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HP 14 ReviewPrice: $250 List | $216.91 at Amazon
Pros: Large screen
Cons: Slow web browsing, small keyboard, heavy
Bottom line: Lack of RAM and corresponding lack of performance will be a dealbreaker for most people
The HP 14 offers a large, 14 inch screen, but is severely hampered by its lack of RAM. Like all of the 2GB of RAM models we tested, the HP 14 struggled with even just moderately taxing web browsing sessions. We also felt the quality of its keyboard and trackpad were lacking. If you're looking for a Chromebook with a large screen, we feel that you'd be much better off with the Acer 14.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Chromebooks of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The HP 14 shared the low score of 3 out of 10 in our performance metric with all of the other 2GB models we tested. This was well behind the 4GB models, which scored 8 and 9. Using the HP 14 was generally frustrating. Opening more than six or seven tabs would slow everything down, causing pages to load slowly, scrolling to become jumpy, and typing to become laggy. Trying to stream music or video induced these problems with fewer tabs, and often the quality of the streaming was affected as well. If anything we felt the HP 14 was just slightly better in this regard than the other 2GB models, but not to a large enough degree to warrant a higher score. If at all possible, we would definitely suggest getting a model with 4GB of RAM over one with 2GB. The slightly lower prices may seem tempting, but it's just not worth it. The HP 14 offers the standard 16GB of internal storage. It does have a multi-format SD card reader, offering some expandability to that storage. Its battery lasted through our full day of work test and has a reported life of 9 hours.
The HP 14 was the worst performer in our interface testing, earning a 5 out of 10 in a metric that saw scores falling from 5 to 9. Its keyboard didn't feel too bad as the keys had a good amount of spring to them. However, it felt needlessly cramped. The HP 14's size gives it plenty of real estate for the keyboard, yet there is a large patch or bare plastic on either side of the keyboard with all of the keys smushed into the middle. The keyboard wasn't quite as cramped as the 10.1 inch model we tested, but it did start to feel annoying in longer typing sessions. Ironically the trackpad is quite large, but our fingers didn't glide so smoothly on it, and clicking felt a bit cumbersome and sloppy.
The HP 14 earned an average score of 6 in our screen quality testing, which yielded scores from 5 to 9. The 14 inch size is quite nice and earned the HPO 14 extra points, but it had one of the worst color compositions in our testing. When viewing videos and photos everything looked overly white and washed out, often to a distracting degree. Also, it retains the standard 1366 x 768 resolution. While this resolution does technically meet the standard of 720p high definition, the screen is big enough that it would have greatly benefitted from full 1080p resolution. In fact, at this point many users would probably expect at lead 1080p resolution from a screen of this size.
The HP 14 shared the low score of 5 in our portability metric with the other 14 inch model we tested. This was well behind the top scoring model, which earned a rare perfect 10. Weighing in at 3.7 pounds it is the heaviest models we tested. Combine that with its 14 inch size and it is not any more portable than a traditional laptop. That is not to say you can't carry it around, it is just large and heavy enough that you'll probably want a proper laptop bag with a laptop sleeve to tote it around in.
At a list price of $250 the HP 14 is one of the more expensive models we tested. Considering that it came out of our testing with the lowest overall score, we don't feel it represents a particularly good value. Spending and extra $50 more for the Acer 14 or $50 less for the ASUS C201 would both yield much better values, though the latter does come with a smaller screen.
The HP 14 has a nice large screen but is severely limited by its 2GB of RAM. If you're looking for a model with a big screen we would suggest spending a bit more on the Acer 14.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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