12 “IPS 3: 2 convertible touchscreen tablet, + 10h, 1.3 kg
Appeared in 2011, the Chromebook has built its legitimacy over the years, mainly in the United States. In Europe, he is only starting to find his followers thanks to arguments that appeal: simplicity, endurance, stability and low price.
HP Chromebook x360 12 review: released in 2019 promises to be the perfect ambassador of these values to which it adds the modularity of its convertible configuration, the comfort of its 3:2 screen and the solid and elegant side of its neat design. Does it tick all the boxes of the perfect Chromebook?
Specifications for the HP Chromebook x360 12b-ca0005nf
|Screen (s)||12.0 “HD 3: 2 LED IPS 235 nits (1366×912, bright)|
|Processor||Intel Celeron N4000 Gemini Lake (1.1 GHz, 2 cores)|
|RAM installed||4 GB LPDDR4-2400 (soldered)|
|Graphic card||Intel UHD Graphics 600|
|Storage||32 GB eMMC|
|Connectivity||1 USB 3.1 + 2 USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen1), microSD|
|Network||Wi-Fi ac (2×2), Bluetooth 5.0|
|Audio system||2 speakers|
|Operating system||Chrome OS|
|Autonomy announced / Battery||11 hours / Li-ion polymer 2 cells 40.31 Wh|
|Weight / Dimensions (mm)||1.35 Kg / 272 x 216 x 17.3|
Chassis / Design of the HP Chromebook x360 12
You do not follow particularly the Chromebook news? Then you must surely have in mind the image of the plastic Chromebook, topped with a colorful chrome logo and a little “cheap” appearance. Except that in 2019, the sector has largely revised its standards and now offers elegant and well-designed machines, like the HP Chromebook x360 12.
As you approach it, you notice its “ceramic white” back with a silky print that creates a soft contrast with the aluminum color of the base. It’s fitting, especially since HP has taken care of the small details with its logo and its mirror hinges and the mention “Chrome” more sober than usual.
The grip confirms this impression of quality, despite its small weight of 1.3 kg. The Chromebook has a beautiful unity, without sharp edges, and its external surfaces offer satisfactory resistance to pressure. Its format more compact than an A4 sheet (272 x 216 x 17.3 mm) is sufficiently compact goes almost unnoticed in a bag.
Then comes the time to open it and discover the touch screen which covers the black borders, all bypassed with white. At the time of borderless, some may find the black frame a little thick even if HP has made an effort on the side edges (7 mm). Note on this subject that as it is a convertible tablet, it is good to keep the borders wide enough to avoid an input error when handling the device in tablet mode.
HP used metal for the interior of its base, an excellent point considering the price. This surface offers appreciable rigidity and is more durable than plastic/polycarbonate. On the other hand, we can blame him for his cold contact under the palms.
We have in our hands a convertible computer, that is to say, that the screen swings 360 degrees around the base. In this game, the hinges inspire confidence and impose enough resistance not to hinder the manipulation while allowing the screen not to “almost” rebound from the manipulation, faced with an energetic strike for example. And if you feel like using the touchscreen to close a window or browse content, the screen will never scroll under your fingers.
On the flip side, you have to be patient to open the Chromebook despite the small notch cut in the front of the base, especially as the top of the screen is magnetic to secure the closure and the unit of the device in tablet mode. Anyone who does not have a short nail length will have to do it twice and always with both hands.
Connections / Ports of the HP Chromebook x360 12
The Chromebook X360 12 ignores its small format and offers a fairly well-supplied connection, consisting of two USB 3.1 Type-C Gen1 ports (5 Gbit / s, 3.0 power supply, DisplayPort 1.2) – one on each side – one standard USB 3.1 Type-A port, microSD card reader and Kensington anti-theft clip. There is also the Power button incorporating an LED and the volume buttons.
The left edge also hides a magnetic space to attach a stylus (not supplied). It is well thought out.
HP Chromebook x360 12 audio system
Positioned behind a grid placed just above the keyboard, the stereo speakers provide a clean and powerful sound experience for a 12 inch. The rendering is clear with good spatialization and the maximum volume fills a room without too much distortion but the bass is muffled and the whole lacks depth.
