HP Chromebook x360 14c: A Complete Review
As Chromebooks have become a standard-issue tool in the academic setting, the newest generation of entrants to the workforce have grown up using these slim and task-focused devices for school, work, and play.
HP’s Chromebook x360 14c is a business-first device aimed at a demographic for whom Chromebooks are more ubiquitous than “conventional” laptop computers. Let’s explore how this new HP Chromebook offers performance, functionality, and security in a premium yet affordable laptop that is perfect for multitasking between work and play.
What is the HP Chromebook x360 14c?
The HP Chromebook x360 14c is a stylish, business-focused, tablet-convertible Chromebook with an emphasis on privacy functions. It sports a fingerprint reader that automatically signs you in to your Google account and a physical camera kill-switch that turns the webcam on and off at a hardware level.
A 14-inch, bright, full high definition (FHD), in-plane switching (IPS) display that generates rich colors from any angle, and processor speeds that hit high on the industry benchmarks. The HP Chromebook x360 14c offers a premier Chromebook experience that, while built for work, offers ample opportunity for play as well.
How does a Chromebook differ from a laptop?
The HP Chromebook x360 14c, in its physical presentation, rivals the looks and construction of high-end business laptops. When it folds and swivels to convert to tablet mode, it reveals itself to be a truly hybrid device.
Operating system (OS)
Chromebooks are folding, keyboard-and-touchpad devices that run the slim and web-focused Google Chrome OS.™ They exist primarily as cloud-connected delivery mechanisms to use web applications like the Google Suite of productivity products – Gmail, Sheets, Docs, as well as web conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meets, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams.
Less storage, fast boot-up times
Chromebooks have minimal internal storage compared to conventional laptops because most of the applications and documents that you access are cloud and account-based, rather than files that live only on one’s device. Without the bigger overhead of a beefier OS like Mac OS or Windows 10, Chromebooks offer users blazing fast boot-up times, more akin to turning on a TV than waiting for a computer to load.
Speed and extended battery life
The HP family of Chromebooks is designed with that speed in mind and they are put through a series of benchmark tests to maximize the processor's power and deliver the most performance. In offloading so many functions to web applications, Chromebooks have to do less internal processing under the hood, allowing for extended battery life.
They also offer a much lower price point than their laptop counterparts. With so much of many workers' actual tasks being carried out through internet browsers, Chromebooks fill the niche of a laptop experience without the underlying “stand-alone computer” to deliver those browser-based apps.
But while they do deliver, the trade-off in price is a real trade-off for certain functionality; if you need to edit videos or open massive documents, a Chromebook is not up to the task.
This particular Chromebook, however, boasts enough features and functionality while it physically presents so well that it could absolutely be mistaken for a laptop.
A little primer on the HP Chromebook family
The full line of HP Chromebooks offers a variety of sizes and speeds, but they are all built with an emphasis on quality, portability, and durability. Tough, drop-tested exteriors and Corning Gorilla Glass are standard across the family of products, assuring that scratches and cracks won't occur with normal use.
Webcams for video conferencing and Bang and Olufsen speakers produce high-quality audio, and most models come standard with expansion slots for increased productivity.
While the Chrome OS is the common thread that binds the family of devices, each model is crafted and customized to fit specific needs at a variety of price points. They run the gamut from ultra-light and portable for student and classroom work, to more feature-rich and security-enabled models like the HP Chromebook x360 14c, which is engineered for business on-the-go and in the boardroom.
How does the HP Chromebook x360 14c differ from the other models in the family?
1. Premium styling
While performance and function are key, looks are important, too. And for the HP Chromebook x360 14c, form follows function with a form factor that fits right into a high-tech office environment. The 14-inch display is in the 16:9 “widescreen” aspect ratio, for bright and vibrant viewing, giving ample space for split-screening documents or streaming HD video movies from Netflix or other streaming services. The sleek silver-gray chassis is elegant and durable, for a clean, minimalist aesthetic.
2. New hinge construction
The HP Chromebook x360 14c is a convertible laptop, going into tablet mode with a swivel and fold motion, made possible by the newly re-engineered hinge and lock. The hinge is fluid and easy to twist, but secures the unit firmly in place with a satisfying click when converting to tablet. In standard laptop mode, the backlit keyboard has newly inset magnets to keep the unit securely shut in its “clamshell” when folded.
3. The most security-centric HP Chromebook
Security and personalization features differentiate the x360 14c from other Chromebooks. A fingerprint scanner gives you quick access and login, while providing a biometric lock-out for everyone else.
Dedicated webcam privacy switch
Turning on and off video feeds for meetings is a new reality in the workplace. Sometimes, you need your camera off. And everyone has heard of someone who has a horror story of merely thinking their camera was off – or has one.
