Back in the fall of 2019, HP unveiled a few new Chromebooks in the x360 line and, if I’m honest, the ones that quickly became available were a bit of a bore. They took design queues directly from the existing (and fantastic) x360 14, but put in worse screens, worse build quality, and worse internals. Not exactly the kind of new Chromebook announcement anyone gets very excited about.
Adjacent to those releases was the addition of a 12-inch x360 model in the 12b and it was immediately appealing. It’s 3:2 screen, convertible nature, and USI pen support made it a device that easily became the highlight of HP’s product announcement. While the larger, cheaper 14-inch x360 14b models started showing up within weeks of the announcement, the 12b wasn’t as readily available. As the end of the year approached, we didn’t see much about it and in the Q4 holiday hustle, it basically just slipped from our collective awareness.
A couple weeks ago, HP reached out with an offer to send over a review unit and we were obviously excited to get our hands on this device that we’d kinda forgotten about. With a handful of unique features and a baseline processor that has proven itself in the Celeron N4000, we were pretty excited to get this thing out of the box when it showed up.
And first impressions are all quite good. There’s a mix of aluminum with a plastic bottom, a full-sized keyboard with great feel, a generous trackpad with a solid click, great port selection, a nice-looking screen, and USI pen support on board for $359. There was also a surprise in the box as well in the form of an HP USI stylus! We’ve been on the lookout for one of these to go on sale and I didn’t expect to find one in the box, but there it was! HP says this stylus will sell for $59 and won’t come in the box, but we’re excited to try it out. It also magnetically clasps to the side of the device for safe keeping, too, so it’s safe to say I’m impressed with the pen offering thus far.
We have some testing to do, obviously, and I think $359 is a tad bit steep for a Chromebook with these internals, but I’m keeping an open mind. With Chromebooks on sale left and right for this sort of money, it becomes quite difficult to recommend quickly at this price; but after using it for a bit, we’ll see what our conclusions on its long-term value end up being. We’re not seeing any upgraded versions around, so it seems like the N4000 with 4GB of RAM and 32GB (ouch) of internal storage are all we get in this one. Let the review process begin!