A couple of weeks ago HP brought their Joy Caravan to downtown Chicago. The Joyride was on a whirlwind 8 city tour of the US. The tour started at HP headquarters in Palo Alto with stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. They invited me to check out the setup.
They brought some major tech to Michigan Ave. with a tent full of laptops, tablets, printers, and more. It was cold outside, but it was worth enduring the chill for a bit. This was especially true for some lucky visitors that won prizes ranging from speakers to an HP Slate, Split x2, or a Chromebook.
And the kids were kept happy too. Santa was on hand to take photos. They also got to play games on the many computers. I even tried my luck at Fruit Ninja using HP Leap Motion technology. If you are accustomed to playing Kinect, then this is kind of similar. Instead of touching the laptop screen to slice the fruit I just made the knife motion in front of the screen and the camera detected my movements. Very cool!
There was also a music station setup using a HP tablet and an array of Beats Pill Speakers.
I was invited down to get my hands on some of the tech and to create a promo video. I must say that making a video in the cold was challenging. 🙂 I had to keep dapping my nose. And one of the hazards of doing a video in public is that someone WILL walk by in the background hindering your shot unusable. 🙂 And you will notice that it is two takes spliced together. I had my gloves on for one take, and off for the other. Oops! 🙂
You can also check out my video and others from the tour on the official HP Joy Ride website.
The Chromebook 14
As mentioned in the video as an added bonus I received an HP Chromebook 14 to play with and review. Believe it or not this is my first experience with a Chromebook. Before receiving this I had never even touched one! I received a white one, but the Chromebook 14 is now available in a few pretty awesome colors.
What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a PC that runs on Google's Chrome based operating system. Yes, like the browser. This is perfect for a user that can handle most of their business online. Since this PC is based on the Chrome based OS, you cannot just download and install Windows based PC apps. However, you have full access to any extensions that you can download from the Google Chrome store. This includes things like social apps, banking apps, and messenger apps. And of course since it is a Google based unit it is directly tied to your Gmail account, so you have seamless access to your Gmail, Google Calendar, Hangouts, and Drive documents and apps. You can use Drive to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
The model that I received, the HP Chromebook 14-q070nr, comes with 4G ready to go courtesy of T-Mobile. You get 200mb free per month. That may be enough to check a few emails. And if you need more, you can check out and sign up for a different plan on T-Mobile's website.
Operating system – Chrome OS
Processor – Intel® Celeron® 2955U with Intel HD Graphics (1.4 GHz, 2 MB cache, 2 cores)
Screen size – 14″ diagonal HD BrightView LED-backlit (1366 x 768)
Memory – On-board 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L
Hard drive – 16 GB SATA SSD
- Very reasonable price point: At $299 for the lower model and $349 for the higher end model this is a great price to add another laptop to your household, or pick up an extra machine for travel.
- Great Google Integration: Your Google account info, calendar, and apps are always at your finger tips.
- Long Battery life: The Chromebook has an estimated battery life
- A bit sluggish: When using it, it seems that after I had more than like 8-10 tabs open (a low number for me) in Chrome the computer started to drag.
- App Limitations: As mentioned, there is not downloading your favorite apps, unless of course they come from the Chrome Extensions store.
- Small hard drive: It comes with a 16GB SSD drive. Since you should be doing everything online you should not need the space, but be careful copying photos from SD cards, or downloading documents and photos from the internet. You may find yourself quickly out of space.
Since I a constantly editing photos, and videos I am a pretty app intensive user, so I cannot see using a Chromebook as a primary machine. However, if you want a great machine to browse, the web, check emails, and you can get everything that you need done from apps via the Chrome store, then a Chromebook will work out fine.
And now… win your own!