The HP Stream 14-ax010nr is a compact budget laptop that is designed to compete with inexpensive Chromebooks. It’s a full Windows 10 PC for folks who can’t bring themselves to use a browser-based laptop since chromebooks only use Google’s Chrome OS which can be quite limiting.
With a basic Intel Celeron processor and lots of extras from Microsoft, like 1TB of OneDrive storage and free Office 365 Personal for one year, there’s definitely much to like about the Stream 14. Even when compared with other budget Windows laptops we’ve reviewed previously, the Stream 14 is compelling with its versatility, affordability and lots of extras. It gets competition from its smaller sibling the HP Stream 11-y010nr, but the larger display is quite something, and it polishes the Stream 11’s quirks.
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The HP Stream 14-ax010nr is powered by an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, a rather basic choice. This dual core CPU has a frequency range between 1.6 GHz and 2.48 GHz, comes with 2 megabytes of L2 cache and has a thermal design power of just 6 Watts. As you can see, the specs are geared toward entry-level portable devices, where emphasis is being put on energy efficiency rather than performance.
Despite of the unimpressive processor unit, the blue notebook won’t feel sluggish when doing the most basic of tasks, such as writing or editing documents, browsing the web or checking your email. However, running resource intensive programs will likely cause significant stutter.
System memory is rated at 4 gigabytes of DDR3L RAM. I think that amount is quite adequate for such a device, especially considering that the basic CPU will likely cause the laptop to slow down when multitasking well before the 4 gigs of memory will have started to struggle.
Sure, some multitasking will be ok on the HP Stream 14-ax010nr, but nothing fancy. You should expect to successfully operate the notebook with a couple of open programs tops. Think web browser, text editor, mail app, some music and that’s it.
Storage space is modest at best. Far from the hundreds of gigabytes present in mid range notebooks, this entry level laptop comes with 32 gigabytes of eMMC storage space. Similar to flash storage (what you see in USB flash drives), this storage medium isn’t as fast or reliable as an SSD, but still way snappier than traditional hard disk drives.
Windows will boot in roughly half the time it takes a hard drive to do it and programs will open and operate more smoothly. If storage capacity is an issue, you can easily extend it via an SD card mounted inside the card reader or by using an external hard drive. I always recommend the SD option, because it doesn’t impair portability one bit.
GRAPHICS AND DISPLAY
The HP Stream 14-ax010nr features a 14-inch screen with HD SVA BrightView WLED-Backlit display. It will produce a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, which is OK for a smaller than usual display. Picture quality is not something to be proud of, but considering this is a $200 device, it’s really not that big of an issue.
If you want to edit photos or movie clips, you should look for a different, more expensive laptop. Besides of poor color reproduction, the HP doesn’t have a dedicated video card, but an Intel HD Graphics 400 card. It will play HD videos or streams just fine, but don’t expect it to run any games.
Included Software in HP Stream
- McAfee LiveSafe – Protect your computer with a 30-day trial
- Office 365 Personal (1-Year) – Includes Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Access
- Dropbox Storage – 25GB of cloud storage for one year
- OneDrive Storage – 1TB of cloud storage included with Office 365
- Skype – 60 minutes of call time per month for one year
Windows 10 Home
- Start Menu
- After its hiatus in Windows 8, the Start Menu has returned. Utilizing a combination of the traditional menu system and Windows 8’s Live Tiles, the improved Start Menu gives you more information at a glance, showing notification information alongside your applications and other pinned items.
- Microsoft’s digital personal assistant, Cortana can answer your questions with information gleaned from both your device and the internet at large. You can type or even talk with her, if your system has a microphone. Using her Notebook, Cortana keeps track of your needs and wants, and she learns over time to improve her information gathering skills.
- Microsoft Edge
- After nearly 20 years, Microsoft has finally replaced its Internet Explorer web browser. With Microsoft Edge, users can write directly on web pages and share notes with friends and colleagues. It also improves the online reading experience by adding a distraction-free mode and read-it-later functionality. Edge also has built-in Cortana integration; you can have her help you find a restaurant, make a reservation, and pull up directions without leaving your browser.
- Windows Store
- For Windows 10, Microsoft has unified the Windows Store. Now, apps for PCs, tablets, and phones will all be accessible from one place. And with support for Universal Apps, one version of an app can work across all your compatible devices automatically.
- Windows Continuum
- Windows 10 was designed for a variety of screen sizes and input styles, and with its Continuum feature, it automatically adapts to fit your needs. A Windows 10 tablet on its own requires a touch-centric approach, but attaching a mouse and keyboard will shift everything to a more traditional interface. You can even attach an external monitor to your Windows 10 phone for a near-desktop experience. But it’s not just the operating system; Windows Universal Apps take advantage of Continuum as well.
- Xbox on Windows 10
- Gaming is a big focus of Windows 10. Xbox integration allows for PC players to match up against Xbox One players on supported games, and if you have an Xbox One, you can even stream compatible titles to your PC. Native support for recording with the new Game DVR feature makes it easy to capture and share your gameplay. The new DirectX12 takes better advantage of multi-core processors, giving games a performance boost, even on older hardware. Windows 10 also features native support for virtual reality headsets, such as the Oculus Rift.
With Windows 10, a full terabyte of OneDrive storage, and a complimentary year of Office 365 Personal, Microsoft has perfected the art of beating competitors where ‘it matters’ in a tiny laptop that bolds itself into a category recently taken over by Chromebooks. It’s a smart move that unties the conventional wisdom that you have to pay a premium for an ultraportable laptop, and it undercuts most of our recent Chromebook review units. The speedy eMMC SSD makes it faster than most budget Windows PCs, and if you have constant Internet access you won’t have to worry about running out of room on the 32GB SSD. Its immediate competitors include our Editors’ Top Pick for entry-level detachable tablets Asus Transformer Book T100TA, which has double the SSD space and adds a few more hour of battery life, but it has a much smaller 10-inch screen. Overall, the HP Stream 14 is the all-day portable PC I’d pick for the nice sticker price, and is an easy choice to recommend for anyone in the market for a budget ultraportable laptop.