HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook review
- Plenty of connectivity
- Speedy browsing
- Fast boot up
- Dull, uninspiring design
- Low-resolution display
- Battery life
Google's affordable, web-based Chromebook has yet to venture out of 12-inch screen territory until now as HP enters the Google-running laptop fray for the first time with the HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook.
The new model is priced slightly higher than the Acer C7, the nifty Samsung Series 3 and the Google Chromebook Pixel, but are the extra couple of inches enough to make this stand out from the Chromebook crowd and make it a more desirable investment?
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook: Size and build
If the Google Chromebook Pixel is the notebook that other Chromebooks should be measured by in the design stakes, the Pavilion would feature quite low in comparison.
It lacks the svelte aluminium aesthetics of the Pixel, opting for a more serious look with its lightly glossed black plastic chassis, which isn't in danger of being nominated for a T3 Design of the Year award any time soon.
When you lift the lid you'll find a chiclet-style keyboard, which looks not too dissimilar to the kind of typing domain we've seen on previous Chromebook offerings, which means it delivers similar levels of comfort and travel for long periods of key tapping.
The trackpad has a dimpled design that does offer nice traction but can feel a little rough under the finger.
There are plenty of onboard connections located on either side of the body with three USB 2.0 ports in total, a HDMI port, Ethernet, SD card reader and a headphone/mic jack.
On the storage front there's a 16GB solid-state drive, which HP claims helps the faster loading times and is backed up by 100GB of free storage via Google Drive for two years.
At just 20mm thick and weighing in at 1,800g, the extra couple of display inches does make the Pavilion 14 feel like a much heavier prospect to carry around in a rucksack, despite maintaining a relatively slender form factor.
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook: Screen
So what do you get for the extra inches? Well, the 14-inch BrightView LED Backlit HD display musters up the same 1366x768 screen resolution as the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, which falls some way behind the £1,000 Pixel.
Clarity levels are far from jaw-dropping, but it does offer a suitable viewing environment for everyday tasks. Viewing angles are decent for watching video, which can be affected by some glare and in terms of vibrancy there are tablets that can do a much better job.
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook: Apps
Nothing has drastically changed on the Chrome Web Store front with more apps making the transition from Google Play and now Google+ integration means you can now see recommendations from people in your circles.
There are still only a select few Google apps that have any use in offline mode and despite having an HD webcam that does deliver great viewing in low lighting just as HP claims, there is still no sign of a Skype app on the Store.
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook: Performance
Booting up in a matter of seconds, the Pavilion 14 is also a quick worker establishing a Wi-Fi connection and turns on instantly when in sleep mode. Powered by a dualcore Intel Celeron 847 processor with Intel HD Graphics it's more than suitable to handle general web browsing, running apps like Google Drive and playing browser-based games.
The 2GB of RAM means it can handle multitasking similarly to the Acer C7 and the Samsung Series 3 resulting in some signs of strain when you have several demanding services running at once, but generally it does a good job if you've gone a bit tab happy.
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook: Battery
The Pavilion offers a not so impressive 4 hours 15 minutes, which is less than the Pixel and significantly less than the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook.
For general use browsing the web, using the Google Drive word processor and watching YouTube videos it more than meets that battery life claim but does mean keeping hold of that power adaptor if you plan to use it through the day.
When we streamed HD film content from Netflix on full charge, within an hour the power was down to just a single hour of battery, so if you are planning to use it for that, you might be disappointed.
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook: Verdict
The HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook - which has a slightly higher price tag than most of its Google OS-running compatriots - manages to carry out the everyday computing tasks, but simply doesn't have anything in the specs and performance department that makes it a better option.
Yes, the screen is bigger which might appeal to some who are intrigued by the prospect of cloud-based computing and want something more multimedia-friendly, but the extra screen estate does not mask the poor battery life, the uninspiring design and the fact that it is less portable than other Chromebooks.
Quite simply, there's not enough that stands out with the HP Pavilion 14 to warrant the investment.
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook release date: Out now
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook Price: £250