To that end, the x360 14c Chromebook is equipped with a physical side-switch that cuts the feed from the camera on a hardware level. In today’s virtual meeting environment, where work and school include multiple platforms of video-conferencing daily, having a simple and direct “on/off” switch provides peace of mind versus fumbling for the on-screen interface toggling off one’s camera.
4. High-end gaming capabilities
The 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i3 processor is more than up to the task of running Android apps and multiple browser windows without a hint of lag or slowdown. The i3 Core processor and large, high-definition display give this HP business Chromebook another advantage in the Chromebook family that in previous generations was not possible: They enable the system to be used as a high-end gaming device.
Previously, a key differentiator of Chromebooks versus their PC counterparts was the latter’s ability to play games and the former’s inability, due to the constraints of the Chrome OS and slim internal storage.
But with the advent of Google’s cloud-based gaming delivery platform Stadia, any screen with a sufficient processor and broadband internet connection can be a gateway to virtually all the world of PC gaming.
By offloading the games’ engines to the cloud, the Stadia service can replicate the experience of a multi-thousand-dollar gaming laptop, on a Chromebook for just a couple of hundred bucks. While the unit is built for business, with the right combination of services, it also can deliver a considerable amount in the entertainment department.
Features and benefits of the HP Chromebook x360 14c
1. 360-degree design
The adjustable, yet strong 360-degree hinge that protects the display and keyboard on the HP Chromebook x360 14c is designed for durability through repetitive use across four modes:
- Laptop – traditional mode featuring a flat keyboard and angled display
- Tablet – folded display against the back of the keyboard, which offers freedom of movement and the use of a stylus
- Stand – folded-back keyboard under the display for hands-free purposes
- Tent – screen is flipped and rotated to hide the keyboard, ideal for touchscreen usage
2. WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled display
The HP Chromebook x360 14c's slimline casing is crafted with slender bezels, giving the user an 88% screen-to-body ratio. The display is a 14-inch Full High-Definition (HD) IPS touch screen with Gorilla Glass. Full HD means a screen image of 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high. IPS, or in-plane switching, is the technical term for how the actual crystals in the display panel technology work. IPS panels are known to provide the best color and viewing angles versus the other most prevalent display panel types, and are generally considered "professional grade."
3. Smart and effective security features
Biometric fingerprint login offers both quick and secure access to your documents and system, and keeps unwanted access out. But perhaps the most compelling security feature is the simplest: the physical kill-switch for the camera.
There is no software hack or security work-around that any malicious actor or technology can use to access a camera that simply has its power cut off. Although this seems like a simple solution, it is not the norm in integrated webcam design on most modern notebooks and Chromebooks. Its inclusion here is a smart and effective way to ensure user privacy and peace of mind.
4. Battery life
The reduced internal processing activities taking place within Chromebooks mean that they generally enjoy a long battery life. Although most average about 8 or 9 hours of power-free computing time, this particular Chromebook offers up to 13.5 hours of battery life.
5. Metal body construction and aluminum alloy finish
The HP Chromebook x360 14c could pass for any of HP’s high-end, business-class notebooks at first glance. The metal body and aluminum alloy finish, along with a key plastic part that’s employed to ensure cooler temperatures for lap-use, give the unit a feeling of elegance and solidity, while delivering a robust and durable package that stands up to constant use. Looks aren’t everything, but in the business world, they are a plus. And this unit looks good.
A handy list of at-a-glance features
Operating system: Chrome OS
Processor: Intel Core™ i3-10110U (2.1 GHz base frequency, up to 4.1 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 4MB L3 cache, 2 cores)
Memory: 8GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM (onboard); transfer rates up to 2666 MT/s
Storage: 64GB eMMC
Wireless tech: Intel WiFi 6 AX 201 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5 Combo (Supporting Gigabit file transfer speeds) MU-MIMO supported
Battery: 3-cell, 60.9 Wh Li-ion up to 13.5 hours
Webcam: HP Wide Vision HD Camera with integrated dual array digital microphone
Audio: Audio by Bang & Olufsen; Dual speakers
Dimensions: 12.82 x 8.60 x 0.70 inches (32.57 x 21.85 x 1.78 cm) starting at 3.64 lbs
Summing it up
For those who want a cloud-based computing solution for business, this is a great way to get everything you need, like long battery life, durability, security, and looks, in a notebook that doesn’t break the bottom line. This will especially hit the mark with those entering the marketplace experienced with the ins and outs of using ChromeOS.
About the Author: Jolene Dobbin is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Jolene is an East Coast-based writer with experience creating strategic messaging, marketing, and sales content for companies in the high-tech industry.