• HP's new Chromebook x360 14 G1. Valentina Palladino
  • It has a full-sized backlit keyboard and a front-facing webcam sitting above the display. Valentina Palladino
  • It's a business convertible aimed at professionals who need Chrome OS and various configurations to suit their needs. Valentina Palladino
  • One side has a lock slot, one USB-C port, and one USB-A port. Valentina Palladino
  • The other side has a headphone jack, one more USB-C port, and a microSD card reader. Valentina Palladino

HP is the latest manufacturer to make an elite Chromebook with more power than most users probably need. The new HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 debuted ahead of the start of CES today. It's a premium Chromebook designed for commercial customers, and, indirectly, it was designed to compete with high-end devices from Dell, Lenovo, and others.

While not as flashy as Spectre laptops, the Chromebook x360 14 G1 sports an all-metal design that's akin to the Elitebook series. At 16mm thick and 3.7 pounds, HP didn't make this Chromebook as premium as it could have, but the design is suitable for business users and anyone who wants a generally nicer-looking Chromebook.

Slim bezels hug its 14-inch FHD touchscreen, while the top and bottom bezels are both slightly larger. HP included a front-facing webcam above the display as well as a full-sized backlit keyboard—both are features we take for granted on Ultrabooks and other laptops, but they aren't totally standard on Chromebooks. Business users will likely need both, so including them was a smart choice on HP's part.

Much like other high-end Chromebooks, HP's new convertible shows its premium nature in its available specs. Users can outfit it with Intel Pentium or Core i3, i5, or i7 CPUs as well as up to 16GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Even with the device running Chrome Enterprise, most users won't need this device to be specced out to the max. However, having options allows businesses to choose the configurations they feel are best for their employees, all while managing Chrome OS across all devices easily.

As far as ports go, the Chromebook x360 14 G1 includes two USB-C 3.1 ports, one USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 port, one microSD card slot, and one audio combo jack. HP claims the device will get up to 13 hours on a single charge as well.

I'm disappointed that HP didn't include a stylus with the Chromebook x360 14 G1. While it's not a requirement among premium Chromebooks like this, it's an extra perk that would have given this convertible an edge over others like the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 and the Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14.

  • The updated HP Chromebook 14 features AMD processors inside. Valentina Palladino
  • The design remains mostly plastic, fitting with its under-$300 price tag. Valentina Palladino
  • It has both USB-C and USB-A ports. Valentina Palladino
  • Like the Chromebook x360 14 G1, it also has a microSD card slot. Valentina Palladino
  • These will be the first AMD-powered Chromebooks, but it's unclear if customers will prefer them over their Intel-powered counterparts. Valentina Palladino

The new Chromebook x360 14 G1 adds to HP's family of 14-inch Chromebooks, and the company updated its more affordable Chromebook 14 with AMD processors, too. The new laptop still features a plastic design, but it's now fanless and includes AMD CPUs with integrated Radeon graphics.

HP boasts this as one of the first AMD Chromebooks (Acer technically debuted the first earlier today, the Acer Chromebook 315, as part of its CES product lineup), but it's unclear why the world needed one to begin with. In general, AMD processors are cheaper and promise more power efficiency, making them an understandable choice for low-cost, low-power laptops. HP cited the balance between price and performance that AMD processors offer, and it claims these CPU/GPU combinations will produce better graphics performance, thereby making the video editing and viewing experience better.

While it's certainly not a bad thing to have AMD Chromebooks available now, it's unclear if consumers will actively seek them out. Most customers who want a Chromebook in the same $269 price range of the new Chromebook 14 prioritize affordability over power, and many may not care which company made the processor inside their chosen Chromebook. I'm interested to test out the new Chromebook 14 regardless, to see if it offers any performance perks that Intel devices don't have or if its power efficiency claims translate to better battery life.

HP also gave its Spectre x360 15 a minor update, including an AMOLED display on the larger of its two elite convertibles. The AMOLED panel joins the 4K touch panel already available for the 15-inch convertible, giving users another option if they prefer the deep blacks and rich colors characteristic of an AMOLED display.

The new HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 will be available in January, but HP hasn't released pricing info yet. The HP Chromebook 14 with AMD processors will be available in January as well, starting at $269. The Spectre x360 15 with an AMOLED touchscreen will be available in Spring 2019.

Listing image by Valentina Palladino

Original Article

[contf] [contfnew]

Ars Technica

[contfnewc] [contfnewc]