HP Stream eleven assessment: a $200 Home windows laptop computer meant to be a Chromebook killer
It is no secret that individuals like Chromebooks. That may’t be excellent news for Microsoft, which used to personal the marketplace for low cost computer systems. Not one to take this kind of encroachment mendacity down, Microsoft got here out with a decrease-value model of Home windows eight.1 that PC makers might use to construct small, light-weight units cheap sufficient to tackle Chromebooks. The HP Stream eleven is among the many first of those so-referred to as Chromebook killers: an eleven.6-inch laptop computer operating full Home windows and priced at simply $200. For the cash, it seems and performs like a netbook, with a colourful plastic shell and an Intel Celeron processor chugging away beneath the hood. Then once more, although, you even have the choice of putting in conventional desktop apps, which you’ll be able to’t do on a Chromebook, and Microsoft is additional sweetening the deal by throwing in a terabyte of OneDrive storage and a yearlong subscription to Workplace 365. So is that this simply netbooks, redux? Or does an aggressive worth make all of the distinction?
- Low worth
- Shiny, playful design
- Snug keyboard
- $25 Home windows Retailer present card included
- Consists of 1TB of cloud storage and a one-yr Workplace 365 subscription
- So-so show
- Sluggish boot-up occasions
- Touchpad might use some wonderful-tuning
At $200, the Stream eleven is an effective deal, particularly in comparison with pricier Chromebooks, however beware that it comes with most of the similar commerce-offs as different finances laptops, together with a low-high quality show and sluggish boot-up time.
I meant it once I stated the Stream eleven appears like a netbook: It is a small, fanless machine, weighing 2.seventy four kilos, with a plain plastic shell. However rattling if it is not one of many extra trendy netbooks I’ve seen. Out there in both magenta or the cobalt blue you see within the above photographs, the Stream has a neat fade-out impact, with the colours on the keyboard deck getting lighter and lighter as you get towards the touchpad. The keyboard deck additionally has a delicate dot sample all through, creating the phantasm of texture on an in any other case clean machine (it additionally seems cool, in the event you ask me). I additionally like the best way the white keyboard contrasts with the colourful inside. Anyway! You are in all probability sick of listening to me opine about design, however I assume you get the thought: Love or hate the aesthetic right here, I feel we will all agree this has a extra fascinating look than a lot of the different grey bins you are gonna discover at this worth.
Across the edges, you will discover that HP matches Chromebooks spec for spec, providing all the identical ports you’d discover on a Chrome OS system. This consists of two USB connections (one three.zero, one 2.zero), a full-sized HDMI socket, a full-sized SD card reader and a mixture headphone/mic jack. There’s additionally a Kensington lock slot — a very essential function for faculties that select to make use of this in lecture rooms.
Identical to a typical eleven-inch Chromebook, the Stream eleven contains a 1,366 x 768 non-contact show, full with a wholesome quantity of bezel. I’ve no complaints concerning the decision: There isn’t any different machine I do know of at this worth that additionally has a full HD show. I do, nevertheless, have some quibbles concerning the precise high quality. First off, regardless of having a matte, anti-glare end, the viewing angles are pretty slender, particularly from head-on, if you attempt to dip the lid ahead. I’ve additionally observed that the colours have a tendency to scrub out once I crank up the brightness, but when I choose a extra medium setting, all the things seems uninteresting and muted. Once more, not a shocker at this worth, however it’s a reminder of the type of commerce-offs you will be making.
One factor which may shock you is the audio high quality. Even with the audio system situated on the underside aspect of the pocket book, I nonetheless loved loud quantity with the machine resting in my lap and on flat surfaces. And, because of the DTS Studio Sound know-how on board, the precise high quality was disarmingly good, too. For nearly each style I attempted — jazz, orchestral, swing, pop, electronica — tracks got here by means of loud and clear, with minimal tinniness or distortion.
