Last week, HP held a virtual press event to introduce its latest Chrome OS devices to the world – well, to the press at least. The online event featured special guests from Google as well as Qualcomm and there was a lot of discussion about the future of Chrome OS, the consumer segment, and more. We’ll talk more about that later today but first, let’s take a look at what’s new over at HP.
As we expected, HP made the recently leaked HP Chromebase all-in-one official and it is a very interesting device for a number of reasons. For the uninitiated, a Chromebase is simply an all-in-one Chrome OS desktop computer. There aren’t many of them out there on the market and until now, Acer was the only company with a late-model 10th Gen Chromebase on its résumé. At first glance, the new Chromebase from HP doesn’t look that different from any other all-in-ones carrying Chrome OS or Windows, for that matter. It does feature a unique fabric-wrapped, conical base that houses not only the hardware but also dual 5W B&O speakers for media consumption and clear video calling.
Where the HP Chromebase takes a detour is in its segment-first 21.5″ display that is designed to rotate 90-degrees into portrait mode. You may be thinking, “why in the world would I want a vertical display?” and you wouldn’t be alone but there is a variety of use cases here and you may be surprised at how useful this seemingly niche feature can be for a wide range of users. From HP:
We were excited to collaborate with HP and Google to help deliver this world’s first Chromebase AiO that delivers the evolving collaboration, entertainment, and learning experiences for today’s families
Mandy Mock, Intel VP and GM of Desktop, Workstation and Channel Group at Intel Corporation.
The HP Chromebase will be powered by Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs. The base model will come with a Pentium Gold 6405U with the upgraded models bearing a Core i3 with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 256GB of NVMe storage. Seeing as this will be a great fit for the classroom and even a busy office, HP made it a point to show off the 5MP camera that comes equipped with a privacy switch that can disable not only the camera but also the device’s microphone with just a flip of the switch. This is a useful and very important feature in today’s world where so much has shifted to a virtual setting.
The Chromebase’s 21.5″ Full HD display is also a touchscreen which makes navigating the device easier and more capable especially when it is in portrait mode. You can quickly rotate the display with one finger and seamlessly start scrolling through websites or documents and even fire up a portrait mode only Android app to have a little fun. Around the back of the Chromebase, you’ll find two USB-C and two USB-A ports which can be used to connect whatever peripherals you see fit. This area won’t get congested by your input devices because HP had the smarts to include a handy little Chrome OS keyboard and mouse that connect to the Chromebase via Bluetooth.
HP Chromebase 22 key specs
- Chrome OS
- 10th Gen Intel Pentium Gold or Core i3
- Up to 16GB RAM
- Up to 256GB storage
- 21.5″ Full HD IPS touch display with rotating 90-degree portrait mode
- Dual 5W B&O speakers
- 2 x USB-C
- 2 x USB-A
- 5MP HP True Vision webcam with privacy switch
- Works with Chromebook Bluetooth mouse and keyboard
- Anroid and Linux app support
- Wi-fi 6
Chromebases have historically been reserved for corporate and classroom settings. Consumers wanting to get their hands on one usually need to go through an enterprise channel and even then, you end up paying a fortune because you aren’t buying in bulk. During the press event, I inquired if this device, with its Google-y aesthetics and sleek design, would be made available to the general public. I am happy to report, that is the case. The base model Chromebase will soon be available from Best Buy and Amazon for $599 and the customizable Core i3 model is already live on HP’s website and available for purchase today starting at $649 for a Core i3 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD.
The Pentium model uses eMMC storage and therefore isn’t upgradeable. The Core i3 model, however, features NVMe storage and expandable RAM slots. Theoretically, you could upgrade the internals yourself if you are so inclined. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a pre-production model of the HP. Stay tuned for Robby’s unboxing and initial impressions. Update: The Pentium model is now available at Best Buy for $579.