Although the HP Stream 14 is fun and affordable, its build quality and display quality could have been better.
- Battery life is long
- Eye-catching, colorful design
- Solid battery life
- Failsafe construction
- Dim display
- Performances below-par
The hp stream 14 laptop (219.99 USD) is likely to have caught your attention if you’ve ever browsed Target or Walmart’s electronics departments. The Stream laptop has been available from HP for a while now. It is a Windows-based alternative to Chromebooks. Although the Stream 14 is bigger than previous HP Stream models (the largest was 13 inches), not much else has changed.
The Stream 14 is a Chromebook but keeps the cost low. It has a low-powered CPU and minimal RAM. There’s 32GB flash memory for storage. However, this may not be sufficient to provide the Windows experience that you would expect from a budget laptop.
The Stream 14’s lightweight plastic chassis measures 13.3 x 8.9 x 0.70 in and weighs just 3.11 pounds. The lightweight plastic chassis feels hollow and flexes with each keystroke and tap on trackpad. This issue was not present in the HP stream 11. The white keyboard adds a touch of two-toned style to the palm rest, which has a texture pattern. It is comparable in size and weight to other 14 inch systems in the price range, such as the Lenovo Idea or . This system measures 13.3×9.3×0.7 inches and weighs in at 3.2 pounds.
Bright candy colors have been a hallmark of the Stream line. The unit we reviewed was brightly blue. You can also order it in purple. The Lenovo Ideapad 100S-14 and other competitors keep things simple with black plastic construction.
The Stream 14 features a 14 inch display with a 1366 x768 resolution. This is not unusual in this price range. The trailer for Thor: Ragnarok looked great to me. The Hulk’s skin was the right color, the explosions were orange, and the lightning crackling off Thor looked bluish-white.
The laptop from HP can produce 81.5% of the sRGB gamut. This is almost identical to the scores for the Dell Inspiron14 3000 (81%) and the Lenovo Ideapad 100S-14 (84%).
Its color accuracy is not perfect. The Delta-E rating for the display is 3.86. (0 is ideal). This is what we expected in this price range. The IdeaPad 100S-14 (3.85) as well as the Inspiron 4000 (3.4), had similar color accuracy.
It was also very dim at 186 nits. This is comparable to the Inspiron 14 3000 (133 nits) or the IdeaPad 100S-14 (128 nits), however, we prefer a panel with more than 200 nits.
Although the HP Stream 14 comes with a pair if downward-firing speakers you will need headphones to listen to it. Listening to “Dark Necessities” by Red Hot Chili Peppers was a pleasure. I could hear the lyrics and the percussion clearly, but Flea’s loud bass sound was muted. Although the DTS Studio Sound utility has some presets available, none of them did much to improve the sound quality from the small speakers.
Touchpad and Keyboard
The keyboard of the HP Stream 14 has white tile keys. They have 1.32 millimeters travel and require 72 grams pressure to register a keystroke. The keys felt lightweight and fragile despite the fact that they required heavy pressure for each keystroke. I was briefly concerned that they might fall apart if they were carried around in a bag. I was able to type 65 words per minute on the 10FastFingers.com typing exam, which is a little less than my usual 80 words per hour.
The touchpad is 3.7×2.5 inches in size and comes in the same bright-blue as the surrounding chassis. Although the matte finish is not luxurious, it registers every click and gesture with ease. The HP Imagepad supports multitouch gestures and uses clickable zones instead of separate mouse buttons.
Although the port selection may be a little small on the Stream 14 it is adequate for basic usage. On the left side of your chassis you will find a full-size HDMI port as well as two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port. A Kensington lock slot is also included, as well as an audio headset jack. The power connector is located on the right side. You will be dependent on Wi-Fi as the Stream 14 does not have an Ethernet port.
The Stream 14 is equipped with a 1.6GHz Intel Celeron CPU, Intel High Definition Graphics 400 and 4GB RAM. It also has 32GB of eMMc flash storage. The Stream 14 is also identical to the Samsung Chromebook 3. This highlights its position as a Chromebook rival.
