HP's new Chromebook 14 built from the ground up, costs $299.99 (hands-on)

HP's new Chromebook 14 is the second laptop released in 2013 with that exact name. However, this is a brand new device, despite its name.

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HP goes cheap with the Chromebook 14
Watch this: HP goes cheap with the Chromebook 14

HP released its first Chromebook Pavilion 14 earlier this year in April and now, just a few months later, there's a new one with nearly the exact same name, starting at $299.99. This one however -- according to HP -- was built from the ground up to be a Chromebook.

The new Chromebook 14 features Haswell-based architecture, and according to HP will deliver 9.5 hours of battery life. The 14-inch screen runs at a not too impressive 1,366x768-pixel resolution and looks pretty awfully pixelated. Also the bezel feels a bit wider than we'd like and at over four pounds it's noticeably heavy for something that includes only 16GB of storage. Thankfully, HP is offering 100GB of free Google Drive storage, redeemable with purchase of the device.

The HP Chromebook gets a refresh (pictures)

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Make no mistake, however. With price starting of $299.99 (for the Wi-Fi-only version; $349.99 for the coming 4G model) this is a budget machine. And all that that implies.

While we did appreciate its soft, matte exterior finish, once opened, we were immediately reminded of how cheap this thing is. The palm rest is made of faux-metal plastic that gives the device an unmistakably low-quality feel.

Connections abound. James Martin/CNET

The Chromebook 14 does come in three cool-looking colors: snow white, ocean turquoise, and coral peach. It also includes 200MB of data/month for two years.

Surprisingly, HP doesn't sleep on ports. The Chromebook 14 seats two USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, HDMI, and a full-size SD card slot.

And still, even more connections. Not that we're complaining. James Martin/CNET

The Chromebook 14 isn't an impressive laptop, but at $299.99, it could be one of the cheapest ways to experience the Chrome OS on a small(ish) form factor.

Sharon Vaknin contributed to this First Take.