Home / Computing / Laptop / HP Chromebook 14

HP Chromebook 14 review

Michael Sawh

By

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Pros

  • Nice matte finish design
  • 3G support
  • Comfortable keyboard

Cons

  • Average screen quality
  • Low default brightness setting
  • Slightly heavier than original

Key Features

  • 14-inch LED backlit 1366; 768 display; 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U; 2GB RAM, 3G support; Bluetooth 4.0; HDMI; 16GB SSD; USB 2.0 and 3.0
  • Manufacturer: HP
  • Review Price: £279.00

What is the HP Chromebook 14?

The HP Chromebook 14 is a 14-inch laptop that runs on Google’s browser-based Chrome operating system. This is HP’s second stab at making one and having extensively used the HP Pavilion Chromebook for the past year, there’s definitely plenty of room for improvement.

It’s far more pleasing on the eye and with a Haswell-based Intel processor runs faster than first generation Chromebooks with all the added battery boosting benefits. HP also includes its new Data Pass pay as you go mobile broadband service, which gives users free 3G access for two years. Is it enough to make this the one Chromebook to own? Maybe, but we're not totally convinced.

READ MORE: Laptop Reviews

HP Chromebook 14: Design

It’s a fair assessment to say that HP’s first Chromebook was not the prettiest. Black, cheap and largely uninspiring. So for the Chromebook 14, HP has dropped the serious look in favour of something more brash and loud. You can get the Chromebook 14 in Peach Coral, Ocean Turquoise or Snow White like the one we had the pleasure of playing with.

It’s different but in a good way and a much-needed departure from the original. The soft matte white lid and dimpled base is not something we’ve seen on other Chromebooks. It’s nice to grip and gives the sub-£300 laptop a far more luxurious feel than its plastic build suggests.

When you open it up, the chassis is clearly MacBook inspired from the button-less chrome trackpad to the square chiclet keys, albeit it doesn’t use the same expensive materials as found on Apple’s laptops. There’s more space around the keyboard and a larger palm rest, but it definitely looks nicer from the outside than it does from the inside.

ROUND-UP: 10 Best Laptops You Can Buy

It’s 1mm thinner than the Pavilion (21mm) and also marginally heavier than the HP’s first Chromebook (1.8kg) weighing in at 1.85kg. That doesn’t sound like a lot but the extra heft is definitely more noticeable carrying it in a bag. We swapped between the two and the added weight is noticeable. For portability, there’s definitely better Chromebook options.

One thing you can’t knock this Chromebook for is onboard connectivity. Over on the right edge is the proprietary charging port so sadly it doesn’t support USB charging like the HP Chromebook 11. It’s joined by a SD card slot, a USB 2.0 port and further down is a 3G MicroSIM slot that comes with the more expensive model. Over on the left edge you’ll find headphone/mic jack, two USB 3.0 ports and a full-sized HDMI port that's something of a tight fit when plugging in a HDMI cable.

Elsewhere, there’s two thin stereo speakers on the base and above the screen you’ll find a pretty average 720p HD webcam with a flash to help out for those night-time chats.

All the changes HP has made are good ones. It feels solidly built and has been knocking around our bag for the past week with little issue apart from the odd pen smudge on that soft matte lid. The extra weight could be a slight issue for some but overall we are much happier with how the second generation HP Chromebook looks.

ROUND-UP: 10 Best Windows Laptops and Tablet

HP Chromebook 14: Screen & Sound Quality

The Chromebook 14 features a 14-inch LED backlit 1,366 x 768 HD display which matches the screen resolution on the 11-inch Acer Chromebook C720 and the 13-inch Toshiba Chromebook. Sadly, that means we have another Chromebook that serves up yet another below par display. It’s a little more acceptable on a 11-inch display but on a 14-inch screen it's really not great.

It’s also a TN display, which is renowned for poor viewing angles and glare both of which the Chromebook 14 suffers from. You’ll find yourself tilting the angle of the screen at times to reduce reflection.

The display looks a little washed out and lacks the vibrancy and punchy colours to make this a particularly great place to watch video. Putting it side-by-side with the HP Pavilion, there’s some noticeable improvements for colour accuracy and sharpness. The 200 nits of brightness doesn’t do a great deal of good when you hovering around the 50% mark and you’ll need have near to maximum brightness to have the most suitable working environment.

Chromebook displays on the whole continue to be the most disappointing aspect especially when tablet screens are getting so much better.

We didn’t really have high expectations for the Chromebook 14's speakers but surprisingly, like the Toshiba Chromebook, the HP doesn’t do a bad job. There’s no Beats Audio as some other of the brand's laptops. but there’s just the subtle hint of bass to help give the loud and reasonably well-defined sound a little bump. The forward-facing speakers ensure you feel the full brunt of your audio as well. If you are planning to put that 60-day free trial to Google Play Music to good use, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what the speakers have to offer.

