The HP Stream 14 is an entry-level, budget-speced and budget-priced computing device from the rather extensive and innovative stables of HP. With striking looks, cheapness, and just average performance, it can be your idea of a good bargain, or an unrelenting nightmare depending on your expectations. Find out why on our HP Stream 14 review that explores the in’s and out’s of the colorful fella.
To start with, the HP Stream is one good looking and colorful fella. Not for it the brushed and assiduously polished metal badass exterior on other premium laptops. This one is just plastic, but the plastic that sure is a welcome sight and a soothing balm for sore eyes. Our review unit is all blue, with a white contrasting keyboard, that as cliché as it sounds does get your blood pumping harder.
Lacking unending RAM and bottomless HDD or SDD like its pricier contemporaries, it’s lightweight at 3 pounds, and certainly portable enough to trek to Timbuktu with. The screen is a 14-incher with a resolution of 1360 x 768, and near guaranteed to disappoint. Colors look unnatural and washed out like an amateurishly made up teenager, while the contrast is awful. Overall, if you are used to better-looking screens, this one can easily invite you to murder due to its poor output and performance. Audio from the available stereo speakers was quite poor, and I would certainly recommend either buying excellent external speakers or utilizing a headset to listen to your music and games collections.
Unfortunately, with an internal memory of just 32 GB -half of which is available out of the box- this might be rather difficult. When you need more storage -as you will inevitably do- an SD card slot is there to help. If that is not to your taste, then you should know that One Drive cloud storage of up to 1TB is available. As is an Office 365 personal subscription that is free for a year, so you have no excuse not to be productive.
Powering everything is a 1.6GHZ Intel Celeron N7060 with 4GB of RAM, as well as an Intel HD Graphics 400 with 128MB of dedicated video memory. No beast this which is not really surprising. Multitasking is pretty well OK, as long as you remember to limit the number of available apps open in the background. Otherwise, welcome to lag and stutter paradise. Similarly, expect iffy performance when utilizing graphically demanding and memory-hogging apps. As for games, uhm… let’s just say the gaming performance is non-existent and leave it at that. For candy crush fans however, it’s still plenty enough. Still, you definitely don’t buy the device for gaming. For everyday, normal tasks like watching YouTube and emailing and chatting away, it is perfectly adequate. Try to take it where it clearly wasn’t designed to go though, and problems start popping up like a fertilized field sowed with weeds.
OS is the Windows 10, 64-bit edition and marvelous in action if we say so. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. As well as a USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0/3.1 ports, an SD card slot, microphone/headphone jack and an HDMI out port. The battery is one of the few bright spots about the HP Stream 14 and lasts around 10 hours of video playback at medium brightness.
With an MSRP price of $219 it certainly is cheap. But the ‘cheap’ tag seems to have led HP to do rather extensive and ruthless cost-cutting that might cost the Stream its life. If you do need a cheap and average performing laptop, this particular device is up to the task. But, if you need slightly more than that, kindly avert your gaze and look elsewhere to where the grass is reputed to be greener, if pricier.