HP x360 14a Chromebook Review


Over the past decade, the Chromebook has solidified its place in the laptop space, designed for people who want an inexpensive machine for browsing the Internet, handling email, and Google Docs, and not much. else. Newer convertible 2-in-1 Chromebooks that can be used as tablets. We’ve seen a handful of models launched this year, including some great premium options like Acer’s $ 500- $ 600 Chromebook Spin 514. But if you think it’s too expensive to pay for a Chrome OS convertible, enter the HP x360 14a Chromebook, a $ 330 hybrid that delivers fast performance at a good price. A coarse screen for its size, inferior speakers, and an imprecise touchpad limit its appeal compared to this Acer and other high-end Chromebooks, but it’s still worth checking out in its price range.


Pretty in Chrome

Wrapped in clean metallic silver, the Chromebook x360 14a comes equipped with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. That’s near rock bottom in terms of memory and storage, but sufficient for the cloud-based tasks that are Chrome OS’s bread and butter. Our review unit, model 14a-ca0022nr, works as both a tablet and a laptop and uses an Intel Pentium Silver N5000, a budget quad-core processor found in many budget laptops. .

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This Pentium isn’t what you’d call a competent processor, although it outperforms its even cheaper Celeron cousins, which employ the cheaper Chromebooks alongside low-end chips like MediaTek. The 1.1 GHz chip delivers surprisingly fast performance for the HP x360 14a, but you can go for the extra power by getting a model with a Pentium Silver N5030 for just $ 30 more. (Check out our guide to choosing the best laptop processor.)

HP x360 14a Chromebook Front View

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Regardless of how the chip is configured, you’ll be using Google’s Chrome OS and spending time with Gmail, Google Workspace, Google Play, and YouTube. All of this is enough for casual internet users, especially those already brainwashed into Google’s software infrastructure. Android equivalents of many popular programs are available in the Google Play Store as apps or extensions, so you should be able to match the functionality of a budget Windows laptop with just a few downloads.

HP Chromebook x360 14a right angle

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The Chromebook x360 14a weighs 3.3 pounds, which is pretty standard for a 14-inch laptop, but a bit heavy if you plan to fold up the keyboard and hold the device like a tablet in one hand. For comparison, Asus’ removable Chromebook CM3 only weighs around 1.12 pounds, although the keyword here is “detachable,” a tablet without its keyboard will always weigh less than a larger laptop. When in use, the HP 0.7 x 12.8 x 8.7-inch (HWD) bezel is what you would expect from a 14-inch laptop, although the rounded corners make it look more compact. .

HP x360 14a Chromebook Bottom

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The cover is branded with the usual Chrome badge as well as the HP logo in the center. Two silver hinges hold the keyboard and screen together, easily flipping back and forth with just enough resistance that the fold feels nice and not like you’re going to break the machine in half. Overall, the build quality is more than satisfactory.

HP x360 14a Chromebook Rear View

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The screen, on the other hand, is less so. The 14-inch IPS touchscreen is limited to a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, resulting in a dull image when playing videos and viewing images. Its nominal low brightness of 220 nits does it a disservice, too. The display is disappointing, especially considering it’s a convertible laptop. A 14-inch display at such a low resolution just isn’t much fun to use, and the glossy, reflective surface makes it difficult to find the right viewing angle. You might get away with 1,366 by 768 in an 11-inch Chromebook, but the coarseness of the resolution is evident at this screen size.

In addition to the screen, you’ll find a 720p webcam at the top of the screen with two dual-array microphones for video chat.


Room for an improved touchpad

While the HP Chromebook x360 14a’s chassis is solid, the same can’t be said for its touchpad, which is sketchy and slow to respond. This sometimes made navigation a sticking point during testing, ruining the otherwise smooth performance of the system. The touchscreen, on the other hand, is responsive and easy to use, in both landscape and portrait orientation.

HP Chromebook x360 Keyboard 14a

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The speakers on the sides of the keyboard get quite loud, but they vibrate through the chassis at higher volume levels. The keyboard is HP’s saving grace, comfortably spaced in the familiar Chrome OS layout with oversized Control and Alt buttons at the bottom left and a row of browser and system control keys at the top.

