HP Laptop 14 review: A stylish, portable laptop for under $500

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Compact and well-builtExcellent keyboard and mouseGood battery lifePerformance is good for everyday tasks

Cons

Not the best screenNoisy cooling

Our Verdict

The HP Laptop 14 certainly impresses with its stylish design, low price point, comfortable keyboard, and so on. That said, the weak multitasking performance and annoying fan noise knock it down a few pegs.

When it comes to laptops, HP is chock-full of brands. They’ve got business laptops such as the Dragonfly and Elitebook models, and gaming machines such as the Omen and Victus. However, they’ve also got the HP Laptop, which is the manufacturer’s budget line of laptops.

If you’re looking for an attractive design and good performance for day-to-day tasks, the HP Laptop 14 will certainly deliver on those fronts. But while we like the low price tag and long battery life, HP definitely cuts corners with the screen and cooling system. Read on to learn more.

Looking for more options? Check out PCWorld’s roundup of the best laptops available right now.

HP Laptop 14: Specifications

Product name: HP Laptop 14-ep0865no
Tested: February 2024
Manufacturer:
Processor: Intel Core i3-1315U, 2pcs P-core up to 4.5 GHz, 4pcs E-core up to 3.3 GHz
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 64EU
Memory: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 14 inch matte ips, 1920×1080 pixels, 60 Hz
Webcam: 1080p
Connections: USB-C 3 Gen 1, 2pcs USB-A 3 Gen 1, HDMI, headset
Wireless: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3
Operating system: Windows 11 Home
Other: Fingerprint reader, backlit keyboard
Noise level: 0-40 dBa
Battery life: 3 hrs 10 min (high load, full brightness), 15 hrs 15 min (low load, low brightness)
Size: 32.4 x 21.5 x 1.7 cm
Weight: 3.08 lbs
Price:

HP Laptop 14 Rating: 3.5 out of 5

HP Laptop 14 Performance:

Cinebench R23, cpu all cores: 5,419 points
Cinebench R23, cpu single core: 1,617 points
Geekbench 6, cpu all cores: 4,953 points
Geekbench 6, cpu single core: 2,129 points
Geekbench 6, gpu: 9,731 points
Disk read: 3,623.99 MB/s
Disk write: 2,528.55 MB/s

Mattias Inghe

HP Laptop 14: Hardware and performance

The specifications are as follows: A simple Intel Core i3 processor of the power-efficient variety, 8GB of RAM RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, a small set of USB 3 ports, an HDMI connector, a headset jack, and a reliably good network connection via Wi-Fi 6.

This is a computer for browsing, office work, and perhaps simple image editing, unless you want to do something more advanced than scaling down and cropping images for a website. With an unusually low number of cores for a 13th generation Intel Core processor, only 6 in total, it’s not ideal for handling the multi-threaded needs of a Windows 11 PC and even the slightest attempt at active multitasking can result in small breaks in processing.

This is reflected in my performance measurements. Routines that measure performance on one core get good results, but multi-core operations are significantly slower than most other computers. This includes things like database jobs, demanding multitasking, and video export. More RAM would have been good in those situations, too. This specific model only gets 8GB and no ability to upgrade.

HP Laptop 14: Fans and screen

The chassis is mostly plastic, so heat from the processor is dissipated exclusively by fans. This makes them run frequently, even at low loads, and there seems to be only two modes, semi-fast with semi-high fan hissing and full blast with more noise. It can definitely get annoying in the long run. I can’t find a function or setting to control the cooling and reduce the noise.

Mattias Inghe

If you can accept slightly more moderate performance and annoying fans, there are things to like about the HP Laptop 14. It’s stylishly designed with muted dark blue surfaces, a sturdy metal screen lid, and a comfortable keyboard with clear backlighting. It’s light and thin and has softly rounded edges that make it comfortable to carry around. The mouse pad is also comfortable and of high quality.

The screen’s matte finish handles reflections well and the screen panel itself is of good quality for an IPS screen in a cheap laptop. Contrast is good and colors are even and neutral. In height, I get clear shifts in contrast and pale black areas if the angle is too narrow, but it’s nothing I notice when I sit and work as usual on the computer.

HP Laptop 14: Display, audio

Dimmed brightness produces a slight flicker on the screen, suggesting that it’s controlled by simple pulse modulation. Some users may find this annoying and tiring to watch. Personally, I am not that sensitive. I am more bothered by low brightness in general and low color gamut, which makes the image pale and also difficult to see in too bright environments. A bright window behind your back can be enough to make it difficult to read.

In a normal indoor environment, however, it’s hard to complain. It looks great for working in documents and on the web and for streaming films. You get clean and tidy sound from speakers hidden in the chassis. They deliver plenty of volume, but lose fullness and depth in the midrange and bass. Not surprising for small speakers in a small laptop, but I always keep my fingers crossed for a little more when testing computers. Sometimes they can surprise you.

HP has its own sound control program where I can set the equalizer, and also get an effective noise filter for the built-in microphone. This may be needed as it is usually quite noisy. The webcam has 1080p resolution and is thankfully not noisy at all. However, it has pale colors and low contrast. It’s not exactly professional quality, but it’s good enough for a video meeting.

Mattias Inghe

HP Laptop 14: Software, battery life

As for the keyboard, you’ll find a couple of special buttons. One of those buttons allows you to quickly open the emoji menu, which can be handy. And there’s another that can be set to open either My HP or Omen Gaming Hub. These are two programs that in other HP computers contain settings for everything from fans to performance modes, screen and sound profiles, system maintenance and much more.

Here, neither does much at all, but they do show hardware status and provide support information. Instead, there are a few separate programs with different functions, such as the Audio Centre. In addition to HP’s own programs, you also get a trial version of McAfee security software and a couple of links to Booking and Amazon, but no more intrusive bloatware than that.

Battery life is above average among similar laptops. I can push the computer hard for over three hours. If I don’t push it too hard, it can last a working day. But it’s best to have the small charger with you because you can’t charge the battery via the USB-C port, only with the charger’s special round plug.

This article was translated from Swedish to English and originally appeared on pcwelt.de.

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