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Review HP Chromebase – All-in-One Chrome Desktop with Rotating Display


hey everybody it’s lancib and we’ve got another chrome os device to check out today this is the hp chrome base and this is an all-in-one computer that allows you to rotate its screen whenever you want to go from the horizontal to the vertical and we’re going to be taking a closer look at this all-in-one computer in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that this came in on loan from hp so we’re done with this it goes back to them all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this computer is all about now the price point on this comes in at under 600. there are two processor options available one is a pentium 6405 u processor the other is an i3 10 110 u-chip i would recommend going with the i3 if you intend to run a lot of android apps have very intensive web-based apps to run on it or are looking to do a lot of linux apps on the machine if not i think the pentium will be just fine for doing the basics the display is a 21.5 inch display it’s running at 1080p it’s not the brightest thing in the world i would say it’s probably at around 300 nits or so but it’s more than adequate for a basic home computer and the display is attached to its base here i’ll slide i’ll swing it around here so you can see what it looks like so it’s kind of got this traffic cone-like design to it but the computer itself is actually slightly elevated off the surface of the table with the base so if somebody spills something on a desk or whatever it won’t damage the computer necessarily unless you’ve got a whole big flood going on like a lot of other hp home computers it’s got a nice set of carpet on it as well it’s got a fabric to it that feels pretty nice and it’s got a lot of weight to it so it won’t easily be knocked down it’s got a good amount of

weight in its base here it weighs 15.37 pounds or 6.97 kilograms now the display is up a bit higher than i typically like and that’s because of its ability to flip around like this and there is no way to lower the display it is locked in place here although you do have a little bit of flexibility in the angle of the display if you want to rotate the display you’ve got to move the whole base station here but beyond that i think it’s a pretty interesting looking unit some people think it’s really ugly others like the way it looks so i think it’s all in the eye of the beholder here as to whether or not this is an attractive piece for your home decor i’m just positioning it here so i can show you the ports on the back it has two usb 3 ports here these are running at 10 gigabits per second each so you can put in some of those gen 2 devices on it it also has two usb type-c ports here oddly these are at five gigabits per second actually running at a slower data rate than these two so if you have a higher speed ssd or something that you’re trying to connect to it i would connect it up to the older ports here the usb a ports versus the c ports but the usbc ports support video output so you can actually hook up two additional displays to this so you could potentially have this one running in the portrait mode here and then have two regular displays hanging off of it and it supports displayport 1.2 so you can have those external displays

running at 4k 60 each and this one will run at 1080p additionally it is a touchscreen so you can interact with your fingers here in addition to using the mouse with it and speaking of the mouse it comes with a wireless mouse and keyboard in the box these work over bluetooth so you don’t need to plug in a dongle or anything into the back of the computer so these ports will stay clear they are basic transportation though they run off of aaa batteries they’re made out of plastic so they don’t feel terrific but they’re good enough i think for something that’s packed into the box the keyboard is not bad it’s got a nice angle to it it’s lightweight plastic but it’s got good key travel and the keys are well spaced so it’s not too bad to type on actually the keyboard though is not backlit but the computer here does support bluetooth as we saw with these two devices and of course it’s got those usb ports in the back so you could hook up any keyboard or mouse that you want to to this device because just about anything that works over bluetooth or usb will work with this computer now the chromebase is upgradable you can swap out the ram and storage if you want it has two ram slots on board and one nvme slot this review loader came with 16 gigabytes of ram two sticks of eight and it has a 256 gigabyte ssd now if you are shopping for this there’s a bunch of different memory options available and the one that i would suggest you look at is an eight gigabyte configuration where it has two sticks of four

installed and the reason is is that these computers perform best when both of those ram slots are occupied and they have an eight gig configuration where there is only one ram stick installed and that will not perform as well as the option they have for two four gigabyte sticks same amount of memory but you get a little more performance out of the two-stick ram option unfortunately it’s a little complicated they should have just simplified it and made the two-stick option the default but that’s not how it is listed currently on their website now it does have a 1080p webcam on board but it does provide a little bit of extra headroom because of how high it sits here based on the size of the overall unit so you might have to adjust your chair or yourself to get better positioned it has a neat mechanism up here for blocking the camera lens so if you slide it over to the mid point here it’ll block the lens but will leave the microphone open and then if you slide it all the way over to the right it will block the lens and mute the microphone so you don’t have to do any software controls here to deactivate the web camera or the mic all right let’s take a look now and see how it performs i’ve got a little extra room here just so you can see how the screen rotation works on it we’re going to go load up the nasa.gov homepage now and see how everything renders in and as you can see it is very snappy and

responsive here on the i3 version and i don’t think you’ll see much of a difference with the pentium version provided you’re looking at one page at a time at least in so far as how everything feels but as you can see here with the touch screen it works really nicely i can grab the mouse and have it scroll the same way now if we’re on an article here as you can see when we’re in the horizontal orientation we have to scroll a lot to see everything but if i grab the screen here and just rotate it now i can fit a lot more on the screen at once i can even zoom in on the portion of the text that i want to read and make everything larger so it’s kind of neat to have this ability to very quickly shift orientations here without having to go into control panels and to flip things around additionally if you’re in something like google docs and you’re working on a document many times to really see the whole page you have to scroll down or make everything smaller here if i just rotate the screen i can keep it all at the same size but now i can fit a page and a half on here versus just half a page when i’m in this mode there’s a lot of reasons why this is a neat feature to have and i think it’s kind of neat to

