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HP 14-r003ng Notebook Review

Manuel Christa (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 11/25/2014

Classy low-cost gadget. HP14’s exterior gives a premium-line impression. However, the price of just 350 Euros (~$435) suggests that the performance reserves will not be able to meet any special requirements. Is it a good compromise or are the looks deceiving?

For the original German review, see here.

A laptop does not have to be expensive: HP 14-r003ng is available for around 350 Euros (~$435). However, the device shines with its looks, but not with its spec sheet. The buyer only gets a solid browsing machine and should not have any special expectations at this price. HP's 14-inch device bridges the gap between the usually smaller, lighter and drive-less netbooks and the majority of office laptops with a 15-inch screen.

Intel's Pentium N3530 quad-core SoC from the entry-level provides the computing power. The laptop also has the minimum of currently needed working memory with 4 GB of RAM. Nevertheless, the device offers other cutting edge standard features, such as USB 3.0 and HDMI. The hard drive with a capacity of 500 GB also points toward a full-blown laptop rather than a netbook.

Potential rivals are HP's Stream 14-z050ng and Acer's Aspire V3-111P-P06A.

Case & Connectivity

The white glossy surfaces are plain yet elegant, that show every grain of dirt and every fingerprint. The matte-black, roughened surfaces of the keyboard, underside, and display bezel create a nice contrast. The looks of HP's laptop do not divulge the low price. The build does not give reason for complaint. The entire casing gives a quite stable and solid impression, with a flawless frame. Overall, the quality of the casing leaves a good impression for a laptop in this price range.

Connectivity has been reduced to the bare minimum, in line with the lower price range. There are only two USB 2.0 ports  on the right. The DVD drive leaves no room for any other connection ports. VGA, HDMI, LAN, and USB 3.0 are nevertheless installed on the left. The SD card slot is located in the center front.

The Atheros AR9485 module from Qualcomm provides Wi-Fi in the current 802.11 b/g/n standards. We did not identify any weaknesses in the range. The laptop still displayed the full signal and a stable connection one floor away. Unfortunately, Bluetooth is not available, and would have to be added via USB with a dongle when required.

Input Devices

Like most modern laptops, the keyboard features the chiclet design - even, squared keys with clear spacing. The keyboard unit is lowered into the casing so that the keys are level with the wrist rest. Unlike the latter, the keys have a matte surface,  providing a pleasant feel. This, and the keys' clear pressure point, allow fast typing. F1 to F12 function keys are available via the FN key. As with many laptops for private use, these keys trigger multimedia functions, display switching, control brightness or enable Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi key is the only one with a small LED light that glows white or red depending on the status. The only thing left to mention is that two arrow keys have been halved and thus share the area of one key.

The touchpad has two dedicated mouse buttons, and features the same white as the wrist rest. However, its roughened surface separates it and makes the area distinct. The known multi-touch gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom or two-finger scroll, functioned immediately and without any problems.

Display

HP 14-r003ng outdoors
HP 14-r003ng outdoors

Miracles concerning the screen should not be expected from a laptop in this price range. This model is equipped with an AU Optronics B140XW03 V0 with a non-HD resolution of 1366x768 pixels. The 14-inch screen is glossy and not exceptionally bright as our measurements prove. The maximum brightness is just 200 cd/m², which will probably be sufficient for indoor use only. A rate of over 300 cd/m² would be needed for working outdoors with the laptop. The contrast ratio of 257:1 also places it in the lower midfield.

204
cd/m²
202
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
181
cd/m²
193
cd/m²
183
cd/m²
165
cd/m²
175
cd/m²
176
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 207 cd/m² Average: 187.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 193 cd/m²
Contrast: 257:1 (Black: 0.75 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.47 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 6.37 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
81% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.27

As to color accuracy, CalMAN shows a clear shift in the DeltaE rate. Although it might not be noticed, the screen has a clear bluish cast like many units in this price range. The viewing angle deteriorates very fast horizontally, and inverts or flares up the image. The screen has a slightly more stable vertical viewing angle.

The glossy screen as well as the low maximum brightness does not really make it suitable for outdoor use. It just might still be possible to work outdoors with HP's laptop in cloudy conditions or in the shade.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps

Performance

The laptop's performance limits its use to office and browsing tasks. It has been conceived for users who miss a DVD drive in a netbook or find an 11-inch screen too small, but do not need much power for more demanding applications.

Processor

Although Intel's Pentium N3530 is a quad-core processor, it has been designed for saving power rather than for top performance. The low 7.5-Watt TDP, and a base clock of 2.16 GHz  prove this. Nevertheless, the Pentium outperforms other entry-level processors, such as those from the Celeron or Atom line.

