HP launched the Chromebook x360 in India two months ago at a starting price of Rs 44,990. You can read our overview of it here. While I was quite very happy to see HP launch a Chromebook in the united states after an extended gap, I was admittedly more kicked about the merchandise it launched next. Just a couple of days after launching the Chromebook x360, HP launched the Chromebook 14 in India at a more accessible price of Rs 23,990 (updated price: Rs 22,990). And that’s specifically the laptop computer which I’m writing this review.

I was thrilled about the Chromebook 14 because I felt it had a substantial role to play in the Indian entry-level notebook market. You see, unlike typical Windows 10 laptops in the same cost range, the Chromebook 14 isn’t bogged down by heavy software or slow hard disks. It may have a piddly 4GB of RAM, but it’s not burdened by a weighty operating-system. In addition, it sports a slightly faster storage unit in the sort of a 64GB eMMC drive. This, I thought, should at least bring about faster web-only computing than running Chrome on an average Windows 10 laptop. Was I right? Let’s find out.

Performance
Our review unit came in the only configuration the Chromebook 14 comes in at this time: Intel Celeron N3350 Dual-core CPU, 4GB RAM, and 64GB eMMC flash storage. After weekly or two with the review unit, I was mostly happy with the performance of the Chromebook 14 despite the fact that I was left wanting more speed every once in awhile. With the tab count not exceeding twelve altogether across all virtual desktops, the review unit loaded each page in under five seconds. Some heavier pages (including Gmail) took a couple of seconds longer to load completely, but that delay could be chalked up to the low-cost Celeron chip inside. Playing videos on YouTube individually was no issue but multitasking with a video playing in the backdrop often resulted in audio tracks stutters.

Intel Celeron inside

Accessing common websites such as for example Google Docs, Sheets, Keep, Gmail, Netflix, YouTube, and OneNote Online was no significant problem unless multiple sites were being loaded simultaneously. The review unit was suitable to static focus on a single window, such as for example composing an extended document on Google Docs. Moving quickly in one tab/window to some other or simply clicking multiple links simultaneously often resulted in a short freeze or some stutter. A cold boot to the lock screen took approximately 11.46 seconds, and addressing the first Chrome tab from there took another 12.46 seconds, so that’s 23.93 seconds altogether.

This grade of response, if you ask me, is still much better than that observed on other Windows 10-powered budget laptops out there available in the market, like the new Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (read our overview of it here). I’m ready to guess the Chromebook 14 will outpace every average budget Windows 10 notebook computer out there with the next (or similar) specs: Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB RAM, 1TB hard disk drive spinning at 5,400 rpm. Put simply, if all you have to to accomplish is browse on Chrome lightly and perhaps watch a few videos without spending a lot more than Rs 23,000, the HP Chromebook 14 is your very best bet. It’s a device which you can on occasion check your email, watch a few videos individually, and video-call your loved kinds but that’s about any of it.

Battery
That is one distinct department where the Chromebook 14 excels with out a shadow of any doubt. During our daily tests, where in fact the screen is defined to 70 percent brightness, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth are enabled, and a USB mouse is connected, the review unit constantly lost about 7-10 percent every passing hour. During one particular test, there have been over twenty tabs open, among which played internet radio in the backdrop through USB headphones. After around three hours, the charge fell from 100 to 74 percent. A complete charge happened in about one . 5 hours. With that said, the Chromebook 14 is ideal for anyone attempting to work from the wall socket for approximately 8 or 9 hours continuously.

Expect 8 to 10 hours on battery

Display, Audio, and IO
The display on the Chromebook 14 is, obviously, a 14-inch WLED-backlit LCD touchscreen unit with a depressingly low resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Colours on the display appear beaten up and the viewing angles are severely limited. Overall, text appears grainy on the panel whichever font size you go with. The capacitive touch is effective but there’s no palm rejection available in case you opt to annotate. Fortunately, the panel doesn’t have problems with too much glare since it will not use a glass surface. If anything, I wish the Chromebook 14 was included with the option of a complete HD display.

