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If you have browsed the electronics departments of Walmart or Target, it’s likely that good that the HP Stream 14 ($219.99) has caught your eye, whether as a result of its candy-colored design or its ultra-affordable price. HP has been making the economical Stream notebook computer for a couple of years now, presenting the low-powered budget notebook as a Windows-based competitor to Chromebooks. The Stream 14 is bigger than HP’s Stream offerings in previous years (the major model used to be 13 inches), however, not much else has changed.

Just like a Chromebook, the Stream 14 keeps the purchase price low by sticking with the bare essentials: a low-powered CPU, minimal RAM and 32GB of flash memory for storage. Unfortunately, that may well not be enough to aid the type of Windows experience you anticipate from a good budget laptop.

Design

The Stream 14 includes a lightweight plastic chassis, measuring 13.3 x 8.9 x 0.70 inches and weighing just 3.11 pounds. The plastic construction feels hollow and flexes somewhat with every keystroke and tap on the trackpad — a concern we didn’t face when we tested small HP Stream 11. The palm rest includes a textured pattern and gets a dash of two-toned style because of the white keyboard. That is similar in both size and weight to other 14-inch systems in this cost range, just like the Lenovo Ideapad 100S-14, which measures 13.3 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches and weighs 3.2 pounds.

The Stream line has always sported bright candy colors, and even though the machine we reviewed was bright blue, also you can obtain it in purple. Competing machines, just like the Lenovo Ideapad 100S-14, keep it simple with black plastic construction.

Display

The Stream 14 includes a 14-inch display with a 1366 x 768 resolution, which isn’t uncommon in this ultrabudget cost range. When I watched the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, the colorful trailer looked OK. The Hulk’s skin looked to be the proper shade of green, explosions flared orange and the lightning crackling from Thor looked bluish white.

HP’s notebook can produce 81.5 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is practically identical to the scores from the Dell Inspiron 14 3000 (81 percent) and the Lenovo Ideapad 100S-14 (84 percent).

The display’s color accuracy isn’t perfect, with a Delta-E rating of 3.86 as measured with this colorimeter (0 is ideal). That’s just about what we expect in this cost range, as both IdeaPad 100S-14 (3.85) and the Inspiron 14 3000 (3.4) had similar color accuracy.

The display was also pretty dim, averaging 186 nits of brightness. That’s much better than the Inspiron 14 3000 (135 nits) and like the IdeaPad 100S-14 (188 nits), but we prefer a panel brighter than 200 nits.

Audio

The HP Stream 14 includes a couple of downward-firing speakers, but upon this laptop, you’ll want to employ a couple of headphones. When I paid attention to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dark Necessities,” I heard the lyrics evidently and could find out percussion well, but Flea’s aggressive bass line was muted. The DTS Studio Sound utility, that provides some audio tracks presets, is preinstalled, but none of the presets did much to increase the anemic sound from the tiny speakers.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The HP Stream 14’s keyboard has white tile keys, that have 1.32 millimeters of travel and require 72 grams of pressure to join up a keystroke. Regardless of the heavy pressure required for each and every keystroke, the keys themselves felt light and flimsy, and I briefly worried that they might come off if indeed they were banged around in a notebook computer bag. On the 10FastFingers.com typing test, I were able to bang out 65 words each and every minute, falling a lttle bit short of my usual 80 wpm.

The touchpad measures 3.7 x 2.5 inches, and gets the same bright-blue color as the encompassing chassis. The matte plastic finish might not exactly be luxurious, nonetheless it registered every click and gesture without trouble. The HP Imagepad uses clickable zones in the low corners rather than discrete mouse buttons, and supports multitouch gestures.

Ports

The port selection is somewhat slim on the Stream 14, but it’s satisfactory for basic use. Along the left side of the chassis, you’ll discover a full-size HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port and an Sdcard slot. You’ll also locate a Kensington lock slot and an music headset jack. On the proper side of the notebook computer is a power connector. The Stream 14 does not have any Ethernet port, so you will be dependant on Wi-Fi.

Performance

Built with a 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3060 processor, Intel HD Graphics 400, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMc flash storage, the Stream 14 has nearly the same parts observed in the Ideapad 100S-14 and the Inspiron 14 3000, but with yet another 2GB of RAM. It is also identical to the Samsung Chromebook 3, which highlights the Stream 14’s position as a Chromebook competitor.

While this Windows-based system may give a more familiar OS environment and (ostensibly) support the programs and software you’re used to, the performance seriously isn’t there. When I ran through basic areas of testing, like snapping a photography with the webcam, there is noticeable lag for very basic functions, so when I tried running multiple browser tabs, things slowed and stuttered with only five tabs open.

The Stream 14 scored 1,817 in the Geekbench 4 efficiency test, that is a hair prior to the Inspiron 14 3000 (1,807) and just behind the Ideapad 100S-14 (1,880), that was expected taking into consideration the Stream’s low-powered Celeron processor. Though it costs a great deal more, at $350, the Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM) (5,408, Intel Core i3-7100U) offers you substantially better performance while still to arrive at well under $500.

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