2018 finished up with a bang, offering us more quality choices in the Chromebook space than we’ve ever seen before. While I believe we’re in for some great devices in 2019 as well, many users are ready to buy a Chromebook right now and are needing to find a way to decide between all the great devices now on offer at this moment.
Sure, lots of choice is great, but it can also make decisions much more difficult as well. A couple years ago, we really only had a few devices that we would recommend at any given time. At this point in 2019, there are many: The Pixelbook, the Pixel Slate, the Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14, the Lenovo Yoga C630, the Acer Chromebook Spin 13, the HP x2, and the Samsung Chromebook Plus v2 all come to mind when we start talking about devices in the $400-$600 range.
In the middle of all these devices, the HP Chromebook x360 doesn’t offer any specific thing that these other don’t have. Instead, it offers a combination of features that make using it a true pleasure. So let’s take a deeper look at what sets the HP x360 apart and makes it worth your hard-earned money.
HP has crafted an interesting, pleasing, and sturdy Chromebook in the x360. With the convertible form-factor, striking white lid (like the x2), thin design (16mm), reasonable weight (3.7 lbs), and mainly-aluminum chassis, the x360 checks the boxes for build quality.
I said mainly aluminum because the underside is plastic. For me, that isn’t a knock. The HP 13 G1 and Acer’s Chromebook 15 both sport a plastic belly and neither bother me at all. Usually, my Chromebook is in my lap or on a desk, so the last thing I’m thinking about is the bottom of it. Here, the plastic blends in well with the textured aluminum parts and doesn’t detract from the look or feel of the device as a whole.
The overall device feels solid, the hinges behave as expected, and the aesthetic of the slate body and white lid make this Chromebook stand out in a good way. I truly enjoy the way it looks on the desk and never once felt like this was anything but premium in the hands.
Opening up the x360, users are met with a really great display. It feels quite standard at this point, and I’m glad to be able to say that now as in years past, the standard Chromebook display was quite poor.
There’s nothing amazing going on here, but the 1080p 14-inch IPS display has good brightness (300 nits or so), great colors and wide viewing angles. 14-inch FHD panels are a great compromise of screen real estate and portability. With the relatively small bezels, HP has fit a 14-inch display into what feels more like a 13-inch device.
Overall, I like 1080p displays in 14-inch devices because things still look nice and sharp while also not taxing the processor too much.
Keyboard & Trackpad
Another place the x360 shines is the keyboard and trackpad combo. Both are simply excellent. The keyboard is backlit, clicky, and has plenty of travel. There are some great keyboards on Chromebooks right now, but Pixelbook aside, this is my favorite. There were multiple times during my review period where I’d be typing an article and just stop to consider how much I liked typing on the x360.
The glass trackpad is equally good, being the widest we’ve seen on a Chromebook and also possessing what I would crown the best click mechanism I’ve used. Sure, the Pixelbook is great, but there was something so reassuring and satisfying about the click on this trackpad that I absolutely loved using every moment I was testing it.
If typing and trackpad navigation are up there on your list of important factors in a Chromebook, this device needs to be tops on your radar. They are just that good.
Ports & Speakers
The port selection is fairly standard at this point: 2 USB-C ports (one on each side of the device), a USB-A port, headphone/mic jack, SD card slot, and a Kensington lock. I personally love this layout and have said this before: that USB-A comes in handy many times and saves me from #dongleLife when I need to quickly plug in a USB-A peripheral and don’t have my bag handy.
As for the B&O branded speakers, they are just OK. No, they aren’t terrible, but they aren’t what I would call good, either. With a prominently placed speaker grill and the B&O branding under the keyboard, I was hoping for a bit more. Instead, we get thin, quiet speakers that serve to remind us that this Chromebook will need headphones for any real media consumption.
Internals & Performance
Inside, the x360 flat-out delivers. With an 8th-gen Core i3 8130U, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, most users’ needs are met. With Chrome OS 72, Android apps now have full access to the SD card, so media storage issues aren’t problematic if 64GB of storage isn’t enough for you and the 8GB of RAM with this U-series processor simply performs.
We can talk about benchmarks all day, but what I can tell you from using this device is that it never breaks a sweat. You can look at the video and see me switching apps with multiple HD videos running all at once. Never in my testing did I run into a situation where the x360 even broke a sweat. And the fans only kicked on a couple times when I was editing a handful of extremely large photos. When they did, I wasn’t bothered at all because they were nearly silent and not bothersome in the least.
Battery life is probably the best I’ve seen on any Chromebook, actually living up to the 13 hour promises by HP. I routinely pulled off the charger, worked for a few hours, and still showed 10+ hours of available battery while using the Chromebook at 75% brightness. Simply put: this thing is a battery champ.
If you can’t tell, I’m a fan of the HP Chromebook x360. Other than the average speakers, this thing just does everything you want. It is fast. It is attractive. It is portable. It has a great screen. It has outstanding battery life. It is built well. It is convertible.
It is, without doubt, the total package. Of the slew of great Chromebooks on offer right now, this one is my favorite. If I didn’t like to get the newest thing every time the newest thing came out, I’d be settling down with the HP x360. But, if I didn’t get the newest thing all the time, Chrome Unboxed wouldn’t exist, so I’m on to the next device.
I say that to tell you that if you’ve been considering the HP x360, go get it. Unless you require a stylus, this is the best Chromebook to buy right now overall. Sure, if you need the biggest screen, the Lenovo Yoga C630 would be a better fit. For most users, however, the HP x360 is simply the best overall package on offer.
And all that is being said at the $599 MSRP. Many times since its launch, however, this Chromebook has dropped to $450 or $500. At those prices, drop what you are doing and go get one. It is that good and I’m convinced you will enjoy the experience of using it.HP Chromebook x360 On Amazon