If the integration is aesthetic and comfortable when using the laptop in standard position, the rocking of the screen projects the sound at the back and it is even “worse” when the Chromebook is placed on a flat surface in mode tablet, the sound is then clearly distorted.
In this case, we prefer to use the headphone jack, which offers a more immersive and beautiful sound.
HP Chromebook x360 12 Keyboard / Touchpad
For us, the keyboard of this HP Chromebook is a strong point. It fills the space allocated by the base well with fairly large keys (15.5 x 15.5 mm) spaced 3 mm apart, its stroke is not too short and the return is noticeable. Some may find the feeling a little soft and a certain lack of efficiency.
Small singularity linked to the ecosystem, a “magnifying glass” key for quick access replaces the Shift Lock key. There is also no Delete key and the function keys are specific to Chrome OS. Adaptation is however very fast, whether you come from a Mac or Windows environment.
Overall, the typing is comfortable and quiet, the impact is soft and the layout is classic. The letters therefore naturally fall under the fingers. Note also that the white keys contrast well with the lettering, which makes it possible to forget the absence of backlighting.
Let’s talk about the touchpad now which is large enough (125 x 82 mm) to execute multi-touch gestures without hindrance. Navigation with two or three fingers is fast and its slightly rough plastic coating is not unpleasant as long as you keep your fingers dry. It is a rather efficient pad that does the job on the move but its slightly soft and imprecise click will make you turn to a mouse as soon as your installation allows it.
HP Chromebook x360 12 display
Several points generate enthusiasm about the screen. At first, there is no doubt, we are dealing with an IPS panel with a display visible from almost all angles. This is essential for a mobile convertible to date.
Also – and this is probably its greatest strength – its format has an aspect ratio of 3: 2 (like the Microsoft Surface Laptop). This less elongated format than the standard 16: 9 is perfect in office automation since it offers a display in more complete portrait mode, that is to say, it requires less scrolling for reading and navigation more practical. Conversely, viewing a video will wipe wider black bands than at 16: 9.
So we get a native HD + definition (1366 x 912 pixels), closer to HD (1366 x 768 px) than Full HD (1920 x 1080 px). On 12 inches, it’s quite honest even if the display betrays more the positioning “cheap” of the machine with a rendering a little too hot, especially since no adjustment is offered by Chrome OS. Anyway, you adapt quickly and that does not prevent you from enjoying its content. Let us note in passing the option of programmable night lighting, very fashionable at the moment.
As we face a shiny panel, the brightness of the screen must fight a good dose of reflections. And it must be admitted that at full power (235 nits according to HP), it is doing well. In a bright room with large openings, we were never forced to move the Chromebook by the gene of reflections, even back to a window. Of course, we are far from the rendering of high-end tiles in the sector but at its level, the small HP does not disappoint.
The touch is functional and responds very well to the finger but also offers support for the USI stylus for Universal Stylus Initiative (4096 pressure levels).
A word on the “Wide Vision HD” webcam now. As on many entry-level computers, it is not the device that will make the difference here but it has the advantage of offering a wide angle of view, useful during a family video call for example. The colors are fairly accurate and the rendering detailed, at least when the light in the room is sufficient. A significant noise manifests itself otherwise.
The webcam is surrounded by two long-range microphones that allow interaction with the Google Assistant with a simple voice command “Ok Google”. If this function is more anecdotal than on a dedicated speaker (connected to your home automation for example), it can still be useful in certain situations where your hands are taken. As such, let us underline the effectiveness of the microphones that pick up your voice from a distance of 10 meters.
Performance of the HP Chromebook x360 12
Chrome OS requires we could not run our usual benchmarks. It must also be said that by definition, power is not the workhorse of a Chromebook, especially with regard to the small Intel Celeron N4000 Dual-Core (1.1 GHz) which drives our HP Chromebook x360 12b.
We will, therefore, judge laptop resources more subjectively. For this, we have launched a dozen tabs of all kinds under Chrome. If switching between the tabs by sliding three fingers on the touchpad was fluid, launching the “File” tab took a few seconds, just like displaying a complex web page (here the Cdiscount site) with a slightly scroll jerky.