Although Windows-based systems may be more familiar and will (ostensibly), support your favorite apps and programs, performance is not there. Basic functions like taking a picture with the webcam were slow and lacked performance. I also noticed lag when trying to open multiple tabs.
Geekbench 4’s overall performance test gave the Stream 14 a score of 1,817. This is a little more than the Inspiron 14 3000 (1.807) and less than the Ideapad 100S-14 (1.880). This was to be expected given the Stream 14’s low-powered Celeron processor. The Acer Aspire E 15 (5,408, Intel Core 7100U) is a much more expensive option at $350. However, it offers significantly better performance and costs less than $500.
The Stream 14 has 32GB of eMMC flash storage, which is similar to an SD card. However, it passed the Laptop Mag File Transfer test and transferred 4.97GB mixed media files in just 3 minutes and 28 seconds. This works out at 24.7 MBps. That’s slower than the Ideapad 100S-14 (43.49 MBPs) or the Inspiron 143000 (69.72 MBPs), despite having similar storage.
The Stream 14 matched 20,000 addresses and names in our OpenOffice spreadsheet test. It took 13 minutes and 4 seconds. This is faster than the Ideapad 100S-14 (14.35) or the Inspiron 143000 (14.22). However, a notebook equipped with a Core i3 CPU like the Aspire E 15 will take half as long.
The HP Stream 14’s integrated Intel HD Graphics 400 can stream videos from YouTube or Netflix, as well as run simple games like Candy Crush Soda Saga. It scored 19,073 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited (13,568), which is higher than the Ideapad 100S-14 (13,568) and Inspiron 14 3000 (11,967).
The Stream 14’s powerful CPU enabled it to last 7 hours and 4 mins on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. This simulates continuous web surfing over Wi Fi. This is enough to last a student through a whole day of classes and surpasses the Ideapad 100S-14 (5.51). The Inspiron 14 3000 (9.01) and the Samsung Chromebook 3 (9.44) will provide slightly more battery life.
Although we have low expectations for webcams in the sub-$300 laptop price range, the Stream 14’s webcam still produces a very grainy image with a lot noise. Although it was able to capture color quite well, fine details were lost in the fog.
The slim Stream 14 is able to keep you cool. After streaming online video for 15 minutes the touchpad reached 73.5 degrees Fahrenheit and the keyboard 80.5 degrees. Both of these temperatures are well below our 95 degree comfort threshold. Although the underside was cool at 75.5 degrees in center, it had a hotspot of 92 degrees to the left side of the laptop, which is where the processor is.
Software and Warranty
Microsoft provides a lot of assistance to manufacturers in appealing to budget-minded customers with the Stream or other Chromebook rivals. Microsoft offers a number of attractive additional services, including free OS on certain models and configurations. Microsoft Office 2016 is included in the Stream 14 as a one-year free subscription. This includes Word, Excel PowerPoint, OneNote, and PowerPoint. The Stream 14 comes with 25GB cloud storage via Dropbox, and a 30-day trial of McAfee LiveSafe.
HP preinstalls several useful utilities and apps such as HP Orbit which allows you to share files between your phone and your laptop. It also includes a lot bloatware, such as a bunch of WildTangent game trials and apps from Amazon.com.
The standard warranty HP provides for the Stream 14 is a one-year. The Stream 14 is covered by HP’s standard one-year warranty.
The HP Stream 14 is a vibrant option for those who value every penny. It comes at a reasonable price. The HP Stream 14 has a 14-inch screen, all the essential ports and a fast enough performance to allow you to surf the internet and type papers quickly. The Lenovo Idea ad100S-14 offers a better keyboard and better build quality. However, it has a shorter battery life, less RAM, and has lower power consumption. The $350 Acer E15 (E5-575-335BM) is our top choice for budget laptops.
It’s worth mentioning that this budget laptop was not designed to compete with Chromebooks. A system like the Samsung Chromebook3 might be a better choice for those who are more budget-conscious. The HP Stream 14 laptop is a solid choice if you are looking for a 14-inch laptop that has decent battery life, good performance, and a touch more color.