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Review : HP Stream 11

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Design

Even for an early prototype, the Stream 11 feels sturdy. It looks like recent HP laptops, except for its bright colours, such as magenta or blue. Unfortunately, these colours only amplify the plastic construction and make the laptop look like a toy.


 

Processor

The Intel Celeron processor (N2840) which powers this laptop is a low-end dual-core chip. It comes with just 2GB of RAM, so it is targeted at casual users and meant for everyday computing tasks.

Keyboard

Key travel is decent and the keyboard does not feel cramped, unlike in netbooks. The touchpad supports gestures, such as pinch to zoom and two-finger scrolling.

Storage

It has 32GB of Flash-based storage, which leaves you with about 14GB after Windows and other bundled apps have been installed. To supplement the limited storage, Microsoft has included 1TB of free OneDrive cloud storage for a year.

Ports and connectivity

The Stream 11 has two USB ports, including one which runs on the faster version 3.0 interface. It has an HDMI port and an audio jack. An SD card reader is located on the left.

In the United States, the 13-inch Stream comes with optional 4G connectivity (free 200MB of bundled data per month) for the entire lifespan of the laptop. However, HP is unable to confirm if a similar arrangement will be made with local telcos.

Screen

At 1,366 x 768 pixels, the 11.6-inch screen resolution is typical for its size. However, text and icons are notably fuzzier when compared with displays on even mid-range mobile devices.

Horizontal viewing angles are surprisingly decent. I could make out objects on the screen, even at extreme angles.

However, there is a significant amount of colour shift, while screen brightness takes a dip.

Software

The Stream 11 runs on Windows 8.1 with Bing, which, from a consumer's perspective, is no different from standard Windows 8.1.

For PC vendors, it means that they cannot change the default search provider (Bing) in Internet Explorer.

Microsoft has worked to optimise Windows 8.1 for low-end devices and this laptop provides a decent experience. It still feels a little underpowered, especially when browsing multimedia-heavy webpages.

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