Need an affordable Chromebook with good performance? Look no further than the HP Chromebook 15 (de0517wm). For $469, you get strong Core i3 performance, a comfortable keyboard and long battery life, all packed into a good-looking chassis. You'll have to deal with a warm screen and quiet speakers, though. But overall, the HP Chromebook 15 is a great value and not only one of the best laptops under $500 but one of the best Chromebooks you can buy if you prefer a bigger screen.
HP Chromebook 15 price and configuration options
The HP Chromebook 15 that I tested costs $469 at Walmart, and it comes with an Intel Core i3-8130U processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage.
HP sells a base model of this machine for $449, with the specs dropping to an Intel Pentium Gold 4417U CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage.
HP Chromebook 15 design
Most Chromebooks look tragically boring, but the HP Chromebook 15's two-toned design (Ceramic White and Cloud Blue) caught my eye. The white, metal hood bears a glossy, silver HP logo and a blacked-out Chrome logo in the top left corner. The HP Chromebook 15 also has a round, circular hinge that curves inward on each end, giving the machine a more elegant, softer look.
The interior is also made of metal and sports the Cloud Blue design with a sandblasted finish. There's a full-sized Chromebook keyboard with numpad accompanied by an elongated touchpad with a diamond-cut trim. Just above the keyboard is a Bang & Olufsen speaker vent, and looking up I could see the bezels on the display, which are relatively narrow.
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At 4 pounds and 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches, the HP Chromebook 15 is pretty light and thin for a 15-inch laptop, so it should fit into most 15-inch laptop bags. The HP Chromebook 15 is lighter than its 15-inch competitors, the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 (4.1 pounds, 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches) and the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 CP315-1H (4.6 pounds, 15.2 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches). But HP's machine couldn't match a 14-inch laptop like the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (3.1 pounds, 12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches).
HP Chromebook 15 ports
While the HP Chromebook 15 doesn't have a lot of ports, it has the ones that matter.
On the left, there's a security lock slot, a USB Type-C port, a headphone jack and a microSD card slot, while the right features one USB Type-C port and one USB 3.0 port. Oddly enough, the USB Type-C ports have Thunderbolt 3 logos next to them, even though they're not Thunderbolt ports. We' reached out for HP for comment, and the company said that this was a mistake and was corrected about two months ago. Your probably won't see this in the wild, but if you do, just be warned that these are not Thunderbolt 3 ports.
HP Chromebook 15 display
In the Gemini Man trailer, Will Smith chased Will Smith through Budapest, and the pink and yellow buildings came off quite well, but the sky had a warm-yellow tint. Going to a white page like Google, it seemed like the white balance was off, as it was too warm. When Smith talked to Clive Owen in a dull gray room, 50% of what I saw on the panel was my own confused expression. However, the panel was sharp enough to detail the sweat coming off Smith's forehead a few feet from the camera. I also noticed that the panel itself was a bit fuzzy, which can be distracting, as I could spot it even from a few feet away.
The HP Chromebook 15's display covered a mere 64% of the sRGB color gamut, falling below the 81% Chromebook average. HP's machine also came in behind the Yoga Chromebook C630 (107%), Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (93%) and Acer Chromebook Spin 15 (68%).
However, at 247 nits of brightness, the HP Chromebook's screen stayed ahead of the category average (247 nits) and matched the Acer Chromebook Spin 15. The Yoga Chromebook C630 and Asus Chromebook Flip C434 were slightly ahead, at 260 nits and 286 nits, respectively.
HP Chromebook 15 keyboard, touchpad and touch screen
While the HP Chromebook 15's keys are slightly shallow and almost bottomed out, they provided enough resistance to make for a comfortable typing experience. I like that the keyboard also has a full-sized numpad and even standard, white backlighting.
I managed to nail 74 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is slightly above my usual, 70-wpm average. Meanwhile, the HP Chromebook 15's touch-screen panel had some resistance, so it was difficult to paint smoothly, but the screen did keep up with my finger at a solid pace.
The 2.5 x 4.75-inch, elongated touchpad wasn't as smooth as I'd like, but it did have a decent pair of clickers. It also did well in capturing Chrome OS gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tab-out. However, consider picking up a productivity mouse for easier navigation.
HP Chromebook 15 audio
The HP Chromebook 15's top-firing Bang & Olufsen speakers were a little too quiet.
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I listened to the Arctic Monkeys' "R U Mine?" and the speakers could barely compete with the sound of my AC unit, which isn't even that loud. The vocals were crisp and had depth, but the guitar riffs felt hollow. The percussion also failed to deliver enough bass. However, the instruments didn't sound muddy.
Unfortunately, there is no software to aid the audio.
HP Chromebook 15 performance and graphics
On the Geekbench 4.1 overall-performance benchmark, the HP Chromebook 15 scored a solid 7,823, surpassing the Chromebook average (6,133). HP's machine also flew by the Asus Chromebook Flip C434's Core m3-8100Y (6,968) and the Acer Chromebook Spin 15's Pentium N4200 (4,752), but it couldn't beat the Yoga Chromebook C630's Core i5-8250U (9,021).
The HP Chromebook 15's Intel UHD 620 GPU was able to display 500 fish on the WebGL Aquarium benchmark at 60 frames per second, matching the Yoga Chromebook C630's identical GPU and sliding past the category average (40 fps). The Acer Chromebook Spin 15, with its Intel HD 505 GPU, fell behind (45 fps).
Chrome OS is a stripped-down operating system that literally runs only on the Chrome browser. So if you run your life with Google through and through, then this OS is perfect for you.
Google did add Android support, so you get the full force of the Play store at your fingertips. Keep in mind that not all of these apps will scale up with your screen, as they're specifically designed for phones. Thankfully, the HP Chromebook 15 has a touch-screen display, so you can interact with most apps much better.
HP Chromebook 15 battery life
Even for a Chromebook, the HP Chromebook 15's battery life is lengthy.
After continuously surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150-nits of brightness, the HP Chromebook 15's battery lasted 9 hours and 51 minutes, which is much longer than the 9:01 category average. The HP outlasted the Yoga Chromebook C630 (6:53) and the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 (9:37). But the Chromebook 15 fell only slightly behind the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (9:58).
HP's machine nearly landed on our Best Battery Life Laptops page.
HP Chromebook 15 webcam
HP's 720p shooter takes shots as well as you'd expect -- poorly.
My face was blotchy in the test shots, and I couldn't see any detail in my hair or beard. The camera did, however, capture the color on my gray shirt and blue chair quite well. However, the windows behind me were completely blown out, so I couldn't see any detail around the windowsill.
HP Chromebook 15 heat
The HP Chromebook 15 was pretty cool under pressure.
After the Chromebook streamed a 15-minute, 1080p video, the machine's underside came to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, well below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and the touchpad hit only 83 and 78 degrees, respectively. Meanwhile, the hottest the machine got was merely 89 degrees, on the underside to the left edge of the vent.
HP Chromebook 15 warranty and support
HP Chromebook 15 bottom line
If you're looking for a sub-$500 Chromebook, you won't find a better deal than the HP Chromebook 15. It has solid Core i3 performance, long battery life and a comfortable keyboard, all packed in a refreshing design. However, I wish that the speakers were louder and the display more colorful.
If you're looking for a more-premium Chromebook, go with the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 ($899). It has a colorful 4K panel, a 2-in-1 design and stronger, Core i5 performance than HP's machine.
Overall, the HP Chromebook 15 is an excellent performer for the price.
Credit: Laptop Mag