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HP Chromebook 14 review (2016) – still a great Chromebook

HP Chromebook 14 (2016) front angle
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 229
inc VAT

The latest Chromebook 14 builds on its predecessor in all the right ways, but its mediocre display is still a sticking point

Specifications

Processor: Dual-core 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840, RAM: 4GB, Dimensions: 344x240x17.8mm, Weight: 1.69kg, Screen size: 14.1in, Screen resolution: 1,366×768, Graphics adaptor: Intel HD Graphics, Total storage: 16GB eMMC

HP
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Performance, Battery Life & Connections

Internally, the HP Chromebook 14 has been completely revamped to better reflect today’s modern hardware. It still has one of Intel’s Celeron chips, but it now has a dual-core N2840 model that runs at 2.16GHz and can Turbo Boost to 2.58GHz. This is quite a bump up from the old 2955U Celeron processor in the original Chromebook 14 that only ran at 1.4GHz.

The amount of RAM remains unchanged at 4GB, though, and you still only have 16GB of internal storage. Luckily, there is a microSD card slot to give you even more room, but (as with all Chromebooks) you’ll largely be reliant on using cloud-based storage for most of your files. You do, however, get two years’ worth of 100GB Google Drive storage bundled in.

HP Chromebook 14 (2016) ports

As Chrome OS is such a lightweight operating system, it doesn’t require a particularly high-powered specification to get the most out of it. A JetStream score of 52.9 was good, but a rather mediocre 10fps in the WebGL 3D Cubes benchmark was less than half of the Acer Chromebook R11, which is disappointing considering the Chromebook 14 has a faster processor and double the amount of RAM.

A SunSpider benchmark score of 585.5ms isn’t the greatest, either, but subjectively, web browsing felt responsive and reasonably quick for the most part. Only after opening several tabs did pages start to chug, but once they did eventually load, even image-heavy pages scrolled without any hiccups. 

HP Chromebook 14 (2016) front

Battery life at 9 hours 14 minutes puts it around the same level as the previous Chromebook 14, which, needless to say, is still very good. That’s more than enough to get you through a full day’s use, especially since Chromebooks are generally used for lighter tasks than their full laptop counterparts.

That’s not to say Chromebooks can’t be used for anything more taxing than web browsing, as the Chromebook 14 proved surprisingly capable for consuming media as well. There’s plenty of USB ports for connecting external devices, with two USB2 and a single USB3 port, and an HDMI output lets you connect it to an external display as well. The built-in speakers performed well, too, and were good enough to watch films on Netflix. If you want to listen to music, however, you’re better off using the headphone jack. 

Display

The display was one of the more lacklustre elements of the last Chromebook 14, but sadly the new model doesn’t fare much better. It’s got the same 14.1in, 1,366×768 resolution display as the last Chromebook 14, and it achieved almost identical scores in our calibration tests as well, suggesting HP might well have resorted to simply using the same panel.

For instance, black levels were once again exceedingly high at 0.82cd/m2, meaning shadows appear grey and washed out rather than dark and inky. White levels were respectable at least, but a contrast ratio of just 291:1 leaves a lot to be desired. Admittedly, the new Chromebook 14’s colour accuracy was marginally better this time round at 64.6% of the sRGB colour gamut, but it’s still not particularly rich or vibrant. All this is pretty par for course with an entry-level Chromebook, though, and the display’s matt finish also helps to combat overhead reflections, too.   

Conclusion

The HP Chromebook 14 builds upon a lot of things I liked about the old model. It’s still great value for what you’re getting in terms of build quality and general performance, and if you’re looking for a general, all-round performer for Chrome OS, then this will definitely serve you well. It’s definitely one of the best 14in Chromebooks I’ve reviewed recently, but if you’re looking for something a little smaller, or a device that serves double-duties as a 2-in-1, then you’ll probably be better off opting for the Acer Chromebook R11. Alternatively, have a look at our list of the Best Chromebooks.

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Core specs
ProcessorDual-core 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840
RAM4GB
Memory slots (free)N/A
Max memory4GB
Dimensions344x240x17.8mm
Weight1.69kg
Sound3.5mm headset port
Pointing deviceTouchpad
Display
Screen size14.1in
Screen resolution1,366×768
TouchscreenNo
Graphics adaptorIntel HD Graphics
Graphics outputsHDMI
Graphics memoryIntegrated
Storage
Total storage16GB eMMC
Optical drive typeNone
Ports and expansion
USB ports1x USB3, 2x USB2
Bluetooth4/0
Networking802.11ac Wi-Fi
Memory card readermicroSD
Other portsNone
Miscellaneous
Operating systemChrome OS
Operating system restore optionChrome OS Power Wash
Buying information
Parts and labour warrantyOne year RTB
Price inc VAT£229
Detailsstore.hp.com
Supplierstore.hp.com
Part numberChromebook 14-ak003na

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