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HP Chromebook 14 Review

Submitted by on December 13, 2013 – 8:09 am

HP announced the Chromebook 14 back in September that launched in India in October at a price tag of Rs. 26,990. Unlike the HP Chromebook 11 that we reviewed recently, the Chromebook 14 has a larger screen, powered by a faster Intel processor and offers better battery life. Is the Chromebook worth the price? Let us find out in the complete review.

Hardware and Design

HP Chromebook 14-11

The HP Chromebook 14 has solid build quality. The first thing you notice about it its eye-catching design with curved edges. The top shell has a matte finish which gives you a rubberized feel. The snow white colored Chromebook gathers dirt easily that is clearly visible, making it look ugly if you don’t clean it often. The Chromebook 14  also comes in Ocean Turquoise and Peach Coral colors.

HP Chromebook 14-6

The 14-inch HD (1366×768 pixels) screen at a pixel density of 111 ppi is not very sharp and the viewing angles are not impressive as the Chromebook 11, but the display is bright and offers vibrant colors. Videos look just fine on the large display. Bezel around the display also has matte finish in a similar white color, matching the outer shell. There is also a HD webcam above the display along with a tiny microphone hole, which works well for hangouts. On the top and the right side of the bezel you have a thin rubber film that prevents the screen from getting scratched, when you close the lid.

HP Chromebook 14-7

The Chrome keyboard with chiclet keys is pretty good. The keyboard also has dedicated Chrome shortcuts, similar to the other Chromebooks . The trackpad is large to easily navigate, which registers clicks pretty well. You have a lot of gestures, including option to navigate through different tabs, just by scrolling horizontally on the trackpad with three fingers.

HP Chromebook 14-14

The 14-inch HP Chromebook 14 is large compared to the 11.6-inch HP Chromebook 11. As you can see in the above image, the matte finish give the Chromebook 14 a premium look, compared to the glossy plastic on the Chromebook 11. You miss the multi-colored LED bar though. In the Chromebook 14, you just have a HP logo and a Chrome logo on the top.

HP Chromebook 14-2

It is 20.57mm thick, bit thicker than the Chromebook 11. It has got a nice streamlined shape that gives it an elegant look. HP has done an awesome job in the design department.

HP Chromebook 14-10

It is quite heavy at 1.85 kilograms, which is disappointing. It could have been 500 grams lesser, since most of the Ultrabooks weigh around 1.3 kilograms.

HP Chromebook 14-3

The back is also white in color. Again, one of the big disadvantages of using the White colored Chromebook is that it gets dirty easily. Even though you have bushes on all the four corners, audio output from the dual speakers on the bottom corners doesn’t sound impressive.

HP Chromebook 14-4

Two large heat sinks on the top keeps the system cool. You don’t feel it very hot. It gets heated a little bit, just like the Chromebook 11. It hardly makes any noise since it doesn’t have a hard disk.

Software

HP Chromebook 14-5

We don’t have anything special to say about the software since it uses the same Chrome OS that is seen on all the other Chromebooks. It has built-in audio and video player to play most of the formats. The File manager lets you compress any folders. It doesn’t unzips .rar files, but actually mounts it as a drive, to copy contents from the folder to your drive. You can read more about the software and apps in my HP Chromebook 11 review here.

Performance

The latest Intel processor and some extra gigs of RAM really makes the difference. The 1.4 GHz dual-core 4th generation Intel Celeron 2955U CPU with Intel HD graphics and 4GB of RAM is much faster when you compare it with the HP Chromebook 11 that packs a 1.7 GHz dual-core Exynos 5250 processor with Mali-T604 GPU and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. The 11.6-inch HP Chromebook struggles to open over 25 browser tabs, but this can easily handle over 40 tabs without any lags. We even tried some HTML5 games such as Spelunky, which ran smoothly.

We ran some synthetic benchmark tests on the Chromebook. Since the Chromebook is based on Javascript, these are mostly JavaScript based. Since we had already reviewed the Chromebook 11, here are some browser-based benchmarks of the Chromebook 14 compared with the Chromebook 11 to show the difference.

Browsermark 2.0(Higher is better) SunSpider 1.0.2 (ms)(Lower is better) Kraken 1.1 (ms)(Lower is better) RIABench Focus-test JavaScript (ms)(Lower is better)
HP Chromebook 14 3885 338.9 2795.8 573
HP Chromebook 11 3026 692 5350.2 1019

Slots and Connectivity

HP Chromebook 14-8

The best part of the Chromebook 14 is the full-sized HDMI slot. I have been using the Chromebook as my main work PC for the past one week by connecting it to a 1080p monitor, and it gets my work done. Chromebook has Docked Mode that keeps it ON even when the lid is closed once you connect it an external display. You can also mirror the Chromebook’s view to an external display. You can also take the audio out from the monitor to route the Chromebook audio to an external speaker. Since it has 3 USB slot, I have connected my standard PC Keyboard and Mouse to the Chromebook to use it as a full-fledged PC. Two USB slots next to the HDMI are USB 3.0 variant . You also have a microphone/headphone combo to connect your headphones. There is also a tiny LED power light next to it.

HP Chromebook 14-9

There is a memory card slot on the other side, along with a USB 2.0 slot. It supports WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (Dual Band 2.4 GHz and 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.0 similar to latest Chromebooks. Even though this lack built-in 3G support, Google has partnered with Airtel to offer 3G and 4G dongles with bundled data plans. Unlike the Chromebook 11, this uses a proprietary charger. There is a charger indicator LED which glows white when the battery is full, and glow orange when it is charging.

Battery life

HP Chromebook 14-13

Our review unit came with two chargers. The 12V-5Amps Chrome charger is compact.

HP Chromebook 14-12

But the larger 19.5v-3.33 HP charger charges the Chromebook much faster with its power output of 65W. HP promises up to 9.5 hours of battery life with its 50Wh built-in battery. We got about to 7.5 to 8 hours of battery life with mixed use including video playback, YouTube streaming, browsing and some online gaming before the Chromebook ran out of juice.

Conclusion

At a price tag of Rs. 26,990, the HP Chromebook 14 is definitely a well-built large-screen laptop from HP running Chrome OS, but it is costly compared to other Ultrabooks running on Windows. Even though you get 100 GB Google Drive Cloud Storage free for 2 years, 16GB SSD is limited, out of which you get just 9GB of storage. Even though this comes with a powerful Intel Celeron chip, it doesn’t get any demanding tasks such as photo or video editing done offline. 14-inch Chomebooks needs to get much cheaper in near future, since most people would obviously go for a Windows-based Laptops or Ultrabooks that lie in a similar price range.

Pros

  • Comfortable Keyboard and Trackpad
  • Full HDMI out
  • Decent battery life
  • Good performance

Cons

  • Average display
  • Bit heavy
  • Expensive
  • Loudspeaker output could be better

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