The HP Chromebook 14 might just be your entry into the world of Chromebooks. It’s easy to ignore this relatively new category of laptop. The idea behind them is not all that complicated: a laptop with a lightweight and streamlined operating system that focuses on getting you connected. Your work, play, and everything else is either through a browser or apps that need that internet connection to function. It’s a fun, novel idea that is not for everyone.
With its collection of features and decent performance, the HP Chromebook 14 might make you convert, however. If you need something that won’t break the bank, will get you online, and help you keep up to date on your emails, then this device is perfect for you. Add to that, a wonderful, bright 14-inch display with an excellent trackpad and keyboard makes this laptop a winner.
Of course, it’s not a perfect machine. But the HP Chromebook 14 is a solid performer for those who just need the basics. This is not going to replace your heavy-duty laptop if you’re running complex or power-hungry apps or games. But if you just want to do some basic work, keep up with emails, and stay connected, then the HP Chromebook 14, at $199 (about £230, AU$500) is worth a look.
Luckily, the HP Chromebook 14 is going to be even cheaper on both Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday. We recommend waiting until then to hit that buy button. Amazon Prime Day is on October 13 and Black Friday rolls around at the end of November, so you won’t have to wait for long.
HP’s Chromebook isn’t exactly a high-end PC, but it’s a slick, streamlined piece of kit nonetheless. The tapered enclosure measures 0.7 inches (about 18mm) thick at its thickest point. At 3.74 pounds (1.7kg), it’s also reasonably light, though not as much as the 13.3-inch, 2.97-pound Toshiba Chromebook 2. That extra weight gives you a slightly larger screen, though, and the Chromebook 14 doesn’t feel at all heavy in hand.
The case itself is entirely plastic, and it does flex and creak some as you adjust the screen or pick it up one-handed. On the bright side, the case doesn’t have any exposed screws, so you don’t need to worry about a loose screen dropping out randomly.
Oh. And it’s blue. Very blue. Like, swimming-pool blue. The shade of blue, which HP calls Sky Blue, looks cool, but it isn’t for everyone. A white keyboard and lid offsets all the vibrant blue, though it makes our Chromebook 14 review unit the PC equivalent of a Smurf. (Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on your taste in 1980s cartoons).
Plenty of ports
You’ll find no shortage of inputs on the Chromebook 14. The left edge features an HDMI-out port, a security lock slot, a USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot. Along the right, you’ll find the power connector and two USB 2.0 ports. Ideally, I would have loved if all three USB ports supported USB 3.0, but there’s plenty of connectivity for most users.
Stellar keyboard and trackpad
As a writer, I’m picky when it comes to keyboards, and I was pleasantly surprised by the typing experience on the Chromebook 14. The keyboard feels responsive with clicky keys and plenty of key travel.
The keyboard flexes ever so slightly when I pound heavily on it, but under normal use, it isn’t mushy at all. My gripe is there’s no dedicated Caps Lock key; a Search key takes its place and must be triggered while holding the alt key. It isn’t a big deal, but it makes it more difficult to impulsively tweet in all caps.
The trackpad is equally excellent. It’s big and spacious, with plenty of room to mouse around. The whole trackpad is a button, so you don’t have to fiddle around to find the left- and right-click buttons.
The button itself depresses with a satisfying click, but it’s much stiffer the closer to the keyboard you go. If you’re accustomed to the trackpad on, say, a MacBook Air, you’ll feel right at home on the Chromebook 14.