There were no surprises when compared with similar devices. HP's Stream 14 is an equally sized alternative for our HP 14-r003ng. However, in addition to the operating system, the Stream also uses a different processor in the form of AMD's A4 Micro-6400T with roughly the same performance level. Just like Acer's Aspire V3-111P-P06A which is an 11-inch device with the same processor.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
1117
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
3398
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
1550
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
0.4 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
1.51 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.42 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
1.44 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
6.76 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP 14-r003ng
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530, 500 GB - 5400 rpm
0.42 Points ∼17%
HP Stream 14-z050ng
Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema), A4 Micro-6400T, 32 GB eMMC Flash
0.41 Points ∼17% -2%
Acer Aspire V3-111P-P06A
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
0.48 Points ∼20% +14%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP 14-r003ng
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530, 500 GB - 5400 rpm
1.44 Points ∼5%
HP Stream 14-z050ng
Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema), A4 Micro-6400T, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1.16 Points ∼4% -19%
Acer Aspire V3-111P-P06A
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1.82 Points ∼7% +26%

System Performance

As mentioned previously, no high demands should be placed on the processor. As far as browsing and office applications are concerned, the HP laptop works reliably and smoothly. A comparison with HP's Stream shows that it reaps in a 25% advantage in the overall performance. This is likely due to flash storage that can achieve better data rates for technical reasons than the conventional hard drive in our device.

PCMark 7 Score
1675 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
HP 14-r003ng
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530, 500 GB - 5400 rpm
1675 Points ∼19%
HP Stream 14-z050ng
Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema), A4 Micro-6400T, 32 GB eMMC Flash
2086 Points ∼24% +25%

Storage Devices

HDTune
HDTune

A conventional hard drive with a data capacity of 500 GB is installed in HP's 14-r003ng. It spins at 5400 rpm, and has a 16 MB cache. As already mentioned, it cannot compete with the eMMC chip in HP's Stream. Here, the user will have to choose between a high data volume and an increase in application performance. The average transfer rate of 83.6 MB/s is quite satisfactory, and corresponds to the expectations from this kind of hard drive.

500 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 36.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 112.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 83.6 MB/s
Access Time: 19.1 ms
Burst Rate: 99.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.6 %

Graphics Card

Although the Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail) graphics unit of Intel's chip is principally DirectX 11 compatible, its performance will hardly be able to cope with such applications. However, it deals reliably with what can be expected from it, rendering clear images. HP's Stream 14 is equipped with a Radeon R3 graphics core that is significantly more powerful than Intel's Bay Trail GPU.

3DMark 11 Performance
248 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
18460 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
HP 14-r003ng
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530, 500 GB - 5400 rpm
248 Points ∼1%
HP Stream 14-z050ng
Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema), A4 Micro-6400T, 32 GB eMMC Flash
444 Points ∼1% +79%
Acer Aspire V3-111P-P06A
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
269 Points ∼1% +8%

Gaming Performance

Users who want to play a game on HP's 14-r003ng will have to look for games that are somewhat older. Apart from casual games, such as Angry Birds and the like, a 350 Euro (~$435) laptop is definitely not suitable for rendering up-to-date games smoothly. Even if the three year old The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim runs on the laptop, it will hardly be fun to play with 10 fps.

low med. high ultra
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 10fps

Emissions

System Noise

The laptop cools passively, and thus it is fan-less. Apart from the barely audible hard drive, it operates virtually silently.

Noise Level

Idle
32.6 / 32.6 / 32.6 dB(A)
HDD
32.8 dB(A)
DVD
38.2 / dB(A)
Load
32.6 / 32.6 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

The stress test (Prime95 and FurMark run for at least one hour) proves that the passive cooling is adequate. The laptop does not get excessively warm even during full load. The temperatures climb to 40 degrees Celsius (~104 °F) in some places, but that is an absolutely uncritical rate. It is also pleasing that the CPU's clock is not throttled, and runs with its maximum 2 GHz - both in battery and AC mode. HP's Stream 14 is a few degrees warmer in load, probably due to the stronger graphics.

Max. Load
 32 °C
90 F
35.5 °C
96 F
27 °C
81 F
 
 31.2 °C
88 F
39.1 °C
102 F
27 °C
81 F
 
 31.7 °C
89 F
37.1 °C
99 F
29 °C
84 F
 
Maximum: 39.1 °C = 102 F
Average: 32.2 °C = 90 F
37.1 °C
99 F
33.1 °C
92 F
26.5 °C
80 F
26.7 °C
80 F
42 °C
108 F
39.5 °C
103 F
33.4 °C
92 F
36.2 °C
97 F
31.1 °C
88 F
Maximum: 42 °C = 108 F
Average: 34 °C = 93 F
Power Supply (max.)  38.3 °C = 101 F | Room Temperature 22.8 °C = 73 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 32.2 °C / 90 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 39.1 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 42 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 28.3 °C / 83 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 37.1 °C / 98.8 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.2 °C / 82.8 F (-8.9 °C / -16 F).

