Nobody seemed very fond of Google-powered Chromebooks in their first year of existence on the market, but something happened in the last few months turning the fortunes around for the struggling class of notebooks.
Without any notice or warning, Lenovo and HP joined the action, providing some unexpected competition for Samsung and Acer, Google’s initial Chromebook partners. We were most surprised about HP’s venture in the business, teased last week and confirmed earlier today.
The HP Pavilion 14-c010us Chromebook is now not only official, but already up for grabs for $329.99 via HP’s web store. At that price point you might expect something really special, but in all honesty HP only has two aces up its sleeve: premium design and extra screen real estate.
As its name suggests, the Pavilion 14 sports a 14-inch display, which is considerably larger than the 11.6 and 12.1-inch panels featured by the other Chromebooks around. Unfortunately, HP’s new guy actually comes with a lower pixel density, as it still boasts the run-of-the-mill 1,366 x 768 pix resolution.
In terms of design, HP’s upper hand is obvious, especially against Acer’s Chromebooks. The Pavilion 14 is extremely sleek and very elegant, although you can’t really say it has an innovative look. Some might even call it boring, but honestly, there’s something about polished all-black laptops that makes us go crazy every time we see such a retro-looking stylish fellow.
Another thing we like at HP’s Chromebook design-wise is that it’s not overly bulky, but it looks like it could take a hit or two. It’s 0.83 inches thick and weighs 3.96 pounds, so it’s not a lot heftier than, say, the 11.6-inch Samsung Series 3 (0.68-inches thick and 2.42 pounds heavy).
And now for the specs. The mostly uninspired and average (so as not to call them mediocre) specs. Where to begin? Maybe with the 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron 847 CPU. Or the 2 GB of RAM. Or the Intel HD graphics and 16 GB SSD.
Well, no matter how we grasp that spec sheet, we’ll probably still end up a bit disappointed, so let’s just get it over with. Besides the features listed above, there’s Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth connectivity, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, a digital media card reader, Ethernet LAN, a 4-cell battery supposedly capable of around 4 hours of autonomy, Altec Lansing speakers and a TrueVision HD webcam.
In comparison, the $200 Acer C7 comes with basically the same list of features, save for the SSD that’s replaced with a 320 GB HDD, while Samsung’s $250 Series 3 has an ARM-based 1.7 GHz Exynos 5250 ticking inside, but also a much more robust battery. Hmm, what to choose?