Windows 8 is a fine product, the soon-to-arrive Windows 8.1 will be much improved and HP will be offering a full line of Windows products for many years to come. That said, for HP to start down the Chrome OS path is a milestone. When Apple launched iOS in 2007 to augment the Mac OS, was it significant? Of course not. Did it become significant within a few years? You betcha!
The First HP Chromebook
It looks almost identical to any of HP's cheaper Windows laptops that you would pick up at Best Buy (BBY) or equivalent. It's black plastic that wins the General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev award for never making it near the Museum of Modern Art.
Black plastic is, however, durable, light and not as slippery as metal. I really don't care what it looks like as long as it's practical. So for me the HP Chromebook feels great, especially considering the bargain $300 price.The screen is 1366 by 768, and it's not touch -- unlike the 2560x1700 touchscreen Google Pixel for $1,000 more. It's also too dull for my taste; it needs to be be brighter, just like the Google Pixel. But it's just fine for basic productivity. As I said, I'm typing this review on it. The keyboard is okay, but not great. Apple, Samsung and Google itself have slightly better keyboards. When it comes to the trackpad, though, the differences are greater. This small trackpad with two buttons reeks of old Windows cheap stuff, and it doesn't hold a candle to Apple, Samsung and Google. Even after a week of using it, it kept slowing me down.
With three USB ports, one HDMI and one wired Ethernet, the HP Chromebook has plenty of ports. The battery is tiny, but removable. I never got it to last more than four hours typing my articles. It needs to be at least 50%-100% larger. Furthermore, this first HP Chromebook lacks LTE. I normally use LTE all the time because I'm paranoid about using WiFi. For this reason, I had to connect this laptop to my smartphone's LTE modem instead of connecting it directly to AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), T-Mobile or Sprint (S). The CPU speed and fan noise were both perfectly fine. It's quiet as a Tesla (TSLA) and whip-snap fast for basic productivity. There is nothing wrong with the performance of this HP Chromebook -- other than the obvious lack of advanced gaming capability. Then again, I work -- I don't play games or watch Netflix (NFLX). I type articles; I don't edit photos or pretend to be a DJ.