HP Chromebook 14 Australian Review: Breaking The Bank


We love Chromebooks, but the formula for a cheap computer for the masses needs to be just right before it can be classified as great. Unfortunately, the HP Chromebook 14 seems to miss that mark.

What Is It?

A Chromebook from HP with a 14-inch 1366x768 panel. It's also packing an Intel Celeron 2955U processor, dual-band Wi-Fi with support for N connections, two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port and Bluetooth 4.0.

You also get 100GB of bonus Google Drive storage for a year included for free.

What's Good?

This is a tough one, because outside of the Chrome OS platform, we can't find a whole lot to love about the HP Chromebook 14.

Sure, it's cute to look at with its pretty white lid, perforated design and coloured accents, but it's also heavy and thick at the same time.

It runs quickly thanks to its specs, but you're not exactly playing Crysis on Chromebooks, so that benefit is almost irrelevant.

It's nice to see Chromebooks keeping up with high-end laptops when it comes to connectivity, though. With two USB 3.0 ports, dual-band Wi-Fi, an HDMI port and Bluetooth 4.0, you'll find almost as much connectivity as you would on a high-end laptop.

The trackpad is also nice to use, and the battery goes for around nine to 10 hours with moderate use.

The best thing we can say about the device is the free stuff you get with it. 100GB of Drive storage and 60-days of free Google Play music is pretty sweet no matter which device you use it on.

What's Bad?

The Chromebook is meant to be for everyone: a lightweight and portable device that sells cheaply to bring cut-price computing to the masses. It can be your second computer, a computer for a child or grandparent, or even just something you stick in your bag to travel with. Sadly, we can't recommend you do many of these things with the HP Chromebook 14.

It's too big and heavy to really take anywhere, it feels too large to use as a couch-surfing device, and it feels cumbersome in general and way outside the design brief of what a Chromebook should be.

Actually, it might be good as a device for your kids or grandparents to keep fixed on a desk. We'll give it that.

The 14-inch panel runs a resolution of 1366x768, and it looks decidedly average with this much real estate. It's the same resolution panel as an 11-inch MacBook Air, and even then that doesn't look so hot at that size. The Chromebook 14 from HP suffers from a fairly dim panel too.

The Worst Part

It's waaaay too expensive for what it is. At $400, you can get a laptop running Windows from the likes of Acer, Asus and even HP itself which will do far more for your productivity than a Chromebook ever could.

Unless it’s the Pixel, no Chromebook should exceed that $400 price ceiling. It just doesn’t do enough to justify that cost when you can get a fully-fledged laptop for the same price.

Should You Buy It?

If you're in the market for a Chromebook, we'd advise you skip the 14 from HP unless you're truly desperate for a bigger screen on your second computer. Instead, we'd recommend going for the new HP Chromebook 11 which is cheaper, lighter, better looking and packs pretty much the same screen resolution and specs.


Comments

    I have worked with Technology for more years than I wish to think about and I think you have missed the point of ChromeBooks. They are not designed for high end users who what to keep paying for corporate software from the like of Microsoft and Apple. The purpose is to give a user the ability to create word processed documents, spreadsheets presentations and many more applications for FREE. The functionalist of the Google Apps is great for the average user with access any where any time to all you data, YouTube etc. Your point about cost is interesting yes you can by a low end laptop for similar money, but the quality is not the same, the battery life will be woeful in comparison. Also the HP 14 comes with 2 years free 3G Data of up to 250 meg a month. Its a bargain really! I manage a computing dept within a FE college and use one of these all day every day and I personally think they are brilliant, its about the right tool for the right job, sure if you want to keep using MS Office play games or do high end computing then no its not the correct tool.

    Since when is $400 for a laptop expensive? Compared to a lot of the other chromebooks out there this is a beast.

      Well it's not really a laptop, is it? A Chromebook is a glorified browser. If it was $200 I'd gladly snap one up, but $400 is ridiculous.

        Myself and my boyfriend got a Chromebook 14 for $200 each brand new (instead of $500), thanks to our local Harvey Norman closing down. I would not have paid any more than $200 for it as it's more of a secondary computer for me and replacing my tablet as it's easier to type essays/assignments in comparison to my tablet. The only annoying thing was that the store told me we got a black and turquoise one (there's actually no black one) and took it home to find a coral and turquoise one.

        Was contemplating whether to get a Chromebook or a Galaxy Tab (for $220) and glad I went for the Chromebook. So much better as an "in-between" computer and haven't touched my tablet (Motorola Xoom) since buying it. I do agree that the perfect audience for the Chromebook would be people that don't require the use of a Microsoft or Apple package and just want something for browsing the web and basic word processing (all in which could be done on a tablet, but easier on a basic laptop).

        ... And on some days when I'm just doing web browsing or typing, if I turn the brightness down I can get around 14h out of the battery.

    "Instead, we’d recommend going for the new HP Chromebook 11 which is cheaper..."
    According to your review of the HP Chromebook 11, it costs $399:
    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/02/hp-chromebook-11-review-cheap-and-cheerful/
    So yes, it is cheaper, but only by $1.

    This article is laughable. Completely missed the mark on what a chrome book is. Also to suggest the HP chromebook 11 over the 14 is asinine, as your giving up 4-5 hours of battery life, as well as having a computer with LAST years technology. If you want an 11 inch on the cheap, go with Acer. Otherwise, the HP 14 is all around better (same specs, better design, much better keyboard and trackpad,bigger screen) but with a larger price tag.

      "Also to suggest the HP chromebook 11 over the 14 is asinine, as your giving up 4-5 hours of battery life, as well as having a computer with LAST years technology."
      But it's an entire $1 cheaper!

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