HP, a classic hardware brand for Windows, has decided to embark on the Chromebook adventure with a series of laptops that stand out for their interesting combination of design, correct technical specifications and a great price. We have had the opportunity to test the new HP Chromebook 14 for a few weeks and these are our impressions.
Despite its price, the new HP Chromebook 14 does not give you any feelings of a "cheap computer". It was built with good quality plastics and a remarkable level of assembly, this is a portable and robust notebook, thanks to its 14-inch screen, and it allows you to work without missing a monitor. The panel, a TN type, offers a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a more accurate quality for the niche it targets and considering also the price range in which it operates.
"With this laptop you can do everything you usually do with Google Chrome, but not much more."
The best of Chrome OS is that you don’t even need to know what it is to enjoy it. In this review we want to focus on the sensations that such a solution provides, along with its limitations, but so far it seems a great alternative for certain user profiles.
The device startup is performed in less than nine seconds (hibernate mode output is virtually instantaneous) and you need a Google account (free) to use the computer (there is a guest mode, but it is too limited). After login in, you will see how your apps, bookmarks, extensions and passwords have been imported to a system entirely based on Google Chrome and Internet connectivity.
On a hardware level, this system offers a low power Intel Celeron N2830 processor, an NVIDIA Tegra K1 GPU and 2 GB of RAM, which is more than enough to offer flexibility and fluidity when performing any task. For storage you have 16 Gbytes on a SSD unit (in which the operating system and applications occupy almost half), but you can add an additional 100 Gbytes via Google Drive (free for two years).
When it comes to connectivity, it includes three USB ports (one 3.0), an HDMI output (perfect for connecting a monitor or HDTV) and a combo audio, plus the essential outlet. Details such as a large multitouch trackpad, an integrated webcam and WiFi connectivity, as well as Bluetooth and 4G, complete their specification sheet.
For whom is this Chromebook aimed at?
If Google Chrome is the application that dominates most of the time you spend at the computer, this HP 14 Chromebook may be an interesting option. Meaning that with this laptop you can do everything you do with your browser (including the use of extensions or apps) but not much more. Can you install programs or games? Yes, provided they are in Chrome Web Store.
Can it be used without internet? Almost all of Google apps have offline mode, but you will have problems with third party applications. Is it useful to view multimedia content? Of course, but with MKV formats you will need to download extensions.
Ultimately, this HP Chromebook 14 seems ideal for children, the elderly or simply users who want a computer designed by and for general Internet users and the Google ecosystem in particular. If you already use Google services, the integration is almost immediate and there’s virtually no learning curve.
"If Chrome is the first application that you open when you turn on your computer, you will like this HP Chromebook"
At this stage of development, Chrome OS is still very limited, and far off from the possibilities that other platforms offer, but it also comes with some advantages in relation to a concept based on the cloud system.
So, it is very stable, it has no security problems, you needn’t to buy a antivirus software for it (though you still must be careful with the extensions you install), but it is almost impossible to lose your data, it requires no maintenance and offers a great range of self-sufficiency. If we add a very attractive price, you will know the reasons for its success in such difficult environments such as school, where it already surpasses the iPad.
For around 300 dollars you can take home an ideal laptop for surfing the web, perform office tasks or enjoy multimedia content. For any low-end notebook (or very low, if we talk about these prices) it provides a great design, a robust and stable operating system and seamless integration with the digital ecosystem that has enchanted millions of people worldwide.
Like any other closed ecosystem (Mac users know much about this) Chrome OS has many advantages, but also some handicaps that should be noted before ending this article: Google’s dependence is absolute (including issues related to privacy), the physical storage is still scarce (it is almost mandatory to go for the cloud) and the applications offers, though it has improved, it is still far from what the average user demands. In any case, it is a great alternative that we invite you to test, to know whether Google Chrome is your greatest ally for work and leisure.