Dean Stockton

March 9, 2014, 3:15 pm

Never mind 3G the future is 4G this is just a stop gap to make people pay out more in the near future

Gary J

March 24, 2014, 11:40 am

I should hold on for 5G lol

ziggrl

May 14, 2014, 11:07 pm

I just got one of these today refurbished through Walmart for $275. Out of the box the touchpad doesn't work. Either I'm doing something wrong or it came to me broken. Refurbished products usually go through gruelling tests to ensure they work properly. Any help is appreciated.

man_wolf

May 18, 2014, 6:21 pm

I just got a NEW Google Chromebook through my Internet Service Provider earlier last week after my old Windows 7, HP Presario CQ62 finally crapped out on me after years of use. From the beginning the touch pad on this NEW Chromebook hasn't worked properly, making it necessary for me to use an external plug-in mouse just to left click so I can copy & paste links or save images. Also I can't scroll down pages without having to use my plug-in mouse or the up & down arrows on the keyboard as the touch pad doesn't work performing this function either.
My second beef is that I miss my Windows Paint & every alternative Google has to offer basically SUCKS! What use to only take me a few short minutes to accomplish using the Windows Paint feature on my old laptop has been made into an overly complicated pain in the ass with these other crappy apps.
Today's Sunday & so tomorrow during business hours I'll be calling my Internet Service Provider's billing department because for what they're charging me for this piece of crap, I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a piece of crap!

Taylor

May 30, 2014, 9:56 pm

I got the Chromebook the other day and at first really enjoyed it. Amazing keyboard feels good to type but there came some issues for me at least. I think the Chromebook relies on the internet too much. I mean its great you get 3G but I don't want to spend money on another 3G plan. My phone is already enough. Also its not a Windows computer so it doesn't have Microsoft word on it. Just the stupider version of it. It might not be a big deal, at least I have a version of it right? That's what I thought but then reality sits in. I'm going to high school and your going to be required to TYPE a paper and with the Google Docs it doesn't capitalize words in the beginning of the sentence, after the period starting a new sentence or when you type your first word on the document also the most important one, it doesn't capitalize your I's it comes out as i and you cant change it when you put in the auto correct thing (Preferences) you cant change it, it just goes back the lowercase I. It might not seem bad but think about it. Writing a 7 page essay and being scored on spelling punctuation and capitalization having to capitalize every I, every word at the beginning of a paragraph, of a sentence ect. Its just too much and i'm not spending $499 on Microsoft word. It doesn't have a CD player so I cant watch movies on it or play games that have a CD like the Sims. Cant download Minecraft because they don't support the computer type. Basically cant do anything on it unless go on the internet or get apps that are just faster links to the internet. Also the touch pad thing is a little ehh for me. It works fine but I would like the 2 buttons on the end but its not that big of a deal. My last computer was like a 2006 Toshiba I think, I dont know the exact year we got it but It was well over 8 years ago and Im kind of deciding if i should return it and switch back to the Toshiba because it can do so much more than the Chromebook and its kind of disappointing. As a highschool student and gamer this isnt the laptop for me but I like the design and color of the Coral Pink and keyboard. Now all I'm worried about is that I've already opened it and took all the stickers off it oppss. Hope Wal-Mart is generous and not so picky about their return policy... Rating 2.8/5

reneontheisland

July 5, 2014, 1:00 pm

As a college student in my 3rd year the HP Chromebook 14 is, hands down, the best device I have ever used for school. It does everything I need it to do, cheaper, faster, and, for the most part easier. Microsoft Word is over-rated and over-priced. Even on my Dell with Windows 7 I use Apache from Openoffice.org. A suite of free software applications that rival Word and are completely compatible. They're different in many respects, but it's a matter of what you get used to. I use Google Apps more now though because I use it on the Chromebook. I love that I can work on any computer and open my work on any other computer without having to email it to myself over and over depending on where I'm working.

I think you are confusing the Chromebook with a computer and if what you wanted and needed was a computer then you should definitely return the Chromebook (at this point I hope you already have). My Chromebook has zero issues and works exactly as it is supposed to. It's lighter weight than the Dell 8" tablet with keyboard and far more responsive. Not to mention I hated Windows 8. It is also lighter than the Dell Mini 10 I had and the Chromebook is full size.

For internet use, opening pdf files, researching and writing papers, and other basic task the HP Chromebook can't be beat for price, performance, and portability. If you want or need an actual computer or if you want to download software or are into heavy gaming then this is not the one for you.

comments powered by Disqus