The Chromebook 14, like its more costly Pavilion and Spectre cousins, confidently sports a Bang & Olufsen logo next to the single top-firing speaker strip on its keyboard island. However the sound that hails from the drivers inside simply doesn’t do justice compared to that long-standing Danish name. Popular titles, just like the Weeknd’s Starboy, sound absolutely flat across all frequencies. Lows specifically wrap up sounding muffled at max volume. There’s a good amount of distortion heard even in videos with only vocals in them, leaving the speaker strip best used for message alerts.

B&O badging is lost upon this device with flat audio

The Chromebook 14 doesn’t have a very wide selection of ports but gets the right stuff for USB mice and headphones. On the left side of its body, we visit a USB-A 3.1 port and a USB-C 3.1 port plus a Kensington lock slot. On the proper side, we see another USB-A 3.1 port, another USB-C 3.1 port, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio tracks jack for headsets. Because it’s built with HP’s Sleep and Charge technology, you need to use the USB-A ports to charge a smaller device, just like a smartphone, even though the notebook computer is turned off. Obviously, the notebook computer skips the fingerprint scanner.

Two USBs on the left…

…and two more on the proper

Keyboard and Touchpad
The keys on the Chromebook 14 are flat and totally unlit but offer satisfactory comfort and feedback while composing long emails and documents. They have decent travel but could did with a lttle bit more distance. What’s most annoying will be the empty clicks you hear from the hollow surface below while typing hard on the keys. Yes, the complete keyboard island is suffering from quite a lttle bit of panel flex even under normal typing pressure. Unlike the more costly Chromebook x360, the Chromebook 14 will not get yourself a dedicated lock key at the top row of its keyboard. Instead, it gets a power button, that you’ve to press and hold to have the Chromebook running. Summing things up, the keyboard on the Chromebook 14 is wonderful for everyday typing on a notebook computer of its price.

Decent keyboard + touchpad setup

The touchpad on the Chromebook 14 is really as good as the laptop’s keyboard. It’s functional and sufficiently comfortable but nothing to write home about. The accuracy of pointer movements is somewhere within that of a Windows 10-recognised precision unit (seen on famous brands the Asus VivoBook X403) and a non-precision unit (seen on famous brands the Lenovo IdeaPad S145). What doesn’t help increase the feedback may be the coarse plasticky surface of the touchpad. With that said, it’s still a decent touchpad for everyday use. Also, both click keys under the touchpad surface are fairly simple to press.

Build and Design
The outer cover of the Chromebook 14 is made from hard plastic, which lends these devices a strong and hardwearing look but also a perceptibly hollow feeling. This feeling of hollowness becomes apparent when you press down hard on the panels. The most notable cover sports a rough matte finish, which aids greatly in the user’s grip over it. Opening the lid in one side reveals adequate panel flex, which is common in laptops of the cost range. The Chromebook 14 sure appears like it can take the casual drop but we recommend you address it with ample care nonetheless.

Hard-wearing matte look on the grey top cover

Opening the rather tight lid reveals a 14-inch touchscreen panel with a semi-glossy finish. The bezels around the display are fairly thick on all sides, which gives these devices is a slightly dated look. The display hinge folds completely back again to 180 degrees, a convenience found rarely in laptops of the cost range. At 1.54 kilogrammes, these devices is very simple to take with you and doesn’t consume an excessive amount of space in an average laptop computer backpack. With that said, the Chromebook 14 is made and designed quite nicely for its price.

Bottom Line
The HP Chromebook 14 truly is a game-changer in the entry-level notebook computer market in that it offers the common user the freedom to browse and perform web-only tasks with a good amount of responsiveness in comparison with other Windows 10-powered models in its cost range. What’s more, it includes near ten hours of battery life on Wi-Fi. But there are a few apparent drawbacks: it isn’t very fast and it’s really shy to multitask, a thing that becomes evident when the tab count crosses eight or ten.

Who should buy the brand new HP Chromebook 14 then? Well, its ideal buyer is somebody who requires a responsive budget notebook computer limited to web-based activities, such as for example checking email, composing documents online, watching an intermittent YouTube video, etc. They have a well balanced broadband connection in the home and don’t care if indeed they miss out on usage of Microsoft Word, Visual Studio, Edge, Paint, and many more. They’re satisfied that their budget notebook doesn’t take a whole decade to start just one single new browser tab.