As much as I’ve always loved having a Chromebook, I must admit I’ve always been slightly envious of the accessories available for Apple’s MacBook series, specifically the shell cases. I didn’t mind as much when I owned the Samsung Series 5 550 with its cool silver exterior. But the model I own now, the HP Chromebook 14 in white is starting to yellow a bit from oils and heavy use.
When I found the iPearl shell online for only $19.99, I was beyond thrilled. “Finally some love for Chromebooks!” I thought. So far I’m not at all disappointed with the case. I chose the translucent blue version, which even over the white chromebook, is still a good strong blue. iPearl did a good job designing this, it was a cinch to put on and doesn’t feel as though it’s in any danger of breaking or shattering. Even the pop out stands don’t feel like they’ll break off without a bit of effort.
So far, the only thing with which I’ve been at all disappointed has been iPearl’s response time in resolving an issue. I purchased this on Amazon, and paid for overnight shipping. But my unit arrived with a crack right across the center of the top shell. (depicted below) After a fruitless effort to request a replacement through Amazon, I opted to just leave feedback about the broken case. They responded within 24 hours, and I confirmed my shipping address immediately, they provided tracking for the replacement, but even though I reminded them that I paid for overnight shipping, that didn’t make a difference. It’s now been 3 days and the tracking information has yet to update.
The iPearl case is great looking and is able to hug the edges of the HP 14 without getting in the way. There are very few areas around the edges of the screen and keyboard where you can see or feel the lip of the shell. The iPearl shell is very thin and low-profile. All buttons and ports are fully accessible, and the main hinge works unhindered.
The iPearl case is manufactured from a high quality, shatter-proof poly-carbonate material. The outside has a pleasing textured finish and the inside is smooth as glass. Even the blue version is translucent enough to throw a photo beneath and be able to appreciate it without too much effort. (Totally plan on blowing up our first ultrasound and throwing it under there)
The one thing that made me somewhat nervous about the case is the fact the the grating on the bottom of the iPearl shell doesn’t line up evenly with the exhaust vents. The Chromebook’s fan rarely runs, and after a few days of use heavy it hasn’t overheated or exhibited any signs of issues which could be the result of this, so I’m sure the design just struck me as odd.
The front of the bottom panel has two rubber feet, one on each side. They’re high-quality and are inset to a raised plastic ring. The feet don’t feel as though they’re in any danger of loosening or coming off after prolonged use. At the rear of the bottom shell is a one and a half inch keyboard kickstand on either side to prop the device up for more comfortable typing.
In my usage I’ve found the props very useful to give the Chromebook that bit of extra height during a video hangout, just enough to get rid of that little double-chin. (My fellow big dudes will know what I’m talking about) They almost give the laptop a “docked” feeling. Any of you who have used a laptop on a desk dock for business, these props keep the device elevated enough that it conveys that feeling.
But Is It Worth $20?
The long and short of it is, YES! Even with the so/so response and shipping time in dealing with iPearl to get my replacement piece, I would still highly recommend this case to anyone with a white or black HP Chromebook 14. I can’t say for sure how it would look on the peach or teal models, but I think it would be worth it to find out.
One of the biggest things I miss about my Samsung Series 5 550 is the feeling of durability that emboldened me to grab it on the way out the door without worrying about the case. The HP Chromebook 14 has just a bit more of a premium feel to it which makes me a little to nervous to run around with it under my arm case-less. The iPearl shell case has given me enough security and peace-of-mind to take the device out without a full laptop bag.