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HP Stream 14: A Budget Laptop for Basic Tasks


HP Stream 14: A Budget Laptop for Basic Tasks

The HP Stream 14 is a low-cost Windows laptop that offers a 14-inch display, an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC flash storage. It is aimed at students and casual users who need a simple device for web browsing, email, word processing and other basic tasks. The HP Stream 14 is one of the cheapest Windows laptops on the market, with a starting price of $249.47.

However, the low price comes with some compromises. The HP Stream 14 has a subpar display with a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels, which makes text and images look fuzzy and washed-out. The performance is also sluggish, especially when running multiple apps or tabs. The storage capacity is minimal, and some users may find it difficult to install or update apps due to the limited space. The keyboard is noisy and lacks backlighting, and the camera quality is poor. The HP Stream 14 also runs Windows 10 S, a restricted version of Windows that only allows apps from the Microsoft Store.

The HP Stream 14 does have some advantages, though. It has a decent build quality for the price, with a sturdy and attractive design. It has an HDMI output, a USB Type-C port, an SD card slot and a headphone jack. The sound quality is reasonable for a low-cost laptop, and it includes one year of Microsoft 365 subscription, which gives access to Office apps and cloud storage. The battery life is also impressive, lasting for more than seven hours in our tests.

The HP Stream 14 might be a good match for students on a very strict budget, but don’t expect to use this laptop for anything outside of basic schoolwork or the least demanding of everyday tasks. For most users, it would be better to increase the budget to around $400 and get a more capable budget Windows machine, or consider a Chromebook instead.

How does the HP Stream 14 compare with other budget laptops? One of its main competitors is the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14, which has a similar price and configuration. The IdeaPad 1 14 has a slightly faster processor (Intel Celeron N4020 vs. N4000), a larger storage capacity (64GB vs. 32GB), and a better keyboard and touchpad. However, the IdeaPad 1 14 has a shorter battery life (around five hours vs. seven hours), a dimmer and more reflective screen, and no USB Type-C port. Both laptops have the same low-resolution display and mediocre performance.

Another option is the Acer Chromebook 314, which runs Chrome OS instead of Windows. Chrome OS is a simpler and more secure operating system that relies on web-based apps and cloud storage. The Chromebook 314 has a better display than the HP Stream 14, with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels and an IPS panel that offers wider viewing angles and more accurate colors. It also has a longer battery life (around 10 hours vs. seven hours), a more comfortable keyboard and touchpad, and a faster performance thanks to its Intel Celeron N4000 processor and 4GB of RAM. The Chromebook 314 has less local storage (32GB vs. 64GB), but it comes with 100GB of Google Drive space for two years. The Chromebook 314 costs $269.99, which is slightly more than the HP Stream 14, but it offers a better value for money.

In conclusion, the HP Stream 14 is not a bad choice for people who need a very cheap Windows laptop for basic tasks, but it has many limitations that may frustrate users in the long run. For a slightly higher price, users can get a better experience with either the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 or the Acer Chromebook 314, depending on their preference for Windows or Chrome OS.

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