Before Acer can diversify the high-end features offered by Chromebooks as alternatives to the popular low-cost, “bare bones” configurations, HP has pulled off a similar, never-before-seen feat. Their newest Chromebook 14, model number x050nr, is Full HD, touch-enabled and available for a fraction of Google Chromebook Pixel’s price.
While still not what we’d call luxurious, the 14-inch WLED 1080p touchscreen does make the latest HP Chromebook 14 feel more premium than virtually all its Chrome OS relatives. Various Acer and Toshiba Chromebooks sport FHD panels, but they aren’t built for touch interaction, while the Lenovo IdeaPad N20P has touch but is restricted to 1366 x 768 resolution.
Aside from the unusually gifted screen, the HP 14-x050nr doesn’t quite stand out from the crowd, with a class-mediocre 8-hour battery life and ARM-based Nvidia Tegra K1 processor. The K1, accompanied by a 192-core Kepler GPU, may thrill in the tablet landscape, but as far as serious computing goes, it’s no Intel Haswell match.
On the bright side, the Full HD HP Chromebook 14 with Touch should be a multitasking champ. It has four gigabytes of RAM and a 32 GB internal hard drive. Fairly light, at 3.77 pounds, and thin (0.7 inches), the 14 incher also wins a few bonus points with its swanky “snow white” cover and stylish smoke silver keyboard accents.
HP has your back in the ports and connectivity department too, with everything from USB 3.0 and 2.0 to HDMI, 802.11ac Wi-Fi , Bluetooth 4.0, and a microSD media card reader. Overall, it sounds like a pretty smart buy at $440, since the only Full HD, touch-enabled Chromebook alternative, the Pixel, costs $1,500 or so.
Meanwhile, a larger than 13-inch 1080p Windows laptop with touch is at least $600. Well played, HP. And kudos on launching the “premium” Chromebook in time for Christmas, although you sure cut it close.