Lastly, I used to be additionally happy with the keyboard — as I typically am on HP laptops, I’d add. Even though this can be a petite, eleven.6-inch machine, the keyboard is almost full-sized, with beneficiant spacing between the buttons and only a few undersized keys (the Ctrl and Fn buttons on the far left aspect are the 2 main exceptions). Additionally, as a result of the Stream eleven does not declare to be a very skinny laptop computer, HP was capable of construct in a bit additional keyboard journey, making for some springy, tactile button. As for the touchpad, I had a simple time pulling off multitouch gestures, like utilizing two fingers to scroll aspect to aspect by means of the Begin Display, however single-finger monitoring was typically a problem in desktop mode.Efficiency and battery life
The Stream eleven may be low cost sufficient to compete with a Chromebook, however that does not essentially imply it performs like one. Although it makes use of an Intel Celeron N2840 processor just like what you will discover in lots of Chrome OS units, it feels… slower. A chilly-boot, as an example, takes 26 seconds, and that is simply to get to the lock display; even after you enter your password, you are taking a look at one other eight seconds or so till the desktop is absolutely loaded. Most Chromebooks, in the meantime, take properly underneath seven seconds as well up — perhaps 12 on actually sluggish fashions. Both approach, a half-minute boot sequence is exceptional on Chrome units.
You may also be enthusiastic about with the ability to use the usual file supervisor on the Stream eleven, however be warned that the poky disk speeds are more likely to decelerate any file transfers. Within the ATTO benchmark, learn speeds on the 32GB flash-based mostly disk reached a mean excessive of 168 MB/s. Writes, in the meantime, topped out round seventy two MB/s. As for multitasking, I discovered that the Stream eleven was typically sluggish to load desktop apps like Spotify, although I had no drawback zipping by way of Trendy-type packages I downloaded from the Home windows Retailer. At any price, all of this convinces me that whereas the efficiency right here is not dangerous for the worth, the bar is certainly set larger on Home windows machines than it’s on Chrome units; you are able to do extra with them, however the efficiency overhead can also be larger than it will be if it have been operating the Chrome browser as an OS.
You gotta hand it to HP for fact in promoting: The corporate says the Stream eleven’s 37Wh battery can last as long as eight hours and quarter-hour on a cost and certainly, I logged eight hours and 17 minutes in my standard rundown check. That was with me looping a full HD video, however should you’re prepared to accept good ol’ commonplace def, you must anticipate nearer to 9 hours. All informed, that is hardly the longest runtime we have seen from a Chromebook-sort machine, nevertheless it’s nonetheless respectable, particularly when you think about that the Stream eleven retains tempo with greater machines just like the thirteen-inch Samsung Chromebook 2.Software program
For those who have been nervous that a “decrease-value model of Home windows” meant a watered-down model, you possibly can lay these fears to relaxation proper now. This model — “Home windows eight.1 with Bing,” because it’s referred to as — is, for all intents and functions, the identical model of Home windows eight.1 that ships on each different PC. The one distinction is that Bing is the pre-set search engine in Web Explorer. Even then, you’ll be able to go into the settings and change the search engine to Google, Yahoo, et cetera; it is simply that Bing must be the default choice out of the field.
As I stated earlier, too, the Stream eleven comes with 1TB of OneDrive storage (free for the primary yr), together with a one-yr subscription to Microsoft Workplace 365. (Chromebooks include 100GB of Google Drive area for 2 years — both means, that is far more area than most individuals might probably want.) As a bonus too, the Stream eleven additionally comes with a $25 present card to the Home windows Retailer. Hooray!
In any case, that is what Microsoft is providing, however HP threw in a number of apps of its personal too. These embrace HP Related Photograph, Related Music and Related Drive, none of that are as helpful as they sound. Related Photograph is principally a glorified Snapfish app: Utilizing footage out of your Snapfish and Fb accounts, you possibly can order prints or photograph presents utilizing — yep, you guessed it — Snapfish. Related Music, in the meantime, permits you to join your TuneIn Radio and Beats Music accounts and create customized playlists. Nothing improper with that, in fact — should you occur to make use of both of these two providers. Given how few streaming providers are supported, I would just as quickly steer you towards Home windows’ constructed-in Xbox Music app, which is superb at each organizing your music assortment in addition to serving to you uncover new tracks. Lastly, there’s HP Related Drive, which lets you entry your information on numerous units. It is a properly-intentioned concept, however right here too, solely sure on-line storage providers are supported. Provided that, why not simply use one thing with large cross-platform help? One thing like, I do not know, OneDrive?