We are talking about a few seconds of latency which can just as easily go unnoticed by most of you. So tell yourself that overall, there is nothing to fear in the context of conventional use, everything is reactive. The processor takes care of everything Chrome OS has to offer, from navigation to word processing to video streaming, with even a few possibilities at play. Well, most observers will see a display of textures not always instant on a game like Asphalt 8 and some slowdowns in actions, but then again, nothing that really spoils the experience.
The rest of the data-sheet is just as discreet in the configuration tested (12b-ca0005nf) with the support of 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB eMMC storage. In itself, again, these specs do not constitute a break in a usual setting. Especially since the small storage space can possibly be extended via the microSD port.
A word on Chrome OS
The Chrome OS environment is an online system (cloud computer), that is, it stores most of the files and data that are not useful to the system in the cloud. This is why the 32 GB of integrated storage is not alarming.
To use Chrome OS, you must sign in with your Google Account. It gives you access to all Google services like Gmail, Maps, Docs, Sheets, and Drive. You can also download apps, extensions, and other themes to personalize your Chromebook in the Chrome Web Store. Some games are also available, as well as all the productivity tools like professional messaging Slack, Word or Excel but for these, you will first have to buy Office365.
To go further, Chrome OS also opens on the Play Store and on the multitude of applications offered by this Android catalog: Netflix, social networks, Spotify, VLC and even Adobe Lightroom (mobile version). Note that the majority of Android applications run without problems on a Chromebook but are optimized to work by touch. Controlling them with a keyboard and a mouse is therefore not always pleasant.
Another clarification, this HP Chromebook x360 12 allows you to install Linux very simply, enough to access other software as well, as long as you are comfortable enough with the terminal. And the few players who would be frustrated by the capabilities of this little machine can always turn to Google Stadia, a cloud gaming service on-demand run remotely, which therefore does not use the resources of the Chromebook.
Noise / Temperatures of the HP Chromebook x360 12
This is an area where a Chromebook doesn’t have to worry too much. Indeed, its cooling is managed passively, that is to say, that there is no fan inside the chassis to evacuate the hot air. At the same time, its small processor (6w) gives off very little heat.
The x360 12b is perfectly silent and the calorific repercussion is almost nonexistent except for a slight feeling of heat on the left part under the base when charging the battery or during a frenzied part on Asphalt 8.
Battery life / battery of HP Chromebook x360 12
With its 40.31 Wh Li-ion Polymer battery, the HP Chromebook x360 12 offers an average autonomy of 10.45 hours via Wifi (average brightness level 10/16). In airplane mode with the minimum brightness, its endurance rises to almost 30 hours while a little more demanding use like the game will lower the total to 4:30.
possible to “forget” your Chromebook at the bottom of the bag and take it back 3 days later to continue your work without delay, and repeatedly.
For a mobile machine, the 45W USB-C power adapter is a bit bulky (283g) but provides 2.8 m of cable to keep the range of motion. Better yet, thanks to charging via USB-C, you can take an external battery on the go and thus benefit from increased autonomy without approaching a single socket.
Our opinion on the HP Chromebook x360 12
If the HP Chromebook x360 12 is not for everyone because of the inherent limits of Chrome OS and its small config, it still marks a good gap with the competition under Windows 10 (S) and looks great alongside other Chromebooks on the market.
Starting from a low price under 300 euros, it combines beautiful robust design, light and comfortable to carry, an autonomy that exceeds 10 hours, a format convertible into a modular tablet and a simple and functional system. It is already much asked at this level.
Of course, there are a few things that go wrong, such as the not very natural rendering of the image or the small performances, but these are consistent sacrifices that are perfectly acceptable given the sale price.
In short, the HP Chromebook x360 12 is clearly a machine to recommend if you are looking for a budget solution for office automation, easy to handle. Especially since Chrome OS is never better off than in a compact convertible given its design.
HP Chromebook x360 12 scores 4/5
- Elegant chassis of good quality
- Convertible modularity
- Excellent autonomy and efficient standby
- Little price
- Unnatural screen
- Light configuration with 4 GB of RAM