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HP drops stylish new Chromebook x360 models with stylus support

One thing that many of the best HP laptops and most Chromebooks have in common is the ability to flip over backwards into a tablet mode. So, it's no surprise to see HP introduce two more Chromebooks that do just that, with the budget-minded HP Chromebook x360 14b and 12b.

These new Chromebooks follow up on the Chromebook x360 14, with a similar design but pared down specs to bring the price down. The new Chromebook x360 14b features a 14-inch touch screen available in HD (720p) or full HD (1080p), while the Chromebook x360 12b has a 12-inch, HD + display with a 4: 3 aspect ratio.

Front and center on both new products is the 360-degree hinge that allows them to fold into a number of different poses. This lets the Chromebooks double as tablets with large touchscreens, and access to the Google Play store effectively makes them capable Android tablets. They also support active styluses for more accurate input.

The new Chromebooks are powered by Intel Celeron N4000 dual-core processors with the option for a quad-core Intel Pentium processor. They also have 4GB of RAM and 32GB to 128GB of eMMC storage.

While the specs are budget level, the laptops feature a metal design and slim bezels around the display. They also have B&O-tuned speakers, and include a one-year subscription to Google One.

A new standard stylus

An interesting new aspect to the Chromebook x360 14b and 12b is that they will take advantage of a new standard stylus called USI (Universal Stylus Initiative). This will allow for active styluses that work across multiple devices, including different device types beyond laptops. HP is just one of many companies making USI styluses, and the list includes Google and Intel.

For these new Chromebooks, HP has designed the HP Rechargeable USI Pen, which will be able to magnetically dock on the sides of the devices.

The Chromebook x360 14b will start at $ 379 (about £ 300, AU $ 550) while the 12b starts at $ 359 (about £ 290, AU $ 520), and both should be available in the US this month. HP's stylus for these tablets will be sold separately and cost $ 69 (about £ 55, AU $ 100) when it launches in November. International availability information is forthcoming.

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