HP's premium Chromebook x360 14c improves on the successful recipe of the original, starts at $499

In brief: HP’s original Chromebook 14 was already selling like hotcakes to people who don’t depend on legacy software tools and are able to live their digital lives in the cloud. Now the company has improved on that recipe with more refinements such as a fingerprint reader, fast charging, and updated internals. The screen could’ve been a bit brighter, but at a starting price of $499, it’s a lot of Chromebook for your buck.

A few weeks ago we were looking at how HP’s latest product lineup which came at an opportune time as companies and governments were fast-tracking the modernization of their software tools, and schools are exploring ways to offer remote learning experiences.

Hinging on the success of the original Chromebook x360, HP today unveiled a spiritual successor to the popular 14-inch convertible, the x360 14c. The company says this is the most premium Chromebook they’ve ever made for consumers.

The Chromebook x360 14c sports a touch-enabled 1080p display with thin bezels and support for USI pens. The panel is protected by Gorilla Glass though it’s not the brightest you can get at just 250 nits. A few nice-to-have features in this new 14-inch Chromebook are the ‘webcam privacy switch’ as well as a volume rocker on the left side of the device. The company also moved the speakers’ position from above the keyboard to the sides, but otherwise they’re Bang & Olufsen-branded, as we’ve come to expect from HP.

You can get the x360c 14c configured with anywhere from a Pentium Gold 6405U up to a 10th-gen Core i5 paired with either 4 or 8 GB of RAM and up to 128 GB of eMMC storage. HP says the battery can hold for up to 13.5 hours of use and can be brought to a 50% charge in 45 minutes.

Connectivity includes support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, one USB-Type C, and one USB-A port, as well as a microSD card slot. There’s also a fingerprint sensor below the arrow keys and Windows Hello authentication. The device comes in at 3.64 lbs and start at $499 at places like Best Buy and the HP Store when it ships later this month.

For those who are either not willing to spend that much on a basic laptop, HP also announced the more modest Chromebook 11a which makes up for its chunky bezels with a low starting price of just $219.

It’s equipped with a smaller, 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display and two USB-Type C ports. The Chromebook 11a is powered by a Celeron N3350 paired with 4GB of RAM and 32 GB of eMMC storage, Wi-Fi 5 support and Bluetooth 4.2.

At a starting price of just $219, it’s hard to complain. Choosing between this and say — Samsung’s similarly priced Chromebook 3 with the same specs is going to be a matter of personal taste.

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