PROS / The HP Chromebook 13 G1 boasts an impressive 3200 x 1800 display.
CONS / It had one of the worst battery lives in our review.
VERDICT / The HP Chromebook 13 G1 is a strong performer and has a great display, but it’s dragged down by an average feature set and disappointing battery life.
The HP Chromebook 13 G1 is the sort of system that looks great on paper – it’s a new Chromebook with a lush design and excellent components that justify its premium price tag. However, those touches are counterbalanced by disappointments like short battery life, and even the standout features are a mixed blessing. Despite some impressive specs, the end result falls flat.
Our review unit was outfitted with an Intel Core m5-6Y57, a 1.1GHz CPU designed to balance the performance and energy-efficiency needs of ultramobile laptops. This is paired with an impressive 8GB of RAM but only the standard 32GB of local storage. While the small allotment of storage space is standard in a category that depends on cloud storage, the 8GB of memory may actually be overkill. It comes in handy during certain resource-intensive tasks, such as heavy media streaming, but generally speaking, there won’t be a noticeable difference between this and a similar model with only 4GB of RAM.
HP's Chromebook 13 G1 scored a very good 164.2 points in the JetStream 1.1 test and a respectable 46 frames per second (fps) in WebGL Aquarium, making it one of the fastest Chromebooks in our review. However, these performance results are tempered by another; the HP Chromebook 13 G1 only lasted six hours and 48 minutes in Laptop Mag’s battery test, a tie for the worst battery life in our review. When other models in our Chromebook comparison last 10 hours or more, that’s a serious disappointment.
The laptop’s design is impeccable, with an aluminum unibody design that looks and feels like a premium laptop. At first glance, it ticks off all the boxes for a top-of-the-line laptop in any category, with a brushed metal chassis, backlit keyboard and Bang & Olufsen speakers. It measures 12.59 x 8.64 x 0.50 inches and weighs just 2.86 pounds, making it the thinnest Chromebook we reviewed and the lightest among the 13-inch models.
The Chromebook’s stand out feature is its 13.3-inch display, which boasts 3200 x 1800 resolution, delivering better than full HD quality. However, the display’s bright, pixel dense IPS panel is also the main culprit behind those disappointing battery life numbers. The laptop also comes set to a default resolution of only 1600 x 900. This is likely because Chrome OS doesn’t handle scaling well; text and icons shrink to an unusable size when the resolution is dialed up to the higher setting.
But it’s feature set is also a step or two behind the times, with no touch support, no Android app support and no video output without a separate adapter. The laptop is outfitted with two USB-C ports and one USB 3.0 port, as well as a microSD card slot.
The Chromebook 13 G1 is covered by HP’s standard one-year warranty. Our colleagues at Laptop Mag gave HP high marks in their independent evaluation of tech support services, citing the numerous online support offerings and praising the well-organized and easy-to-search database of manuals, troubleshooting guides and FAQs. Support personnel can be reached via phone, email, live chat and social media.
The HP Chromebook 13 G1 looks and feels like one of the best notebook computers of any category, but our enthusiasm for the laptop is hampered by some of the worst battery life in our review and a lack of compelling features like touch support and Android apps. It’s still a quality device, but the flaws keep it from getting our recommendation over top-rated Chromebooks.