HP Chromebook x360 14c full review
Chromebooks are often the kind of cheap and cheerful devices that you can use as a second laptop, give to your kids for homework or buy for older relatives that don’t feel confident with computers. But, as ChromeOS is now a powerful platform, if you want to step up to a higher grade of hardware then there are a few you can choose from.
Google’s own Pixelbook Go is the company’s vision of what a decent but affordable Chromebook should be, and now we have a similar benchmark from HP. Here’s the full Tech Advisor review of the HP Chromebook x360 14c.
Design & Build
Taking the HP Chromebook x360 14c (or 14c-cc0003na to give it its laughably bad full name) out of the box reveals a very smart looking laptop. The Mineral Silver livery has a smoky look that’s offset well by the chrome HP logo situated in the center of the lid. I have to say, the new design, which features four angled lines, looks quite cool and lends the x360 a futuristic air.
This is enhanced by the two rear vents on the base section, which have just a hint of a spaceship that’s gotten lost and landed on my desk.
One slightly mystifying choice is the strip along the top of the lid, presumably there to give you grip when lifting the screen. At first, I thought it was a light similar to the one that appeared on my old Google Pixel C tablet, which you could tap to see how much battery charge was left. Sadly, this isn’t the case, but if HP wants to add that in the future, then it already has the perfect place to put it.
A quick inspection of the flanks shows that the laptop comes with hardware buttons for power and volume plus a physical switch to disable the webcam. Nice touch. There are also two USB-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card reader slot and USB 3.0 port.
The latter is interesting, as due to the slimline nature of the x360 (it measures 321.5 x 206 x 17.9mm when closed) a full-size port wouldn’t fit. Instead, HP employs a spring-loaded panel that opens up to allow a USB connector, then closes back up again when not in use. It’s much like the same approach Apple took with its initial MacBook Airs back in the day.
The underside has elevated rubber strips to give the x360 some airflow when on a desk, plus the top section is ventilated to allow the expulsion of air from the internal fans (that also explains the space-age rear vents). All in all, it’s a very tidy design, which would have you thinking this was a mid-range Windows device if it wasn’t for the screen-printed Chromebook legend on the lid that reveals its true intentions.
Opening the device shows that HP has continued its modern design aesthetic on the inside too, with plenty of interesting features to be found. There’s a 14in touchscreen display with thin bezels on both sides and marginally larger ones at the top and bottom, the former of which is home to the 720p webcam.
On either side of the keyboard are ventilated columns that allow sound from the twin Bang & Olufsen speakers. Most surprising of all is the inclusion of a dedicated fingerprint reader that you can use to unlock the device. That’s actually quite a lot of premium tech for your typical Chromebook.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The keyboard is a backlit, full-sized chiclet style accompanied by a decently large touchpad.
Typing on the x360's keyboard is effortless. The full-sized keys are well spaced, respond well to being pressed, and generally keep out of the way and let you get on with your writing. In a minute or so from starting on the x360 I was up to my full typing speed, with my usual levels of accuracy (nothing the x360 can do about that).
The backlight is subtle but effective, raised or lowered by holding down the alt key and using the dedicated brightness controls on the top line that usually affect the display. An icy blue hue shines through the keys, making them easy to read in low-light, and at full brightness, they can be quite powerful.
The touchpad is also a decent effort, with multi-touch support making it a synch to execute the various gesture controls that ChromeOS supports. Clicks feel solid and dependable, although, in truth, I usually use the tap to click option on Chromebooks as it works so well.
Screen & Speakers
A 14in IPS touchscreen display is the panel of choice for the x360. It looks lovely, with the 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio delivering strong colours and contrast. 250 nits max brightness isn't great for comfortably working outside, and the reflective glass makes it even more of a challenge in strong sunlight.
That’s the nature of a touchscreen surface though, and in that department the x360 is responsive and feels genuinely good to use. Coming from using a MacBook, I’m always pleased with how natural a touchscreen laptop is to work with and Chromebooks in particular.
Selecting on-screen buttons and windows is simple and you never feel like you’re doing something the long way round. Seriously, touch could well be one of the best features on ChromeOS. The display should survive any heavy-handedness too, thanks to the Corning Gorilla Glass NBT panel that HP has used.
As the name x360 suggests, you can fold the screen back through a full 360 degrees, enabling the laptop to be used in tent and display modes if you want to watch a movie without the keyboard in the way or use the aforementioned multi-touch capabilities for playing games etc.
The hinges seem sturdy enough to hold the display in a variety of angles, but you’ll get a little bit of bounce when selecting touch-targets. Nothing unusual there though.
As you might expect from the Bang & Olufsen name, the sound quality on the x360 is good, relatively for a laptop of course. The twin speakers offer a balanced and loud report, with a more spacious and stereo sound than any other Chromebook I’ve encountered.
Naturally, physics won’t be thwarted, so you won’t get deep, resonant bass tones from such a thin and light device, but you should definitely be satisfied with the sounds emanating from the x360.