again be able to very quickly shift back and forth another interesting component here is that this does not put the chrome device into tablet mode so you can have movable windows here in the vertical orientation the same way you’d have it on the horizontal orientation so on some of the tablet devices that run chrome os it makes everything full screen when you’re in tablet mode here there is no tablet mode it is always in desktop mode and you can have multiple windows when you have the screen in this orientation and on the browserbench.org speedometer benchmark test we got a score of 120 that puts this right in line with a few other chrome os devices we’ve looked at running with the very same processor on the pentium version you’ll probably see a score at around 100 or so so it’ll be a little slower but i think for web browsing it won’t be all that noticeable and we found the youtube performance to be pretty decent on this we always like to load up a 60 frames per second video to see how it performs it did drop a couple of frames when it first started but once it got going all was good from a video playback perspective now one thing i’m going to

recommend when it comes to video playback on this device is to use the web browser not the android apps that will be available for many popular video services the reason is is that the drm the copyright protection that they install into all of these apps doesn’t allow in many cases for the best visual quality so my advice again would be to use the chrome web browser here and do not install the android versions of netflix or youtube or anything else like that because you will see better quality video using the web browser on here there are some nice speakers on this it’s got stereo speakers on the left and right hand side of the unit they actually sound pretty good they’ve got a good range of sound to them a little bit of bass as well and it’s good for music for movies and for having web conferences but of course you can plug headphones into the headphone jack in the back or connect up something via bluetooth if you want now as i mentioned it does have the google play store like you’ll find on most modern chrome os devices you can download games and apps not every gaming app though is compatible because this is running with an intel processor and not with an

arm processor like most tablets and phones run with but still you’ll find a pretty good library of games and other apps to play so here is crossy road that you can use the touchscreen with and i can even flip the screen around here and get a nice big play experience with this game and many other android games i also found that having a screen that can flip over like this is pretty useful for video game emulation especially older arcade titles so for example we’ve got zaxxon running here let me just start the game up real quick and as you can see it looks like it does on most 1080p displays where you’ve got this narrow visual in the middle but if i flip the screen around here you can see that i’ve got a much larger image now and of course i could probably adjust things to get it more centered and it looks pretty neat because you can really take advantage of having this vertical display for games that were typically played vertically on older crt arcade monitors and then of course you can slip it around here and go right back to where you were this is running in retro arch with a main core but i think i could really mess around with this a little bit and get it working out pretty nicely here and again it’s really neat to be able to jump back and forth between vertical and horizontal here without a lot of friction now soon there will be a way to

run steam pc games on chrome os if your computer has an intel processor like this one does but note this is not a very powerful computer from a gaming perspective so you can run some of those older games like we saw but it doesn’t have the graphical horsepower to run any modern games really so your best bet if and when steam becomes officially available will be older titles like half-life 2 and things from that era along with casual games that might be in your steam library but this is not going to be a gaming powerhouse by any means but one thing you can do on it is stream games and a little bit earlier we loaded up google stadia to see how that might work and as you can see we got a connection error because it was connecting over wi-fi because there’s no ethernet option built in so i think if you do want to do something like google stadia here it’ll work okay with wi-fi provided you’ve got a really good connection to your wi-fi access

point and there’s not that much going on wirelessly in the house but i think you’ll want to get one of those usb ethernet dongles for the best experience especially with higher quality streaming providers like google stadia and geforce now i did try the microsoft game pass the other day and that worked really nicely on here you can hook up your xbox controller to it for both stadia and game pass and other things that support game controllers and all in for game streaming it’s adequate but again i would really recommend connecting it to a wired network for the best results all right one last thing to take a look at and that is how linux apps perform on this device and of course chrome os now has linux built right in you have to enable it in the system settings with a single click and once you do that you got your command prompt here and you can install applications a little bit earlier i installed libreoffice which is an office suite that runs locally on the device here and you get a spreadsheet a word processor a database app basically an old school microsoft office kind of experience here and what’s nice is that the linux apps conform to this screen thing as nicely as the

android and web browsing applications do it very quickly reorients everything and it all seems to work very seamlessly as you can see here so i’ve been very impressed with just the experience here of flipping the screen back and forth because it’s not something that we usually see with a pc we often see monitors that can be oriented in a certain way but you often have to go into settings and move things around this is a very easy way to change a screen orientation based on what you’re doing at the time and i really like the fact that you can install additional displays with this thing to have a lot of flexibility in how you view your data throughout the day so for the price here i think this is a pretty nice little machine it’s up to you is to decide whether or not it’s attractive or not but i don’t feel all that offended by its looks and i can see how this could be really useful for people that are very much invested in the chrome os ecosystem the performance is good you’ve got some upgradeability on it and all together i think for the price here it’s a pretty good value that is going to do it for now until next time this is lon sideman thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters jim tannis and tom albrecht hot sauce and video games and eric’s variety channel ryan parker and frank goldman amda brown and matt zagaya and chris allegretta if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe visit lawn dot tv s

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