As we enter into the beginning of the second half of 2020, new Chromebooks have not stopped arriving. With the pandemic in full swing and economies all over the place, I was honestly unsure what the new device landscape would look like at this point in the year. As a surprise to us all, it seems – for Chromebooks, at least – the market is as healthy as ever. With Chromebook sales rising as much as 400% in Google’s last estimations, it only makes sense that manufacturers are still pushing to get out their newest devices on some semblance of a schedule.
We’ve only officially known of the HP x360 14c for a little over a month, so to see it go from announced to available in just a few weeks is a nice change. As I’ve said before, I’d love to see this on a more-regular basis across the board. All that being said, we now have the rather-lovely new HP Chromebook x360 14c in the office and are jumping in the box to see what it looks and feels like with an initial hands-on.
While this Chromebook is clearly the follow-up to the very popular HP Chromebook x360 14 from 18 months ago, it is altogether a more-modern take on that device across the board. While we praised HP for putting together one of the best 8th-gen Chromebook offerings at the time in late 2018 with the original x360, a lot has changed in the market since then. HP seems to have absorbed all of those changes and delivered some useful and thoughtful updates to the new x360.
From the moment we pulled it from the box, one thing was clear: HP is spending time and money to craft a well-build, solid device. The whole chassis is firm, rigid, smooth, elegant and striking. It even gets that awesome, new HP logo I’ve come to love.
This is an unboxing and hands-on, so I didn’t test a whole lot at this point. Just know that the keyboard feels amazing, the trackpad is smooth glass with a solid, satisfying click, and the entire keyboard deck has this slight tapered roll-off that is both comfortable and pleasing under the palms. The screen is very attractive but not crazy-bright at 250 nits. At 14-inches and full HD (1920×1080), it is a solid panel that will do well under most conditions. Additional features include a full-sized USB Type A port alongside the dual USB Type C ports, upward-firing speakers, and USI pen support. Oh, and it has a fingerprint scanner right beneath the keyboard where it belongs.
Internally, we’re looking at the 10th-gen Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB or RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. At $629 starting MSRP, I think HP is close to hitting all the right notes. Where I have issue is the internal storage. While I don’t think it has to be NVMe, I would really like to see 128GB or a swappable SSD at this price point. After all, for the same $629, Acer offers up a Core i5, 8GB RAM and 128GB NVMe in their Spin 713. Competition isn’t what it was when the original Chromebook x360 14 launched and I’d bet HP priced this Chromebook to go on sale. As a matter of fact, we picked ours up for $100 off at Best Buy already, so the sales are starting already. With frequent sales prices like what we saw on the original, I think this device could find itself in the lower $500 range on a regular basis and will be an incredible deal for many users.
As always, I need to spend some time operating from this device as my main Chromebook and put together some thoughts on a review. With devices like the Lenovo Flex 5 lurking around at $409 and the insanely-equipped Acer Spin 713 for the exact same $629 as this new HP, this new device launches into far more hostile competition than it dealt with prior. Fit and finish go a long way, but so do specs and price. This will be an interesting review for sure. Make sure you are subscribed below so you don’t miss it!