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HP Chromebook 15 review: Good looks, weak performance

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £399
inc VAT

A big-screen beauty, but HP needs to offer more if it wants to outclass Lenovo’s Yoga rival


  • Sharp 1,920 x 1,080 display
  • Large keyboard surface


  • Sub-par sound quality
  • Weak brightness and contrast

HP’s Chromebooks tend to fall into two camps. In one, you get smart, innovative, class-leading laptops like the muchloved Chromebook 13 G1 and hybrid Chromebook X2. In the other, HP offers cost-conscious models that don’t score so well on design or performance but deliver on value. HP’s latest model, the Chromebook 15, falls between the two.

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HP Chromebook 15 review: Design

It’s nicely designed: our model came in a fetching two-tone ink-blue and white finish, with a tough anodised aluminium chassis and what HP calls a ceramic-feel plastic lid. It’s just 18mm thick when closed and weighs only 1.8kg. Its standout feature, though, is the (non-touch) 15.6in IPS screen. Thanks to the tiny side bezels, it looks huge, and while you’ll find higher-end Chromebooks with more pixels per inch, the 1,920 x 1080 resolution is more than sharp enough at this screen size.

READ NEXT: HP Chromebook 14 review

HP Chromebook 15 review: Keyboard and touchpad

HP hasn’t fluffed the ergonomics, either. You get a full-sized keyboard complete with a numeric pad, and it’s fine in use, with large, flat-topped keys, a sensible layout with goodsized Shift and Ctrl keys, and a usable cursor set. The page navigation keys and Delete key are also handy when editing long documents. What’s more, the touchpad is a whopper at 12cm wide, if only 6.4cm deep, and has a responsive, smooth surface.

Connectivity is standard for a modern Chromebook, with one USB-C port and one USB-A 3.1 on either side, along with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.

HP Chromebook 15 review: Display

It’s not all good news, though. In our tests, the screen only covered 63.3% of the SRGB gamut, while brightness topped out at 237cd/m2. Put it too near a window and there’s not enough brightness and contrast to make it visible. Don’t expect too much from the sound, either. Despite HP’s usual B&O branding, it’s brash, muddled and congested, getting worse as you push the volume higher.

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HP Chromebook 15 review: Verdict

In terms of battery life, the HP bowed out after 6hrs 21mins of video playback, just behind the 15.6in Lenovo Yoga. However, where the Lenovo has the excuse of a full-bore Core i5 CPU, the HP has a lightweight Pentium 4415U, with two cores running four threads at a base speed of 2.3GHz. It’s a mid-range processor and performance matches, with the HP coming in above the Celeronbased competition but below those with Intel Core CPUs. Higher-spec versions of the Chromebook 15 are on their way, and at £399 it’s still good value, but we prefer the Yoga C630.

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