A bunch of new HP Chromebooks has just arrived to shops, perhaps strategically right before Christmas time. HP 14-x040nr belongs to that lot, having a distinguishable neon green color and 14 inches non-touch display. Whether such a Chrome-powered laptop is a better choice for you than a conventional Windows notebook will be discussed below.
The main things
HP 14-x040nr has low-end components, very typical for a Chromebook. Interesting enough, the processor isn’t an Intel or AMD, but NVIDIA. Bearing the name NVIDIA Tegra K1, it runs on four cores and frequency of 2.3GHz (as opposed to Amazon falsely claiming just 1.0GHz clock speeds). At any rate, the current processor can handle simple home and office tasks with ease. If you’re looking for more information about this browser, bear in mind this is the older version with “Cortex” cores – NVIDIA also released a second version of this processor codenamed “Denver”, which is indeed faster than this Cortex chip.
The system has 2GB DDR3L onboard memory – which, in this case, means you can’t add more. Going with two gigabytes can be problematic if you like to multitask or keep many tabs open in the browser simultaneously.
HP 14-x040nr follows the latest trend of swapping the hard drive for something modern. There’s a 16GB eMMC drive installed in the system – not quite a true solid-state drive, but close to that. One could describe it as a media card embedded onto the mainboard. Speeds are not comparable to SSDs while storage isn’t comparable to hard drives. eMMCs are perfectly fine for some simpler devices, like digital cameras, but to laptops they’re installed purely to keep the price down.
To overcome the size limitations, Google offers 100GB free storage from their cloud services. Remember that the offer must be activated within two months of the purchase.
Display and graphics
There’s nothing surprising in the screen of HP 14-x040nr. It’s 14″ big and comes with resolution of 1366×768. I wouldn’t mind a higher resolution, but for a 14 incher the 1366×768 probably works just fine.
The processor integrates a graphics chip called NVIDIA Tegra K1 Kepler GPU. Some benchmarks indicate it’s one of the top mobile graphics units, which it undoubtedly is, but we must still take other factors into consideration when deciding if this Chromebook is good for gaming. As you might know, it’s impossible to play Windows games on a Chrome-based system without hacking. So your gaming choices are limited to browser-based games – which would, indeed, run without problems on a such high-end mobile GPU.
HP 14-x040nr features 3 USB ports (one of those is USB 3.0) to plug in your peripherals. A HDMI out is also available, so you can use a larger HDTV with the Chromebook.
Networking is WiFi only, with a solid 2×2 802.11ac wireless adapter that also supports Bluetooth 4.0.
Chromebooks don’t have a DVD drive due to incompatibility issues with video codecs, but you can always plug an external drive to the USB 3.0 port and read (but not burn) data DVDs that way. A microSD media card reader is also available which can be used, among other things, to increase the local storage size.
Standard for modern laptops, a HD webcam and digital microphone are built-in, allowing you to use Google Hangouts for video meetings.
The manufacturer promises HP 14-x040nr eight hours battery life. That’s a lot more than with typical Windows laptops, and roughly the average for Chromebooks. The 3.4 pounds weight is less than with most notebooks with 14″ screen.
As there’s no space for a numeric pad, the actual keyboard and trackpad are perfectly centered, which in my opinion contributes to a better user experience.
Summing it up
HP 14-x040nr is an alternative for Windows laptops. It comes with Google Chrome operating system, which these days can be conveniently used for most things – thanks to Google creating replacement applications for popular Windows programs. The hardware itself is capable for everyday computing. That said, the 2GB RAM might receive some complaints from power users. The storage drive itself isn’t big either, so it’s not friendly for those who like to download a lot – however, the 100GB Google Cloud storage offers some remedy for that. All in all, if you prefer portability (8 hours battery, 3.4 pounds weight) and sleek design over absolute performance, you might want to consider Chromebook over a Windows-based rig.