Flying under the radar with a quiet roll-out in the U.S. just before Christmas, HP has launched a new version of its Chromebook 14, most notable for its touch screen and full high-definition display. The new version improves on the original model which was released earlier this year and criticized for its less-than-dazzling screen.
PC makers have been adding touch capability to Chromebooks for a while, but still, most of the software loaded on those machines has been designed for a traditional mouse and keyboard. That might change soon, though, as Google continues to experiment with running touch-centric Android apps on its Chromebooks.
Two months ago, HP unveiled its new line of Chromebooks powered by NVIDIA's Tegra K1 processor. At that time, the company said a Chromebook with a full HD display and a touch screen would be available in a few months, and the Chromebook 14 Touch is that product.
The Chromebook 14-x050nr Touch is available in the United States with a suggested price of $440. No details for availability outside the U.S. were available as of Tuesday.
The new device sports 4 GB of RAM and a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor. But the main selling point is the screen, a 14-inch diagonal full-high definition WLED-backlit touch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Originally, HP said that this model of the device would come equipped with 16 GB of flash storage and a retail price of $430. The Chromebook 14-x050nr instead packs double the flash storage at 32 GB with a slightly higher price tag.
A great deal, or a marginal upgrade? Probably somewhere in between, Gurpreet Kaur, an industry analyst for Gap Intelligence Inc., told us.
"I think that while the price is significantly less than the price of the Chromebook Pixel, it is still a bit expensive for a Chrome OS laptop," said Kaur. "At $440, the new HP Chromebook is getting closer in price to the iPad -- and also to [the price of] traditional Windows laptops, which could impact its adoption."
The new Chromebook also comes with the a standard array of interfaces, including 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, a SDcard slot and HDMI out. The product description on HP’s Web site promises about 8.5 hours of life from the 37Wh battery.
It measures about two-thirds of an inch at its thickest point and weighs 3.7 lbs. On the cosmetic side, it also has an updated silver chassis, which might be a relief for those who didn’t care for the louder colors of its predecessor.
The new machine can be purchased on HP’s Web site. If you’re not interested in the touch screen capability, you also have the option of buying the standard Chromebook 14, which sports the same processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a lower-resolution non-touch screen, for $299.