The most interesting product I have ever reviewed
That headline isn’t an exaggeration. The HP Chromebase All-in-One 22 exceeded my expectations from a desktop PC. It was nothing less than magic in a box. And I’m not only referring to the fact that it’s capable of being rotated from portrait to landscape view. Everything from its clear and sharp colors and super-fast speeds to its impressive brightness and remarkable audio is worth recommending. All in all, HP won the game with this one.
Easy Setup and Plenty of Accessories
I braced myself for a time-taking and elaborate setup process because that’s what I have always come across while setting PCs up. The HP Chromebase is an exception. It’s a no-nonsense product that comes with only those components that are necessary. At the same time, the accessories display extreme generosity too. Considering the Chromebase starts at a very reasonable price of just $429.99, HP has been quite considerate to include a wireless keyboard and a Bluetooth mouse in the package. Both the accessories are pretty decent, too. The company even made sure to include the batteries that go in the keyboard. It’s little things like these that go to show how much a brand truly cares about a great customer experience.
The other cardboard box in the package hosts the power cable, adapter and some necessary paperwork. You plug the power cable in a port that’s located on the underside of the machine and you’re good to go. That’s all the setting up the Chromebase requires from you.
Simple and Intuitive Controls
The Chromebase consists of a 21.5’’ screen which is held in place by a cone-shaped structure that doubles as the desktop’s speaker. On the back of the speaker, there’s a control panel featuring a power button, a 3.5mm audio jack, a pair of USB-C ports and a pair of USB-A slots. I fail to understand why there has been a recent shift towards featuring as few ports as possible. It rarely adds to the aesthetic of the device, and more often than not, is a huge inconvenience to the user. I’m glad HP took an alternate route and provided us with a generous number of ports. The side of the speaker hosts a volume rocker with the Bang & Olufsen logo emblazoned next to it. As soon as I saw this logo, I knew the device is going to offer superb audio.
This is my favorite control on the device. The top bezel of the display hosts a mic and camera privacy shutter that has three settings. Usually, we see camera switches on devices but the Chromebase also allows you to turn your mic on/off using the switch. Hence, you can switch between turning both on, both off or just the mic on. Again, a small gesture by the brand that goes a long way.
Incredibly bright display
The 21.5’’ 1920×1080 FHD IPS touch display may come as a shock to those of you who were expecting the Chromebase to feature a UHD screen. However, and trust me on this one, this display is absolutely stunning. It offers rich colors, crisp image quality and clear graphics. I played the same 4K video on the Chromebase and my laptop and I was stunned. The Chromebase made the content so much more interesting adding highly unique tones and highlights to every color it displayed while simultaneously making sure it doesn’t oversaturate anything. The way the colors popped out of the screen at me was very impressive.
I was also in disbelief as to how the display’s brightness score is only 250 nits. I think HP is being very, very modest with this spec. My room is well-lit already and I made sure to switch every lamp on and open every curtain. The Chromebase’s display still came through offering insanely sharp and bright colors. The glossy screen admittedly made glare a bit of an issue that was annoying to deal with. But the room to tilt the screen by 20 degrees helped me in fending off glare.
I was very eager to try out rotating the Chromebase. The company could have messed that up in multiple ways but like every other area of the machine, HP aced this too. Rotating the screen requires just one gentle push with one hand on the top-right of the display. It rotates smoothly but not so fast that you don’t have control over it. The display rotates intently and purposefully. And I absolutely loved that about it. The apps on the screen quickly adapted to the rotation every single time without any delay. The touch was fast and super responsive as well.
The HP Chromebase comes in various configurations and I received the most high-end version. The cheapest model features an Intel Pentium 6405U processor with 4GB RAM and a 64GB SSD. The configurations go up to an Intel Core i3 processor coupled with 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD. The lag-free, zero-stutter experience I had with the Chromebase could just have been because I received the best configuration. So, I can’t really make claims about the cheaper variants. However, looking at how the company has managed to keep everything in the device absolutely perfect, I’m sure they wouldn’t mess up something as significant as performance.
I watched quite a lot of YouTube and Netflix on this device, played a couple of games and read some articles I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I cannot begin to explain how convenient it was to scroll through a long article in portrait mode. It felt so fitting; as if that’s exactly how long articles should be read. Watching YouTube on the Chromebase was also a unique experience. After watching the video in landscape mode, I quickly shifted to portrait to read the comments.
The games ran with zero latency and the kind of smoothness a gaming laptop offers you. The graphics were fast, vivid and intense. I also engaged in some file sharing to test speeds and the results were more than satisfactory.
The HP Chromebase’s dual 5W speakers are unlike any speakers I have ever seen on a desktop PC. Bang & Olufsen did a terrific job at making the audio sound rich, heavy and thick. The bass is clearly the speaker’s best department but, at the same time, it makes sure that the low-end doesn’t sound too overbearing. Other elements of the orchestra get appropriate space as well. The sound profile is well-balanced, clear and sharp. It’s safe to say that, overall, the HP Chromebase is nothing less than a steal.
Is It Hardcore?
The HP Chromebase is an absolutely brilliant desktop PC. It has a stunning display, excellent performance and impressive audio. Considering its reasonable price, I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t go for it.