synths.

HP C

Heat

The HP Chromebook 14 stays cool up top, but heats up down below. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video on the notebook, our heat gun recorded a temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit on its underside, which exceeds our 95-degree comfort threshold. Its touchpad (75 degrees) and keyboard (83 degrees) did not get hot.

Chrome OS

Google's Chrome OS is the light, minimalist alternative to Windows and OS X. After I logged in to the HP Chromebook 14 with my Google account, I was greeted with a desktop background of a trolley car at night and relatively few icons in the lower corners of the display.

Chromebook 14 Desktop Wallpaper

In the bottom-left corner, there's a magnifying-glass icon to open search (which pulls results from both the HP Chromebook 14 and Google itself), and icons for Chrome, Picasa and Gmail.

Those who like their music loud and clear will appreciate the HP Chromebook 14.

When I clicked on the magnifying glass, it brought up my most commonly used apps and Google Now cards about the weather and baseball.

Chrome OS also includes voice control, so if you have a Chrome tab or the launcher open, you can say, "OK, Google," to bring up the voice assistant.

In the right corner, Chrome places its notification counter, the time, software update indicators, the volume, Wi-Fi connectivity, battery life, keyboard layout and your user account photo.

Apps

After you log in to the Chromebook using your Google account, the system automatically loads whatever apps you have previously used. In our case, that consisted of Google's own productivity and Play apps, Word Online, games like Cut The Rope and Offline Solitaire and favorites such as Netflix and Spotify.

For more apps, you can check out the Chrome Web Store, which has tens of thousands of titles available. The Stress Relievers section has games like 2048 and a white-noise-producing add-on; apps for checking the local forecasts and getting rain alerts are filed under Weather & Outdoor; and image-editing programs can be found in Unleash Creativity. Other categories in the Chrome Web Store include Business Tools, Social and Communication, and Education.

Chrome Web Store

When I poked around in the store, I found some of the apps I use every day, like Pocket, which I use to save articles to read later. LINE, a popular messaging app, is also in the store.

Google Docs and Slides users will find the ability to save files for offline use useful for those moments when they do not have a connection. You'll need to make sure that that setting is enabled in Google Drive in advance. Offline access isn't available for all apps in the Chrome Web Store, but some work when you're not in the cloud.

The Chrome Web Store still has a ways to go if it intends to seriously compete with Windows and OS X. I found myself missing my favorite Twitter client, Tweetbot, and HipChat, which we use for inter-office communication. If you're looking to play your favorite games, you will spend a while hunting for them, as that section of the store is filled with knockoffs like Fruits Slice and Bubble Shooter.

Configurations and Warranty

Our test unit of the HP Chromebook 14 is the ak060nr model, which costs $279.99 and packs a 1080p display, a 1.8GHz Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and a 16GB eMMC drive. HP also sells the ak010nr model, which costs $249.99 and includes a 2.16GHz Celeron N2840 processor, 2GB of memory, a 16GB eMMC drive and a 1376 x 768-pixel display.

HP Chromebook 14

The notebook ships with a one-year limited warranty. Check out more information about HP's warranty in our overview.

Bottom Line

The $279.99 HP Chromebook 14 is a solid notebook for general activities. If you want a large screen for simultaneous document editing, internet browsing and video streaming, it packs enough punch to suit your needs. On the other hand, those who want to make it a whole day on a single charge or enjoy brighter and more colorful images may want to look elsewhere.

If you're willing to get a 13-inch display, both the Dell Chromebook 13 and the Toshiba Chromebook 2 earned our Editor's Choice awards for their long battery life and even faster performance. The $269 Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB35 is even less expensive than the HP, but you may want to pay more for the $429 Dell Chromebook 13's fantastic design. But if you want a big notebook that runs Chrome OS and can kick out the jams, the HP Chromebook 14 is worth your consideration.

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CPU 1.83GHz Intel Celeron N2940 Processor
Operating System Google Chrome
RAM 4GB
RAM Upgradable to
Hard Drive Size 16GB
Hard Drive Speed
Hard Drive Type eMMC
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 14.1
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Speed
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics
Video Memory
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Model
Bluetooth
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 4.3 x 2.7 inches
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.0
Ports (excluding USB) USB 2.0
Ports (excluding USB) HDMI
Ports (excluding USB) Combo Headphone/Mic Jack
USB Ports 3
Card Slots microSD
Warranty/Support 1-year limited warranty
Size 13.54 x 9.45 x 0.7 inches
Weight 3.48 pounds
Company Website www.hp.com
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1 comment
  • Tom Keskumäki Says:

    i have HP chromebook 14, year 2013 model with Intel Celeron 2955U, 4G ram, 64G emmc. Intel new N29xx series is much more slower than old haswell u series. Octane Score: 13346 in intel 2995u.
    Battery is too better. 8 hours.

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