The HP Chromebook 14 offers the best Chromebook option available thanks to a large screen and mobile data built-in. Because it only runs on T-Mobile out of the box, we hoped that we could swap an AT&T SIM card into the computer, since AT&T and T-Mobile work on the same mobile data technology.
The results give users access to AT&T’s HSDPA+ network, but not LTE. In my area T-Mobile only runs on EDGE, the slowest data connection technology available. So this swap makes the HP Chromebook an even better choice for AT&T customers or for people who live in slow T-Mobile land like me.
Watch the How To video below and read on for the details.
To start, the user needs to get an AT&T SIM card configured for data only. That means a SIM from a phone won’t work. It must come from a tablet or computer that only works with data and not with voice.
I used my iPad Air SIM card. AT&T gladly added it to my family’s shared data plan. I took the iPad Air home and popped the card out of the iPad. You’ll need a SIM card tool or a firm metal paper clip. Push the tool or paper clip into the hole in the SIM card slot on the lower right side of the iPad until it pops out. Take the SIM card out of the little plastic tray.
Some users might grab a SIM card from another device, like a different tablet or a computer with mobile broadband. Follow that device’s instructions for removing the SIM card.
Device makers use three kinds of SIM cards. The HP Chromebook 14 comes with a regular SIM card from T-Mobile. If your tablet or device uses that kind of card, then there’s no need for the adapter. Most people will need a micro-SIM card adapter to fit an iPad SIM card into the HP’s slot. Others might need a mini-SIM card adapter. A cheap adapter on Amazon sells for less than $1 and works great.
Shut down the HP by clicking on the notification area on the bottom right corner. The Shutdown icon looks like a computer power button and sits in the bottom row of the window that pops up. It’s the button second from the right. Click it and the computer will shut down.
Put the card in the adapter and slide it into the slot on the right side of the HP Chromebook 14. The card only fits in the adapter one way and the adapter only goes into the computer one way, so don’t force it.
After putting in the new card, boot the computer by pressing the power button on the keyboard above the backspace key. Let it start up and then log onto the computer. Click on the notification area again.
The system will try to connect to AT&T, but won’t work till the user changes one setting. Click on the item just below the user account. It might say something about a Wi-fi connection, like “connecting to AT&T.” Click it and choose Settings.
The ChromeOS settings screen will show up. Below Internet Connection click on the entry marked AT&T in Mobile Data (see above). A drop down box shows up. Click on AT&T and the settings screen below appears.
In the middle of that screen there’s another drop down box. It might look empty. Click it and choose the item that begins “LaptopConnect” and then close the dialog box.
The HP Chromebook should now connect to the AT&T network using the SIM card. To test the AT&T connection turn off Wi-Fi. To this by opening the notification area by clicking in the lower right again. Choose the network connection and click on the Wi-Fi icon at the bottom of that pop up box.
Notice that the above Speedtest.net test shows 6.30Mbps download and 1.09Mbps upload. In our video above it shows over 10Mbps. That’s pretty good for 3G. The HP Chromebook only supports HSDPA+ on AT&T. We wish it worked on LTE.
Until someone comes out with a Chromebook with LTE and a larger screen, the HP Chromebook 14 offers the best option for moderately fast data on ChromeOS.