Speakers

Like in the HP Stream 14, the speakers of HP's 14-r003ng are located in the front underside of the casing. While the Stream's sound was described as thin and almost tinny, it makes a surprisingly good impression for a sound system without a subwoofer here. In any event, we did not encounter the expected phone-like sound.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of HP's 14 seems slightly high compared with the named competitors. Our device consumes at least 7 Watts while Acer Aspire V3 is satisfied with 4 Watts despite the same Intel chip. The Stream with an AMD chip needs only 3 Watts in idle mode. The maximum power consumption of 16 Watts of HP's laptop is also slightly higher than both other devices.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 6.9 / 9.3 / 10.4 Watt
Load midlight 15.4 / 16 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

HP's 14 managed a total of 5 hours in our standardized browsing test on battery power. Thus, it is roughly on par with HP's Stream 14 that only lasted about a quarter of an hour longer. The 8 hours of Acer's Aspire V3 is considerably more than the HP devices. However, it also has a slightly higher capacity battery and a much smaller screen.

Battery Runtime
WiFi Surfing
5h 02min

Verdict

HP 14-r003ng
HP 14-r003ng

Overall, HP's 14-r003ng proved to be a suitable and reliable entry solution for anyone who wants a laptop for browsing and office tasks. Although there are still less expensive netbooks, tablets or convertibles, they either do not have a DVD drive or have a smaller screen. HP's 14 is a full-fledged laptop that does not exhibit any unforgivable shortcomings at a price of 350 Euros (~$435), which could be the case in this price range. It does its job reliably without leaving a cheap impression.

On the other hand, there are no surprises in terms of quality. For this price, the buyer cannot expect an excellent screen, but only gets the lowest resolution for a 14-inch laptop with a reflective surface and at most mediocre image quality. Gaming with the economic Pentium processor is not possible from the outset. The performance does not permit more than browsing and desk work. And the battery life is not exactly breathtaking for a rather low-performance device.

There are devices that are better in individual factors for the price of HP's laptop. HP's own direct competitor in the form of the Stream 14 offers a marginally higher performance. The Aspire V3-111P scores with a considerably longer battery life and a touchscreen - though the screen is smaller. 15.6-inch devices are also available in this price range, but they are correspondingly heavier, or have to be cooled with a fan and are consequently louder. Thus, personal priorities will be the deciding factor. In any event, HP's 14-r003ng is a viable alternative for an entry-level laptop.

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In Review: HP 14-r003ng. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de
In Review: HP 14-r003ng. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de

Specifications

HP 14-r003ng (14 Series)
Memory
4096 MB 
, DDR3L SDRAM
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1366 x 768 pixel, AU Optronics B140XW03 V0, TN, glossy: yes
Storage
500 GB - 5400 rpm, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm, Seagate ST500LT012-1DG142
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: combo audio jack, Card Reader: SD
Networking
Realtek RTL8101 (10/100MBit), Atheros AR9485 WiFi Adapter (b/g/n)
Optical drive
HP DVDRAM GU90N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 25.3 x 345 x 244 ( = 1 x 13.58 x 9.61 in)
Battery
41 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1280 x 768
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.96 kg ( = 69.14 oz / 4.32 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)

 

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pros

+Good looks
+Relatively decent casing
+Good price:performance ratio
 

Cons

-Middling screen
-12-month warranty only

Shortcut

What we like

Classy, light and impeccably built casing.

What we'd like to see

Bluetooth and a better screen

What surprises us

Affordable, and yet no major shortcomings

The competition

The competing laptops as linked to the corresponding reviews or in the library (external tests).

Rating

HP 14-r003ng - 11/21/2014 v4(old)
Manuel Christa

Chassis
79 / 98 → 81%
Keyboard
73%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
62 / 80 → 78%
Weight
63 / 20-67 → 91%
Battery
88%
Display
70%
Games Performance
44 / 68 → 65%
Application Performance
49 / 92 → 53%
Temperature
90%
Noise
90%
Audio
55%
Camera
38 / 85 → 45%
Average
68%
75%
Office - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > HP 14-r003ng Notebook Review
Manuel Christa, 2014-11-25 (Update: 2018-05-15)