Specs & Performance
HP has fitted the x360 with a 3GHz Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor that includes two cores, four threads and can boost up to 4.1GHz. This is pretty high-end silicon when it comes to Chromebooks, so it’s no surprise that the performance of the x360 is excellent.
A healthy 8GB of memory definitely helps, as does the integrated Intel UHD Graphics GPU. Storage is handled swiftly by a 128GB PCIe-NVMe SSD drive that again provides more space than you’ll usually find on a Chromebook.
In general use, the laptop just flies through tasks, with streaming music in background while working on documents and spreadsheets proving no problem at all. This is fair enough, as I was hardly pushing the machine to its limits with 4K video editing, but as that isn’t really something you do on a Chromebook anyway.
Sadly I didn’t have a Google Stadia or Nvidia GeForce Now rig available to test out the gaming performance on the x360, but loading up PUBG Mobile and flipping the device into tent mode did let me take advantage of both the processing power and touchscreen capabilities.
Gameplay was fluid and clear, with touch responses feeling immediate and the graphical environment remaining stutter-free throughout. One issue was that the servers kicked me out a few times after detecting an emulator running. This is most likely due to the Android game seeing that I was using a non-Android product. While it lasted though, the x360 seemed quite at home with gaming.
I did encounter an odd bug a couple of times during normal activities, usually when the device was low on battery and left idle for a while. This somehow caused the x360 to lock up and require a hard reboot to get things going again.
It’s not a big problem, as all the data I was working with was automatically saved by ChromeOS, but it did make me wonder if there was a slight glitch in the power management settings that could be causing this issue. Hopefully, it will have been addressed by the time you try the laptop.
Benchmarks returned scores of 1135 (Single Core) and 2167 (Multicore) on Geekbench 5, while Basemark 3.0 posted 1,008 and Jetstream 2 managed 140. All of this makes the x360 faster in most instances than the previous king of the hill, the also brilliant Acer Spin 713.
Connectivity & Security
Continuing the premium feel, HP has equipped the x360 with WiFi 6 (11ax) capabilities for the fastest Wi-Fi speeds. There’s also Bluetooth 5 for your headphone and other peripheral needs. The two USB-C ports support 10Gbps signal rates (not Thunderbolt) and can be used for charging or connecting DisplayPort 1.4 compatible screen.
As mentioned before, there’s a physical switch that disables your webcam, which I’m assuming is to stop any hackers gaining access to it. Just remember to set it in the correct position before your next Zoom call, otherwise, you might spend half the meeting wondering why you’re not on the screen while several members of the call helpfully tell you your camera is turned off.
The HP Wide Vision 720p webcam works well enough, with (as the name suggests) quite a wide field of vision, which would be good for groups of people all wanting to be in shot. Quality is pretty standard, with a little digitisation, but certainly more than enough for Zoom calls.
The fingerprint reader is an interesting addition, especially if you like to have multiple profiles and share your Chromebooks with other family or household members. After a quick setup, the sensor proved very fast and reliable at logging me into my account. It’s not a necessity, but for the security-conscious it’s a nice touch.
Battery Life & Charging
If you’re intending to use the x360 on the road, then you might be pleasantly surprised by the amount of time you can stay away from a power source. In our standard battery test of streaming HD video, the device managed to keep going for 10 hours and 20 minutes, which is a fine effort.
When you need to recharge the x360, then you’re looking at 1 hour and 40 minutes to go from zero to one hundred percent once more.
Chromebooks all run on ChromeOS, so there’s nothing different or bespoke about the x360. You can use Google’s office suites for getting work done, visit the Chrome Web Store to find more apps or make use of the Google Play Store to run Android apps on the device.
Many apps now work offline, so you won’t be reliant on your Wi-Fi connection, but be aware that many pro-level applications (such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro and others) aren’t available on the ChromeOS platform.
Price & Availability
You can also get the laptop from AO and Argos. Otherwise, you'll have to look at other, potentially older models with lower-grade Pentium processors and other downgrades like less memory and storage. For example, the ca0003sa is available from Amazon for £399.
For more alternatives, you can also check out our roundup of the best Chromebooks.
HP has made some fine choices with the Chromebook x360 14c. The design is smart and premium-looking, while the components inside are higher-spec than those you’d usually find in this kind of device.
The result is a blisteringly fast experience, with a keyboard, trackpad and touchscreen interface that make the x360 a pleasure to use. And it all comes at a very reasonable price, too.
If you’re after something a tad more premium than your standard Chromebook, the X360 should be top of your list.
HP Chromebook x360 14c: Specs
- 14in IPS touchscreen display, 1920 x 1080 FHD resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass NBT
- 3GHz Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor
- 8GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM
- 128GB PICe-NVMe SSD storage
- HP Wide Vision 720p webcam
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 2x SuperSpeed USB Type-C 10Gbps signaling rate (USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4)
- 1x SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate
- 1 headphone/microphone combo 3.5mm headphone jack
- microSD card reader slot
- Dual speakers, audio by Bang & Olufsen
- 321.5 x 206 x 17.9mm
- 1.92 kg / 4.23lbs
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