Looking for a large laptop with a smaller price? The 15.6-inch HP Chromebook Plus gets a $200 discount through this Sunday. Normally priced at $499, you can snag one for just $299.
Like all other Chromebook Plus models, the 15.6-inch HP Chromebook Plus meets certain hardware requirements. At this price, don’t expect this Chromebook to exceed them. In particular, take note of the CPU.
The HP Chromebook Plus CPU
Technically the Intel N-305 qualifies as having a minimum 12th gen Intel Core processor for the Plus program. However, even though it’s a year newer than the Intel Core i3-1215U found in other Chromebook Plus models, it has some minor shortcomings.
You can see them all in this comparison chart on Intel’s site, but here are a differences that jumped out at me:
- The N-305 has eight processing cores, which is two more than the Core i3-1215U. The latter has four 3.3 GHz efficiency cores and two 4.4 GHz performance cores. Intel’s N-305 uses all efficiency cores running at 3.8 GHz. That’s good for battery life, but a hit on potential performance.
- The Core i3-1215U has more than 50% additional L3 cache memory than the N-305 chipset. More cache memory means the CPU isn’t waiting as long for data that it needs to access the most often.
- There’s only a single memory channel supported on the N-305, while the Core i3-1215U supports dual channel RAM. Think of memory channels as pipes to access data; a single channel uses a single pipe while two channels can access memory from both at the same time.
- Both chipsets use Intel UHD graphics with one slight difference. The N-305 is limited to three monitors. The 1215U chipset supports four.
Are these major differences? Nope, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point them out.
Unless you have a very specific requirement, say four monitor outputs, then you’re not likely to notice the difference in systems using one of these chips over the other.
Basic features all here on this Chromebook
The big draw with this HP Chromebook Plus model is literally the big screen. There aren’t may Chromebooks with a 15.6-inch display. It’s a 1080p, non-touch IPS LCD with a minimally acceptable 250 nits of brightness and 16:9 aspect ratio.
With the larger screen you have a larger device, of course. That provides space for a dedicated number pad. It also contributes to this HP Chromebook Plus weighing 3.81 pounds (1.73 kg).
Add in the lack of back lighting on the keyboard as something to keep in mind here. If you need it, this is not the laptop for you. The same goes for a full-sized HDMI jack. Aside from those missing features, the rest of the hardware is quite solid.
The Intel N-305 is paired with 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of local storage. The storage should be faster than the less expensive eMMC type; HP is using faster UFS instead. The 1080p webcam includes a privacy shutter. You’re limited to a pair of USB Type-C ports, one Type-A and a microSD card for storage expansion. Connectivity is found through the Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 radios.
With the 54 WHr battery runs “up to 13.25 hours” according to Google but I’d estimate 8-10 with typical usage. Quick charging brings the battery from empty to half-full in 45 minutes.
The HP Chromebook Plus is capable for most users
Overall, I’d say this is a higher-end budget Chromebook or a lower-end mid-range one. I don’t think it’s worth the full $499 price tag considering other available Chromebook Plus options that cost lost.
Forty percent off though Sunday though? You’ll get the “Chromebook Plus” experience spread out across a large screen for $299. At that price, the investment is worth it, provided this model meets your feature requirements.
If it does and you’re a typical ChromeOS user, meaning everyday browsing and a few Android apps, it’s worth consideration while discounted.