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With the Chromebook 13 G1, HP wants to change the image of the Chromebook and get rid of the perception that it is a budget plastic box that is only for private individuals and schools. They call the computer a “business-ready” notebook, a perhaps somewhat clumsy translation of the English word “business ready”, that is, prepared for business use.
So what makes it extra business-friendly? It is hard to say. It has a built-in tpm chip, but that’s also all that functionally differentiates it from other Chromebook models.
However, HP sells a whole host of general accessories that fit it: USB-C docking station, DVD burner, wireless mouse and more. However, these are also suitable for other computers. Perhaps the business-friendly thing lies instead in the fact that you can buy a service package for it of the same type as for business computers with Windows.
Simplicity and quality
No matter what, it’s still a Chromebook, that is, a computer with almost all functionality out in the cloud instead of locally installed programs. It goes quite far for many users, especially when there are now powerful web applications for everything from Office to simple image processing, and loads of streaming media services.
This may never be your main computer, but if you need something light, flexible and uncomplicated and you know you have a good Wi-Fi connection, a Chromebook will go a long way.
And the HP Chromebook 13 G1 is one of the best-looking, most comfortable and high-quality Chromebooks we’ve seen. The construction is top class, a deliciously slim 13-incher in brushed aluminum and scratch-resistant matte black composite. It is quite reminiscent of the Specter X360 that came out last fall, but its screen cannot be folded back a full turn, and here we have a more traditional notebook design.
The screen also doesn’t have touch functionality, but that’s probably just as well, we’re dubious about how Chrome OS handles it. However, we get an excellent backlit keyboard with good response and a solid mousepad.
Confusing screen management
In addition to the luxury feel in the chassis, it is precisely the screen that makes the Chromebook 13 stand out. It has a resolution of a whopping 3,200 x 1,800 pixels, which provides excellent sharpness, especially if we look at high-resolution images or play movies.
When we start the computer for the first time, it is set to 1600 x 900, but that is not entirely true. It still displays high-definition media crisply, and fonts and the like make use of all the pixels, but the interface is resized to what it would look like on a 900p screen. If we then raise the “official” resolution to 1800p (3200 x 1800) then icons, mouse pointers etc. become eternally small.
This is the first pixel-dense Chromebook we’ve tested, so we haven’t had reason to mess around with display settings that much before. It’s clear that Google needs to review and simplify that part. We get the best combination of useful interface and extra workspace if we choose 1920×1080 pixels. But it is of course a matter of taste. It is also possible to customize some details separately, such as scaling in web pages and font size.
Plug in external audio
The screen also gives us quite good color reproduction for everyday use with full srgb color, decent contrast and almost 300 cd/m2 in brightness. If we lower the brightness slightly, even the blackness in dark areas becomes enjoyable, which makes the screen excellent for watching movies on.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about its speakers. They are signed Bang & Olufsen, but there is not much that feels like Danish audio quality with its thin and diffuse sound. A pair of good headphones or external speakers is recommended.
The computer has plenty of external connections, both a normal usb and two of the new usc c type. The power adapter is plugged into one of the usb c ports, but even then you have two connections left. There is no additional screen output, but HP sells an adapter for usb c to hdmi or display port.
From standard to fast
The Chromebook 13 G1 is available in three variants where the big difference is the different powerful processor. We have tested the simplest of the three with Intel Pentium processor. It’s pretty much what we’re used to in Chromebooks from before, and performance is good if not amazing.
For normal browsing, web-based Office and other individual applications it works perfectly, but in some more demanding Chrome apps and excessive multitasking we notice a certain lag. It’s on par with most Chromebook models. We also notice that it struggles a bit with some formats of high-definition video, while others flow smoothly.
Then there are also models of the Chromebook 13 G1 with an Intel Core processor, specifically the Core m3 and Core m5. With such under the hood, we might get slightly better performance when streaming 4k video from Youtube, but otherwise more computing power is not something that we immediately feel we need.
Can the Chromebook with a slightly more luxurious feel and higher price tag be a success? Perhaps. HP does most things right in the Chromebook 13 G1, although a couple of small things cause it to miss a real top rating.
The screen, chassis, good ergonomics and accessories via usb c means that it can be worth more money than we would normally pay for a Chromebook. But we are more often than not at the performance ceiling, so the more powerful and slightly more expensive Core m models may be a smarter choice. If you want to pay “full PC price” for a Chromebook, you might as well bet on it.
Facts HP Chromebook 13 G1 W4M19EA#UUW
Processor: Intel Pentium 4405Y, 1.5 GHz dual core
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515
Memory: 4 GB dd3
Storage: 32 GB ssd, space for micro sd
Screen: 13.3 inch blank ips, 3200×1800 pixels
Connections: 2 pcs usb 3.1 type c, usb 3.1 type a, headset
Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, bluetooth 4.2
Operating system: Chrome OS, 64 bit
Battery life: 5h 45min 1080p web video, approx. 9h word processing
Size: 31.2 x 22 x 1.3 cm
Weight: 1.29 kg
Award: SEK 7,500
Well built and stylish
High resolution monitor
Plenty of connections and options
Good wifi reception
Some performance issues in this model
Relatively high price