In early May, HP launched a pair of Comet Lake-powered Chrome OS devices that appear to offer everything a discerning Chromebook user could want. The convertible HP Chromebook c1030 features the best screen-to-body ratio of any device on the market, a webcam privacy shade switch, HP Sure View Reflect privacy screen filter (segment-first), biometrics and an optional eye-blistering 1,000 nit display. As exciting and beautiful as this device is, most consumers will never lay a hand on one. Yes, you will be able to purchase one directly from HP but not a lot of shoppers are ready to drop upwards of $2,000 for a Chromebook. That’s especially true when you have devices such as the Samsung Galaxy or ASUS C436 Chromebooks that come in under a grand. Not to mention, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 that offers most of the flagship features we want and is priced at a modest $409.
Thankfully, HP took note of the success that the original Chromebook x360 14 rightfully enjoyed and today, the company has unveiled a true successor to the 14″ convertible that had so much to offer. HP has pushed out a handful of new variants of the HP 14 but none of those devices come close to the original, Core i3/8GB convertible that the company launched nearly two years ago. It was the perfect blend of premium build quality and internals. Thanks to frequent discounts, the x360 14 quickly became the must-have flagship device of 2019. Fast forward and HP’s newest x360 14 builds on most of what was great about the OG convertible and it will be available at Best Buy and HP.com this month. Let’s take a closer look at the HP Chromebook x360 14c.
For now, HP is launching a Pentium Gold and a Core i3-10110 version of the x360 14c with a Core i5 model coming at a later, undisclosed date. Both of the models being released this month appear to have the same features with the only discernible differences being the processors and amount of RAM. The lesser model will house 4GB of RAM and is powered by the Intel Pentium Gold 6405U Processor from the Comet Lake family. The more powerful version will use the same Core i3-10110 found in the Lenovo Flex 5 and is matched with a very desirable 8GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM. This combination, as we saw with the original x360 14, is the sweet spot for Chrome OS and will handle just about anything you can throw at it.
Improving on the original Chromebook x360 14, HP’s latest model will feature biometrics in the form of a fingerprint sensor directly below the arrow keys where a fingerprint sensor belongs. The speaker grills have moved as well. HP has defaulted in the past to a single, device-wide speaker grill above the function keys. Instead, the x360 14c now features upward-firing speakers on either side of the keyboard. As usual, they are branded Bang & Olufsen. That has failed to impress on previous devices but perhaps this time, HP has made some audio upgrades. If anything, there will be better stereo separation.
Apart from that, the HP Chromebook x360c 14 slims down the bezels a bit with an 88% screen-to-body ratio. That’s not the slimmest bezels available but it’s really close. The only disappointing thing I see thus far is that this display is rated at 250 nits. With the Lenovo Flex 5 pushing 300, this is a swing and a miss on HP’s part. Anyway, here’s the full breakdown of the new HP Chromebook x360 14. HP has also added a privacy shutter to the webcam that is activated via a switch on the side just like the enterprise 1030c model. We’ll get our hands on the Chromebook x360 14c ASAP to bring you our full review. The Pentium model will come in at $499 while the Core i3/8GB model is priced at $629 and is available now from Best Buy.
- Chrome OS
- Intel Comet Lake CPU Pentium Gold 6405U/Core i3-10110U
- 4GB/8GB RAM
- 64GB eMMC storage
- 14″ 1920 x 1080 FHD IPS touch display @ 250 nits
- upward-firing stereo speaker by B&O
- Full-size backlit island keyboard
- webcam with privacy shade/switch
- 2 x USB-C, 1 x USB-A, MicroSD and 3.5mm audio jack
- Metal lid and keyboard deck in Mineral Grey with sandblasted finish
- Fingerprint reader
- Wi-fi 6 and Bluetooth 5
- Android and Linux app support
- 3.64 lbs
- AUE: June 2028*
In other news…
As promising that the new Chromebook x360 14c may be, HP launched a second device that makes absolutely no sense to me. When I looked at the press release, I presume that the budget-centric Chromebook 11a would be HP’s rendition of the recently unveiled Chromebook 3 from Lenovo. It is an 11.6″ clamshell with chunky bezels, minimalistic design and basic specs. However, unlike the Lenovo 3 that is powered by the very capable Gemini Lake-R processor, HP has opted for the much older N3350 Apollo Lake chipset that honestly, needs to just go away. Anyway, the bigger issue is the price. We’re talking about a plastic, 4GB/32GB clamshell with a cheap display and an aging processor here and HP has priced the thing at $219. Here’s a rundown of the specs.
- Chrome OS
- Intel N3350 dual-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB storage
- 11.6″ 1366 x 768 HD display @ 220 nits
- 2 x USB-C, 2 x USB-A, MicroSD and 3.5mm audio jack
- Android and Linux app support
- 2.99 lbs
There’s not a lot to look at here. I can’t think of any reason why anyone would go out and buy this device but then again, we haven’t reviewed one yet. Still, the aging processor will likely have an AUE date of 2024 and the $219 price tag makes the more-capable Lenovo 3 look better than it does already. You can find the new HP Chromebook 11a over at Best Buy if you’re interested.