The Bottom Line
Feb 10 2014 - HP's Chromebook 14 certainly solves a number of problems that plagued its Chromebook 11 thanks to faster processor, USB 3.0, HDMI and SD card slots. Much of this is attributed to the larger size afforded by its 14-inch display which is also is worst feature as it provides less color, brightness and viewing angles while having the same resolution as the smaller model. Those looking for very long running times will be pleased even if it does mean carrying around a four pound laptop. Having a 4G wireless connectivity is also very useful for when there is no Wi-Fi but do expect to have to pay data charges as the data limit is quite low with T-Mobile's free offer.
- Features Ports Missing on HP Chromebook 11
- Very Long Running Times
- 4G Wireless Capabilities
- Larger Display Is Not As Good As 11-inch Chromebook
- Heavy Compared to Tablets and Ultrabooks
- Could Have Used Larger Keyboard
- Intel Celeron 2955U Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 16GB Solid State Drive
- 14" WXGA (1366x768) Display With VGA Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 Integrated Graphics
- 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth, 4G LTE WWAN
- Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 13.6" x 9.4" x .81" @ 4.07 lbs.
- Chrome OS
Review - HP Chromebook 14 WWAN 4G
Feb 10 2014 - Chromebooks typically are smaller systems akin to older netbooks than traditional laptops but HP is going bigger with the Chromebook 14. Due to the added dimensions of its larger screen, the system feels much more like a laptop than other Chromebooks. The downside is that it is much less portable due to its added bulk being thicker at .81-inch thick and weighing over four pounds which is heavier than many ultrabooks. It still uses a non-traditional color scheme by being available in white and a few other colors rather than the traditional grays or blacks. Unlike the plastic exterior of the 11-inch model, this one features a more rubber like texture that provides it with a much easier to hold surface.
Rather than using an ARM based processor like it did with the Chromebook 11, HP decided to use an Intel Celeron 2995U dual core processor. This provides it with much better performance than the ARM based models and was apparent in booting up the system, loading applications and doing more demanding tasks. This is also helped by the fact that HP has included 4GB of DDR3 memory rather than the traditional 2GB of most Chromebooks so it is less memory dependent.
Storage for the HP Chromebook 14 is similar to most Chromebooks as it features just 16GB of solid state storage of which users get around 10GB of space. Instead, users really need to rely on Google Drive for cloud based storage of their files. The big difference here is that the larger Chromebook 14 does not have the same limitations as the Chromebook 11. There are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage drives which is more than the single you get on other Chromebooks. In addition to this, it does have an SD compatible media card slot for quick and easy addition of low cost storage.
Of course the 14-inch display is probably the primary reason that many people are going to look at the HP Chomebook 14 over the standard 11-inch models. This is the largest display currently available for a Chromebook, even bigger than the Google Chromebook Pixel. The downside here is that it still uses the same 1366x768 display resolution as the smaller Chromebooks which means it doesn't have as refined as a picture. Sadly, the biggest screen does not bring with it better color or brightness levels. In fact, the Chromebook 11 is better in both of those plus viewing angles. This is something that HP will want to address even if it does mean increasing the cost of it.
Another difference with the HP Chromebook 14 4G version is the inclusion of an LTE wireless wide area networking built into the system. This allows the use of wireless internet services such as through T-Mobile's wireless networks when Wi-Fi networking is not available. This is a very valuable feature as Chrome OS is very reliant upon being always connected. The downside is that you will have to probably pay for 4G wireless services. T-Mobile only provides 200MB for free through their offer which can quickly be used up using a Chromebook.
They keyboard is pretty much the same size and design as that found in the Chromebook 11. This is good in the fact that the keyboard was comfortable and offered little flex. The downside is that it still is relatively small for those that tend to have larger fingers. it would have been nice to see a larger keyboard but this was probably done to keep costs lower. The trackpad size did significantly improve and for the better. It offers the same level of accuracy but the integrated button clicks smoother than the 11-inch Chromebook version.
With the larger dimensions, HP is also able to put a larger 51WHr battery pack into the Chromebook 14. HP does not give an estimated running time for the laptop but in digital video playback tests, it was able to run for eight and a half hours before shutting down. This is the longest lasting out of any of the Chromebook models on the market and even tops the Google Chromebook Pixel that runs for just half the time with an even larger battery pack. This is certainly an all-day capable Chromebook and rates up there with Android tablets for running time but still less than 10-inch tablets that are smaller.
Pricing for the HP Chromebook 14 with the 4G LTE is priced around $349. This puts it less than most budget class Windows laptops but still on the expensive end for a Chromebook. Thankfully hte cost is not much more than the Chromebook 11 as the extra ports and features certainly make up the cost difference. The primary competitor for this would have been the Samsung Chromebook that featured 3G WWAN connectivity but this model seems to have been discontinued. In terms of performance and features, the Acer C720 is closest with the same Celeron processor and USB 3.0 ports but it is much more affordable at just $200. It may be smaller but offer less running time and less memory.