When it comes to I / O ports, the Chromebook x360 14a doesn’t have many, although what you’ll find is slightly surprising. USB Type-A and Type-C ports decorate the right side of the machine, right next to two volume control buttons. On the left, you’ll find a headphone jack, microSD card reader, power button, and another USB-C port. It’s a pleasant surprise to find more than one USB-C port on a budget Chromebook, and they’ll likely come in handy for charging your other devices. Wi-Fi 5 (not 6) and Bluetooth 5 round out the connectivity features of the Chromebook.

HP Chromebook x360 14a straight ports

(Photo: Molly Flores)

HP x360 14a Chromebook Left Ports

(Photo: Molly Flores)


Chromebook x360 14a review: plenty of ups (and downs)

To properly compare the HP Chromebook x360 14a, we pitted it against a few competitors with comparable prices and components. I chose the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, the Dell Chromebook 11, the latest HP Chromebook x2 detachable, and the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. With the exception of the HP Chromebook x2, each uses an Intel Celeron processor and just 4GB of RAM.

Our Chromebook benchmarking begins with Principled Technologies’ CrXPRT 2, a Chrome OS test suite that measures how quickly a system performs everyday tasks like applying effects to photos and encrypting files. It also measures a few more specialized tasks, such as DNA sequence analysis. The HP x360 14a Chromebook came out on top, but the rest of the pack were not far behind. Any of these laptops are more than capable of handling a student’s word processing and web browsing needs.

The next benchmark test we’re rolling out is the browser-based Basemark Web 3.0, which measures how well a PC can run web applications. In this test, the Chromebook x360 again came out on top with a much larger margin.

We cannot run the Windows version of UL’s PCMark on Chromebooks, so we use the Android version downloaded from the Google Play Store. Both simulate daily workflows like word processing, web browsing, and data analysis and give an overall performance score. The Chromebook x360 14a performed well but fell to fourth overall, beating only the Galaxy Chromebook 2.

Another familiar benchmark we use is the Android version of Geekbench 5, a multi-core processor test designed to simulate real-world applications ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. The Chromebook x360 fought back forcefully here, one of only two in the test group to post a four-digit score. Unfortunately, he was still dragging his HP stable mate, the Chromebook x2.

Next is GFXBench 5.0, a cross-platform GPU benchmark that tests low and high level gaming routines. It’s important to remember that Chromebooks aren’t really for gaming, especially those at the budget level. Indeed, all of the Chromebooks in our test group gave appalling results here. Not a single system achieved 8 fps in the demanding 1440p Aztec Ruins test, and only three double-digit frame rates handled in the 1080p Car Chase race. If you are interested in gaming on a budget, you’d better go with a Windows gaming laptop.

To test the battery of a laptop, we run a 720p video from the open-source movie Blender Tears of steel with screen brightness at 50%, audio volume at 100% and Wi-Fi disabled until the system turns off. If the computer does not have enough storage to hold the video file, we play it from an external SSD drive.

Finishing in fourth place, the Chromebook x360 14a dropped out just before the seven o’clock mark, a disappointing result especially given the low-res display. The Dell Chromebook 11 got top marks, making it suitable for a kid-friendly Chromebook that will likely spend a lot of time away from a point of sale.


A good two-for-one deal

The HP x360 14a Chromebook is a tempting choice for a cheap 2-in-1 laptop, betrayed mostly by its dark screen and poor touchpad. Still, it doesn’t quite excel as a tablet or laptop. If you’re looking for a more capable convertible that is still reasonably priced, you might be better off picking our top pick in this category, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514. Still, the HP is good enough to meet the needs of college students and the demands of casual internet users on tight budgets.

Advantages

  • Responsive touchscreen

  • Fast performance

  • Beautiful design

The inconvenients

  • Low resolution display

  • Inconsistent touchpad

  • Poor speaker quality

The bottom line

The HP Chromebook x360 14a is an inexpensive convertible, preserved in grandeur by a small screen, mediocre speakers, and an inconsistent trackpad.

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