Showing posts with label HP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HP. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

HP UK release the N4000 Stream 11 & HP Stream 14

HP UK now sells the Celeron N4000 Stream 11. Oddly, HP UK decided to release the laptop with 2GB RAM. This isn't a Europe wide decision, as HP Germany sell the 4GB RAM version. The 4GB version was released in North America months ago.

HP UK also decided to price the laptop similar to the Lenovo S130 and ASUS VivoBook E203. The pricing makes no sense as both the Lenovo S130 and ASUS VivoBook E203 are devices with twice the RAM.

They've also released the N4000 HP Stream 14. It is a positive, in my view, that HP decided to give the latest iteration of the Stream 14 an anti-glare display. Pricing has also slightly increased as the storage has been doubled to 64GB.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

HP updates the Stream series in North America

I noticed that HP updated their Stream series with the Intel N4000 processor. Both versions - 11.6 inches and 14 inches - remain broadly the same. The main changes are in the processor and a bump in battery life. The devices are also offered with Microsoft Office 365 Personal one-year subscriptions. So far, it appears, the updated laptops are only available in North America (US and Canada). In the UK, the main retailers still sell the N3060 versions and the HP Stream 11.6 is also only available with 2GB RAM.

HP need to update the HP Stream series

As stated in the previous post, ASUS recently updated some of their budget laptops with Intel Gemini Lake processors. Similarly, Acer has updated the Aspire 1 series with the Gemini Lake N4000 Celeron processor. HP, so far, haven't refreshed the budget HP Stream series. There are two categories to the HP Stream series:
  1. A general consumer category powered by the HP Braswell N3060 processor. This category consists of laptops in two screen sizes - 11.6 inches and 14 inches. In the UK, the 11.6 version is only available with 2GB RAM. There is also a 11.6 inches HP Stream x360 - a touch convertible laptop with similar specifications to the conventional Stream 11 and 14. 
  2.  An education targeted model - the HP Stream 11 Pro G4 - that runs a stronger quad-core Apollo Lake (N3450). 
The current generation of HP Stream's consumer laptops were released late 2016, so they are due an update. If HP decides to keep the Stream laptops beyond education, then we might see the HP Stream 11 and 14 refreshed with the N4000 processor. It would also give the Stream laptops a stand out if they were equipped with IPS screens. The current HP Stream 14's screen is terrible - the colours are washed out and with poor viewing angles.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

HP Stream 14 Review: A good value entry laptop let-down by a sub-par display

The HP Stream 11 and 14, late 2016 release, brought something different - the first entry-level laptops released with 4GB RAM. In the US, both the HP Stream 11 and 14 are available with with 4GB; in Europe, unfortunately, only the HP Stream 14 model is available with the extra RAM. The extra RAM that comes with the 2016 HP Stream 14 makes a significant difference when multi-tasking. Make no mistake, the N3060 Celeron Braswell is no power-horse and it would have been better to release this generation of Stream laptops with a Celeron Apollo-Lake processor. However, the Braswell processor offers good enough performance but with some stutter and lagging with more intensive tasks. For example, browsing web-pages with rich multimedia content – CNET being a case point – slows down browsing. I would recommend installing an effective ad blocker to deal with with advertisements/click-bait and automated video content. Further, internet performance is affected by the browser used – Firefox and Opera work better, in Microsoft Windows, in comparison to Google Chrome and, ironically, Microsoft Edge. Chrome works better in Linux than Firefox.

The display, in my opinion, is the device’s let-down. For this category, with an emphasis on portability, a matte display would have been a better choice (the HP Stream 14’s glossy screen is very reflective). The biggest problem with the screen, even in comparison to other entry-level laptops, is its poor viewing angles and washed out colours. The problem is accentuated with a relatively low pixel density in a 1366 x 768 resolution spread across a 14 inch display. The problem can be somewhat remedied through increasing both gamma and colour saturation through Intel graphics. The track-pad works well and scrolling is smooth but the track-pad is stiff when pressing. One plus with this laptop, consistent with the HP Stream range, is a very good keyboard. The keyboard, due to the larger laptop size, is near full size.

Another positive with the HP Stream 14 is that it works ‘out of the box’ with Linux Mint, Ubuntu and Elementary OS. I would recommend Linux Mint Cinnamon for its stability, user-friendly interface and resemblance to a Windows desktop environment. I also noticed a performance boost with Linux, in comparison to Windows; further, most Linux distributions run comfortably with 32GB storage. Battery is very good in Windows – closer to a maximum of 8 hours than the advertised up to 10 hours – but is further extended, with the right tweaks, in the Linux distributions I tried.

The HP Stream 14 is a good laptop and offers value in terms of hardware and a bundled Office 365 subscription. I like the larger screen that doesn’t compromise portability (the laptop’s 1.4 KG is relatively light-weight for its size). However, if you don’t need Office 365 and would prefer something more lightweight, compact and with a higher pixel density then the 11.6 inch Acer ES11 might be the better the option. The device similarly comes with the important 4GB of RAM but with a better processor (Intel Celeron Apollo-Lake N3350). The option of purchasing the Acer Aspire ES11 without an Office 365 subscription means it comes at a lower entry price compared to the larger HP Stream 14.

Pros
  • Lightweight for a 14-inch laptop
  • The extra RAM makes a significant difference
  • Very good battery life 
  • One year Office 365 subscription
  • Very good keyboard 
  • Works well with Linux

Cons

  • The screen is sub-par, even for this category.
  • The Braswell processor, despite the slight improvement from last year’s model, is still under-powered 
  • Iffy trackpad

Overall rating: 7/10

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

HP introduces a stand-out entry-level laptop

HP released the 2016 update to its entry-level laptop series (HP Stream series). Finally, HP introduced the right specifications that makes this device - on paper - a stand-out choice for the entry-level category. With a slightly bumped up processor (Intel Celeron N3060) and more importantly 4GB RAM, the user should get a significant performance enhancement. I never thought 2GB RAM was the right compromise, even for this category. It is understandable to go for a mobile class processor, considering the use-case scenario, but RAM should be sufficient to allow for adequate multi-tasking and a richer web browsing experience. Surprisingly, the device’s retail price remains the same with the RAM upgrade. It will be interesting to see how DELL, Asus, Acer and Lenovo respond with their own entry laptops.