Aside from that, you will additionally discover a number of third-social gathering apps, together with Amazon, TripAdvisor, Netflix and mysms, which helps you to ship and obtain texts in your telephone. The reality is, that is not an entire lot so far as extraneous packages go, however when you really feel strongly about having a clear copy of Home windows, you’ll be able to all the time purchase the Stream eleven by means of the Microsoft Retailer, which strips its PCs of any and all bloatware.The competitors
For all of the speak about how the Stream eleven is meant to be a Chromebook killer, there aren’t truly that many Chromebooks available for $200. Aside from Acer’s entry-degree C720 Chromebook ($200), which makes use of an older Celeron 2955U CPU, every little thing else begins at round $250. Each the eleven-inch Samsung Chromebook 2 and the thirteen-inch Toshiba Chromebook 2 use the identical processor because the Stream eleven, they usually begin at $250 with comparable 1,366 x 768 shows. The eleven-inch ASUS C200 additionally begins at $250, and although it’s kind of slower than even your common Chromebook, it has greatest-in-class battery life. From there, it solely will get costlier. HP’s personal Chromebook eleven prices $280 with a twin-core Exynos 5250 chip and a better-high quality IPS display. Dell’s Chromebook eleven begins at $300, whereas Lenovo’s N20p goes for a comparatively expensive $330. For the cash, you get a rotating, Yoga-like touchscreen that bends again barely, however consider me once I say that the flimsy, uncomfortable keyboard isn’t well worth the greater worth.
In the meantime, although the Stream eleven is a uncommon breed, it isn’t the solely Home windows gadget you will discover on this worth vary. ASUS just lately launched the EeeBook X205, an eleven-inch Home windows eight.1 laptop computer at present going for $one hundred eighty. I have never had the prospect to evaluate it, sadly, so I can not vouch for its efficiency, however I can inform you that the Intel Atom processor inside is decrease-clocked than on the Stream eleven, whereas battery life is supposedly longer: as much as 12 hours, based on ASUS. Equally, Acer’s Aspire ES1 is priced at $199 and has the identical CPU and 2GB of RAM because the Stream eleven. I might recommend you embrace that in your cross-buying too, besides I have never examined this both, so I can not go as far as to supply a suggestion, per se.
Along with laptops, you may also think about an affordable pill. ASUS’ yr-previous Transformer Guide T100, for example, has seen a worth minimize, in order that it is now simply $250 at Amazon. Now it is true, the efficiency will not be fairly as quick as on the Stream eleven, however take into consideration what you are getting right here: a ten-inch pill with almost eleven-hour battery life, and an attachable keyboard within the field. In the event you assume you may want a touchscreen, the T100 is certainly the higher decide, although I might additionally warn you that the removable keyboard there’s moderately cramped; relating to typing, the Stream eleven continues to be the stronger choice.Wrap-up
For many individuals, the truth that Home windows laptops can run desktop apps (and work offline!) means they’re inherently higher than Chromebooks, whatever the worth. As a bonus, the Stream eleven truly prices much less than most Chrome OS units, which might make it a no brainer for some buyers. And there is undoubtedly one thing to that: The Stream eleven is a full-fledged Home windows machine, nevertheless it’s additionally moveable and cheap, with a cushty keyboard, cute design and surprisingly good audio. Oh, and it comes with a $25 Home windows Retailer present card, which, relying on the way you take a look at it, might knock the worth right down to $one hundred seventy five. Both method, it is a whole lot for the cash.
That does not imply there are not any commerce-offs. The show high quality is a step down from most Chromebooks. And though the Stream eleven has comparable specs as a Chrome OS system, and prices about the identical, there’s a noticeable distinction in efficiency: The battery life is shorter than on some competing fashions, and the boot-up time is slower too. That is not essentially a dealbreaker, however I might encourage anybody contemplating this to regulate their expectations. Sure, you are able to do extra with a miniature Home windows laptop computer like this, however due to that, you additionally want extra energy for it to run easily. Because it stands, the Stream eleven is usable, however in the best way netbooks have been usable, which is to say it may be a bit poky. Then once more, for $200, you may be capable of forgive that.
Tags: hp, HP Stream eleven, HPStream11, microsoft, evaluation, Stream eleven, Stream11, uk-critiques
- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/hp/stream/eleven/” title=”HP Stream eleven evaluations” goal=”_blank”> Critiques • zero </a>
- Sort Ultraportable
- Display measurement eleven.6 inches
- Bundled OS Home windows (eight.1)
- CPU household Celeron
- System RAM 2 GB
- Onerous drive(s) 32 GB&#one hundred sixty;(complete)
- Pointing gadget Trackpad
- Introduced 2014-09-30