HP Pavilion Chromebook review
14 in 1,366x768 display, 1.8kg, 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847, 4.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Chrome OS
Until now, most Chromebooks have been around the size of a netbook. HP’s new Pavilion Chromebook, however, has a 14in screen and all the connectivity you’d expect from a regular laptop. A bigger screen means a higher price, though it’s still a bargain compared to Windows 8 laptops.
Its glossy black chassis looks similar to HP’s Pavilion series, but its largely plastic exterior has been reduced to 21mm in height. This makes it significantly thinner than the Budget Buy-winning Acer C7 Chromebook, and the result is a surprisingly attractive laptop. Its 1.8kg weight still makes it heavier than other Chromebooks we’ve seen, but it’s just as portable.
Of course, the Pavilion Chromebook’s main selling point is its 14in screen. It has an unremarkable 1,366x768 resolution, but we were pleased with its overall image quality. Colours could be richer and blacks a little deeper, but its contrast levels are great for a laptop at this price. We were able to pick out a high level of detail in all our high contrast test images and, although its glossy finish can be reflective at times, we could always tilt the screen to a comfortable position. Its viewing angles were good, too, and we only noticed a shift in contrast when the screen was tilted all the way back.
The Pavilion Chromebook really benefits from its larger keyboard. The extra space certainly makes working on the Pavilion Chromebook much easier for long periods of time, and its Chiclet-style keyboard makes typing comfortable. It’s by far our favourite Chromebook keyboard to date, as previous Chromebook keyboards have felt cramped and had certain keys placed in odd locations. Here, they’re all sensibly laid out with just the right amount of space between each key. The keys are flat, but provide lots of tactile feedback. We think it’s a much better keyboard than the Acer C7’s.
A row of media buttons runs along the top of the keyboard, and it also has two dedicated search keys. Tapping one lets you search the web without having to open a browser, and also provides access to your apps and widgets. You can pinpoint certain Google Docs and emails from your Gmail account too, as long as you’ve opened them on the Pavilion Chromebook before.
We liked its touchpad. It’s quite small, but was very responsive when moving our cursor around the screen. It supports a few multitouch gestures as well. We couldn’t use it to pinch-zoom, but two-finger scrolling worked perfectly.
Sitting above the keyboard is a pair of Altec Lansing speakers. No laptop speakers will ever compare to a set of dedicated speakers, but we were impressed with the overall sound quality. We could hear a fair amount of bass in our test tracks and we didn’t particularly feel the need to reach for a pair of headphones.