It’s 2023 and I am still on a quest to find an affordable Windows laptop that isn’t a burning pile of garbage. Although I’ve always maintained that those who fall into that category should get Chromebooks I do understand that many people are very angry about this recommendation.
The HP 14 is a 14″ silver laptop we bought from Amazon at $289. The HP 14 has a Core i3 11th Gen processor, 4GB RAM and 256GB storage. This is about the cheapest Windows laptop you can find. HP’s MSRP is $469, but it can be had for much less. To see if this is a good budget buy, I used the device from morning until night.
- Priced at a great price
- Unexpectedly useful gaming experience
- Fun keyboard
- SD slot
- Clunky chassis
- Small and stiff touchpad
- Thin audio
- Limitation of RAM and storage
The first thing I did was turn on my HP 14 to try and load all the programs I use for review testing, including Chrome, Slack and Spotify. I also tried to calibrate the display. No matter how hard Microsoft tries to convince me, I won’t switch to Edge. The HP 14 came out of the package in mode. That was not going to work. I shut it off immediately. The laptop ran just fine.
After that, I opened around 10 Chrome Tabs and Slack to start my day. The first time I did this, a few things were frozen. I had to restart the computer. It seemed to solve the problem. Some things don’t change.
The Core i3 was able to handle my workload with ease. It was never a time when I felt restricted or that I had to close tabs in order to avoid slowdown. To be clear, it wasn’t quick,, but I was able to get all the work done I needed with minimal thumb-twiddling.
I made several video calls using Google Meet with the “HP TrueVision HD”, which was placed on top of my Chrome tabs. They ran smoothly (which I cannot say about many cheap laptops). My co-workers said that the video feed I sent was grainy, and they could not make out many details. However, there was no lag or disruption on my part.
They were loud at first, but quieted down afterward. The fans were definitely chugging, but were much more polite than those of some premium laptops.
As I worked, I also noticed that I liked the keyboard. The keyboard is quite lively with generous clicks and lots of space. HP has even included a row of hotkeys for Page Up and Page Down on the left. There is quite a bitflex in the plastic casing (what else would you expect for $289?). My typing did slightly press the keyboard. But that doesn’t bother me as much.
Scrolling was the worst part. The touchpad is small. Even though I have small fingers, I still hit plastic trying to quickly move down pages. Just keep in mind that it is not comfortable or easy to press. It’s not for people with limited mobility. (Or this chassis, in general. The lid is difficult to open with just one hand.
I watched a few seconds of Succession during lunchtime. I’m still catching-up from last weekend so please don’t ruin it. The episode looked great on the 1920×1080 screen. This is a higher resolution than most Windows laptops under $400. The colors were not washed-out or off. The brightness is a little dim, but it’s fine for indoor usage. It was the speakers that were the biggest obstacle for me to enjoy media on this device. I had to turn them up to maximum volume to be able to hear clearly. You may have to lean forward to hear the caller if you’re using this device in an outdoor setting or with a lot of background noise.
In the afternoon, I edited some photos (the ones that I took for this review). Look at that! There’s a SD slot. This is a great feature, especially considering how many expensive laptops that I have reviewed recently had no ports. The device was able to last for around six and half hours on a single charge. This should make some 14-inch laptops take a hard look at themselves.