The Poin2 Chromebook 14, launched in the US in May 2018, delivers all the external essentials of an excellent Chromebook. The 14-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS screen provides plenty of brightness for outdoor viewing, and the speakers play loudly and without noticeable distortion.
With a metal body, the 3.7 lb laptop features a full-size keyboard and high-quality touchpad, and it feels sturdy compared to Chromebooks made of plastic. The webcam and built-in microphone support video conferencing, although the webcam is lower resolution than the front-facing camera found on many smartphones. It also boasts a standard USB-C charging port, HDMI port, USB 3.0 port, SD card, and headphone port.
SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)
The internals support daily business tasks, too. The battery easily lasts for more than a full day of work. And with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage on an SSD, and a MediaTek MT8173 Quad-Core (ARM) processor, you can open plenty of tabs and watch video, too. This isn't the fastest Chromebook, but it's certainly fast enough for daily use.
It includes built-in Bluetooth 4.0, as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Over several tests at varying distances and locations, I consistently achieved Wi-Fi download and upload speeds that maxed out my network's capacity (175Mbps down / 25 Mbps up) and equaled the speeds I see on an iPhone 8 Plus.
All of the above features would make the Poin2 Chromebook 14 a reasonable choice as a standard business Chromebook. In my view, the following three features make this device stand apart from many other Chromebooks.
The Poin2 Chromebook 14 supports touch. On a laptop, I most often use a touchscreen either to move the cursor to a specific location in text or to scroll through a document (or web page). The drive handles both of these smoothly. Touch support also works in Android apps, as this is a device that includes support for the Android app store. That means you can draw a sketch in Google Keep, for example, with the screen opened flat, since the device opens to a full 180-degree angle.
I also like the Poin2 Chromebook 14 for something it lacks: A fan. Unlike the many Chromebooks with fans that noisily whine as a system warms up, the Poin2 Chromebook 14 remains cool and runs silently. Over multiple days and through several hours of continuous use, the device never noticeably warmed up. It worked. Silently. Without any fan noise.
The best aspect of the Poin2 Chromebook 14 may be the price. At $299, I think it is an excellent value. Cheaper Chromebooks tend to have less RAM, a lower resolution screen, and/or low quality sound. Few Chromebooks at this price point include such a high-quality full HD touchscreen.
Who makes the Poin2 Chromebook 14?
A team of eight people—four of whom are co-founders—is behind the Poin2 Chromebook 14. But this isn't their first Chromebook. Jinu Lee, who handles Poin2 marketing, told me via email that the co-founders worked on Chromebooks for a much larger company: Samsung. One of the co-founders was a product planner for the Series 5 Chromebook (launched in 2011), and another was a lead of Samsung Chromebook development.
That experience shows. I think the Poin2 Chromebook 14 meets the team's goal of delivering a Chromebook that can be used as a primary device. The Poin2 Chromebook 14 is an excellent device for people and businesses that use Chromebooks and G Suite. However, schools should likely look elsewhere, as this device is not something I would recommend for young students due to its size and weight.
Jinu Lee also noted that, as a startup, Poin2 doesn't yet have significant brand recognition in the United States. Based on my experience with this device, Poin2's reputation should grow as a company that can deliver an affordable, high-quality Chromebook at an attractive price. As of mid-2018, if you're looking for a standard laptop-style Chromebook, I think it may be difficult to find a better value.
- Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic) (TechRepublic)
- Google Pixelbook is a 'high performance Chromebook' for professionals (TechRepublic)
- Chromebooks: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- HP Chromebook x2 is the first detachable Chromebook, takes aim at iPad Pro (ZDNet)
- Google unveils Chrome OS tablet for students, goes to war with iPad in education market (TechRepublic)
- Linux comes to Chromebooks (ZDNet)
Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.