HP Stream 14 is probably one of the best budget 14 inch systems you can get right now for under 250 dollars. It promises of good performance, long last battery life, and impressive matte screen display. The only tough competitor it has right now is Chromebook which now dominating the budget market. Chromebook promises so much better specification than what they manage to find in Windows, but unfortunately not all of users want to move from Windows to Chrome OS. Recently, HP has just upgraded its Stream series with better hardware configuration. While the overall design and component are remaining similar, they put a more powerful processor.
The Celeron N4000 processor is revised version of Celeron N3350 we see last year. It comes with much higher clock rate although it still has dual core CPU instead of quad core. I really hope Intel upgrades the CPU numbers in their lower end processor is upgraded as in smartphone we are not seeing any dual core CPU. But, as long as Intel moves freely in this market without any competitor they won’t make big changes. Let’s take a look into this new model further and see how it goes for us.
Design and Connectivity
There is nothing surprising from the design especially in material used here as they put of totally plastic material for its case. Some Chinese companies like Jumper are brave enough to put aluminum design, but I guess we should never find something similar coming into a laptop with big brand name. However, HP provides few different color options which worth to consider here. Four colors variant available included of gray, purple, blue, and white one. In term of build quality, the plastic surface has a smooth surface and overall shows a good construction. The lightweight from plastic also brings of much better mobility and easier to fit and carry into your bag.
The connectivity is never being a big problem, but I cannot find of USB type-C port here. Yeah some of budget devices like ASUS W202NA have included this modern port and I believe HP is able to do the same thing here. There are two USB 3.0 ports a single USB 2.0 which dependable for transferring data and plugging your devices. The HDMI and SD card are included here, but I am not seeing anything new here. One thing I should appreciate here is now the system coming with WIFI AC connection. It supports fast connectivity although the WIFI range is slightly shorter than I expect. The overall the design and features find here are identical to its competitors.back to menu ↑
Low Resolution Display, but Overall Great Keyboard
The Stream for a good reason still features of 14 inch 1366 x 768 resolution display. I guess they put the same display similarly like they do last year. The panel manages to cover of good amount color coverage, but keep in mind it’s still below 60 %. The same case happened to its brightness. It looks slightly brighter than its predecessor, but it’s just around 200 nits. Outdoor usage will force you to adjust the brightness into maximum if you really want to see the clearly. The glossy panel is quite reflective during the days and somehow they no longer give us a matte screen. As for alternative, you have of Idepad 120S 14 inch if you expect something better here.
As for the input, I really love its keyboard thanks to its textured size surface. The keys are clicky and easy to press here and suitable enough for long usage. The only problem I found here is located on the navigation button which I feel is small enough. It takes time to get used here when you are moving from a system with larger keyboard. The touchpad shows similar impression and has fully supported by Windows 10 precision driver. Two finger up swiping works well for scrolling the page during your browsing.
|HP Stream 14 Inch 2018||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Gemini Lake N4000 1.1 GHz|
|Graphics||Intel HD Integrated|
|Display Size||14 TN HD Panel|
|OS||Windows 10 S|
|Memory||4GB DDR4 Memory|
|Storage||64GB EMMC (Flash Storage)|
Performance and Battery
Last year, we see the system is powered by Intel Celeron processor from Apollo Lake generation. This year, it’s coming with Intel N4000 from Gemini Lake generation, but unfortunately I do not really see any big difference. The processor is slightly faster higher clock rate during the turbo boost mode, but it’s very minor and seeing it in real life, won’t show you almost any difference. The integrated GPU used here is also similar, it runs slightly faster for like 5 %. I have tried to play of CS Go for couple of minutes just for test and finding it runs 3 to 4 FPS faster and still no playable at all.
The standard battery life measured here is around 9 hours and 40 minutes. HP promises of 11 hours of usage, but keep in mind the result is related to video streaming only and not a real life test. In reality, 8 to 9 hours is the most standard result found here and should never go beyond than it unless you really touch it rarely here. Well, 9 hours is not bad considering even premium devices come with this amount of duration. The battery life is great, but never expects a truly good performance improvement here.
The Stream 14 2018 is a fantastic budget laptop for under 250 dollars, but the 2018 version really comes with minor improvement in any sectors here. The keyboard, display, and design are remaining similar and the only thing I find improvement is the performance. Yet, Gemini Lake does not promise almost no improvement in performance. If you already have its 2017 version, then I never really recommend you to take it. The thing is different if you are a new comer, then this should be the best option you manage to afford right now at this price. The choice is yours, so feel free to take any consideration about it.