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HP Chromebook 14 (with 4G) review: Solid performance in a plus-sized package

JR Raphael | Oct. 24, 2013
The HP Chromebook 14 combines great performance with a spacious display. So is it the right Chromebook for you?

The computer comes with 200MB of mobile data per month for the first two years you own it. That allotment won't get you far, but it's enough to send a few quick emails or check a couple of Web pages in a pinch. You can opt to purchase additional data in contract-free a la carte packages, which include 1GB of data usable over seven days for $15 and 2.5GB of data usable over 30 days for $30.

At a Glance
Chromebook 14 (with 4G)
HPPrice: $349Pros: Spacious IPS LCD display; attractive, colorful design; solid performance; excellent battery life; 4G connectivity; USB 3.0 support; native HDMI-out port; SD card supportCons: Bulky and heavy compared to other Chromebooks; display, design and build quality inferior to Chromebook 11; not silent during operation; 4G data service difficult to set up and refill

One unfortunate asterisk: T-Mobile's data activation and top-off processes are a real pain and not at all user-friendly. Worse yet, after navigating through the complex and cumbersome steps, I encountered error messages and ended up having to call T-Mobile first to start the service and then again to inquire about adding more data.

Google and Verizon Wireless got the process figured out on other cellular-data-enabled Chromebooks, as I can confirm from my own experiences with both the Pixel and the older Samsung Series 5 550. Hopefully, HP and T-Mobile will be able to follow that lead and make their version more palatable soon.

Bottom line
The Chromebook 11 may be the gold standard when it comes to display, design and build quality among low-cost Chromebooks, but the Chromebook 14 (4G) isn't terribly far behind. And from its stepped-up performance to the expanded connectivity options it presents, the computer packs some pretty compelling perks.

We may not have a true midrange Chromebook yet, but for users who need a little extra oomph in their laptops, the 4G model of the HP Chromebook 14 is a low-compromise low-cost system that gets a lot of things right.

 

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