HP’s new Chromebooks have Bay-Trail processors, optional 4GB of RAM, 1080p display

If you’ve been considering purchasing a Chromebook, now might be a good time: the fourth generation of HP Chromebooks are here, and they look pretty nice.

For $279 HP offers a 14-inch Chromebook with 4GB of RAM and a 1.83GHz Intel Celeron processor. The full-HD display (1,920 x 1,080) comes with in-plane switching (IPS), so it’s got a wide viewing angle. It’s one of the cheaper Chromebooks to offer these features.

There’s no mention of the new laptop on HP’s page as of this writing, but Best Buy is offering them right now in silver and sky blue colors. There’s also a similar laptop with 2GB of RAM for $249, but for only $30 more it’s probably worth getting the 4GB model.

The hard drive, at 16 GB, isn’t huge, but on-board storage is never a key feature of a Chromebook, which are meant to be used almost entirely with the cloud. If you need more local storage there’s a USB 3.0 port, so you could supplement that with an external drive if you wanted to. There’s 3 USB ports in all.

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With HDMI, you can connect your Chromebook to a TV or modern display, and a VGA port means your older monitors will work too if you want another desktop.

The Celeron processor doesn’t run too hot, meaning this Chromebook doesn’t have a fan, so it’ll be nice and quite.

ChromeOS, an operating system that offer access to the Web an not a lot more, is divisive among power users who miss their desktop applications and games. But in the past few years the OS has made strides, particularly in the education market, for being easy to use and administer.

Recent announcements suggest ChromeOS and Android will eventually merge, meaning future updates could bring Android to Chromebooks, but Google hasn’t been totally clear on this yet — they backpedaled after the issue got press.

If you want an even cheaper version of this laptop, you can get a smaller screen: the 11.6-inch model with 2GB of memory sells for $199. It’s pretty small, but for some people portability is more important than display size anyway.

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