Kali & HP 14 Laptop

Kali Linux on HP 14 Laptop
Kali Linux on HP 14 Laptop


I was looking for an inexpensive laptop to learn Kali Linux and pen testing. I could have setup a virtual machine in macOS or Windows, but I thought it would be cool to have a dedicated device that looks for vulnerabilities on my LAN in addition to providing learning opportunities in this area. I came across model 14-FQ1097NR while browsing HP website. A quick search showed Linux kernel did support its key components, AMD 5300U and Realtek RTL8822CE, in recent versions and Kali included such versions of Linux kernel in its rolling release. I was confident that I would be able to install and run Kali when I purchased the laptop.

HP 14 Specs, Pros & Cons, Benchmarks


  • AMD Ryzen 3 5300U
  • 14″ FHD IPS 250 nits display
  • 8 GB DDR4-3200 RAM
  • 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Realtek RTL8822CE 802.11 ac WiFi & Bluetooth 5
  • USB Type A (5 Gbps) x 2, USB Type C (5 Gbps), HDMI 1.4b, headphone/microphone, SD card reader
  • 3.24 lbs
  • 12.76″ x 8.86″ x 0.71″


  • Cheap (~$420)
  • Back-lit keyboard
  • Light
  • Linux friendly


  • Mediocre trackpad
  • No Ethernet port
  • Upgrading RAM & SSD require removing glued rubber feet



  • Single-core: 1125 (ac) / 1064 (battery)
  • Multi-core: 3993 (ac) / 3482 (battery)


  • Ethernet (Anker USB-C-to-Ethernet adapter): 940 Mbits/sec
  • WiFi: 260 Mbits/sec


  • Timing buffered disk reads (ac): 2393 MB/sec
  • Timing buffered disk reads (battery): 1382 MB/sec
  • Timing direct disk reads (ac): 3062 MB/sec
  • Timing direct disk reads (battery): 1520 MB/sec

Geekbench5 and hdparm numbers are average of multiple runs.


It took me a few tries to get Kali up and running on this laptop. Installer version 2021.3 completed the installation process, but the installed operating system would not boot. I switched to Ubuntu 21.10 as a test and everything worked on first attempt, including secure boot! With success in Ubuntu, I re-partitioned the SSD for dual-boot setup and tried Kali Weekly (latest untested image) instead version 2021.3 on second partition. That worked right away.

After running Ubuntu/Kali dual-boot without any major issue for some time, I re-attempted a Kali-only setup with installer version 2021.4 because I did not need Ubuntu. It was a success this time around.

Here are a few quick notes on the process. Kali does not support secure boot, so this feature needs to be disabled in UEFI (BIOS) prior to installation. The installer does not recognize Realtek RTL8822CE. However, the installation can proceed without network connectivity. The operating system will recognize the Realtek component post-installation. My guess is that the installer kernel version is behind the operating system kernel version.

This laptop has a SD card slot but it does not support external booting. You must use one of its USB ports for such purpose. I have accumulated a few SD cards over time and use them for various boot-able installers and utilities. It would have been a nice convenient feature so I do not have to use an USB-to-SD card reader here.

My experience is based on Kali installer version 2021.3 and 2021.4 so YMMV.


Kali does not start Bluetooth service automatically on boot by default. I assume this is done for security reason. Just run “sudo service bluetooth start” at the terminal prompt. Like macOS, Kali has also adopted Z Shell as default shell. Desktop utilities Bluetooth Adapters and Bluetooth Devices would then work properly.

Sleep (suspend) & resume work without any issue. The same goes for all the ports (USB, HDMI, SD, audio), webcam, and wireless networking, except for the Bluetooth hiccup mentioned above. I am a big fan of back-lit keyboard and good to see this feature is available on a low-end laptop. Battery life is OK, and I have not encountered any power-related issues, i.e. excessive draining.

Audio level resets itself to high when wake from sleep and does not remember previous setting. This could be a Xfce bug. You just need to be aware of this issue when playing music or video right after wake from sleep. The loudness may startle you and those around you.

Some elements of Kali’s Xfce desktop look small on the laptop’s display. Part of this issue can be attributed to running full HD resolution on a 14″ display. If you are not familiar with Xfce (I am more acquainted with Gnome myself), be prepared to spend some time learning and adjusting various Xfce settings to your liking.

I use a Logitech M570 trackball with this laptop to circumvent its mediocre trackpad, and an Anker USB-C-to-Ethernet dongle if I need wired networking. You may want to carry extra accessories when you commute or travel with this laptop.

The laptop is currently running Kali version 2022.1 as of this writing. There was no issue upgrading from version 2021.4.


I do not have much to complaint about installing and running Kali on HP 14 laptop which is my main criteria in evaluating this machine. Its Linux compatibility is quite good, and everything works with a few minor issues. If you want to run a Linux distro other than Kali (and Ubuntu), I recommend picking one that includes recent version of Linux kernel so it would recognize all the hardware components.

Clearly HP 14 laptop is far from perfect. AMD 5300U is capable of handling common daily tasks. However, other components range from average to subpar and they are reflected in laptop’s price. I know many corners were cut to make this laptop cheap, but I only list those that truly bother me in the Cons list. If you can afford to spend more, look elsewhere. If your budget is limited and you can deal with its shortcomings, this laptop can be a decent Linux machine.