The HP Stream 11 (2021) is a budget laptop that runs Windows 10S. It's very portable due to its compact size, and it's decently well-built despite having an all-plastic chassis. The battery lasts only a little more than seven hours of light productivity, so you'll likely have to carry the power adapter with you. The port selection is reasonable and includes a full-size HDMI, an SD card reader, and a USB-C, although the latter only supports data transfer. Unfortunately, the TN display looks dim and dull, the keyboard feels cramped, and the touchpad makes dragging and dropping items on the desktop hard. Also, it has an Intel Celeron processor that can only handle simple tasks like web browsing and video playback, so it isn't ideal for any demanding workloads or even heavy multitasking. You can only install apps from the Microsoft Store on Windows 10S, though you can switch to the full version if you need to install third-party applications.
Our HP Stream 11 laptop has an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, an Intel UHD Graphics 600 integrated GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. There's a model with an older Intel Celeron N4000 CPU, which we expect to be slightly slower. There are two storage options: 32GB and 64GB. We don't recommend getting the 32GB model because Windows takes up most of it, leaving you almost no space to install apps or store files locally.
The HP Stream is mediocre for school use. It's very portable thanks to its compact size, and its included power adapter is also small and should easily fit into most bags. Its Intel Celeron CPU can only handle easy tasks like web browsing, video playback, and word formatting, which might disappoint those studying in more technical fields like 3D design or engineering. Sadly, the battery life is bad, lasting only a little over seven hours of light productivity. Also, the overall user experience isn't great as the screen looks dim and washed out, the keyboard is tiring to type on, and the touchpad is tiny.
The HP Stream laptop is bad for gaming. It's only available with low-power Intel Celeron CPUs and integrated graphics, so it can't handle games that are even remotely graphically demanding. Additionally, it has a 60Hz display with a slow response time and no VRR support. Although it doesn't get hot under load, there's noticeable performance loss on the GPU.
The HP Stream laptop is sub-par for media consumption. It has a low-resolution display that looks washed out, and it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in well-lit settings. It isn't ideal for dark rooms either because it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks appear grayish. The speakers sound relatively neutral despite the lack of bass, and while they do get very loud, they distort at max volume. It's very portable, though, and its battery life is decent for video playback, enough to get through a couple of TV show episodes.
The HP Stream is bad for use as a workstation. Its Intel Celeron CPU and integrated graphics aren't powerful enough to handle demanding workloads, and the GPU throttles under load. You can only get up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of slow eMMC storage, and unfortunately, you can't upgrade them yourself as most components are soldered onto the motherboard. On the bright side, it has a reasonable number of ports, including a full-size HDMI to connect an external display.
The HP Stream laptop is inadequate for business use. Although its compact size makes it very portable, its battery doesn't quite last a full 8-hour workday, so you have to carry the power adapter as well. Its Intel Celeron CPU is only capable of handling light productivity tasks like web browsing and text formatting, and it'll likely stutter if you have too many tabs or applications open at once since it only has 4GB of RAM. On the upside, the build quality is decent even though it's entirely plastic, and it has a reasonable number of ports, including a full-size HDMI should you need to connect an external display for presentations.
The HP Stream has a basic and unremarkable design, with fairly thick bezels on all four sides. It's entirely plastic, but the keyboard deck has an anodized look to it. It's available in four colors: Diamond White, Royal Blue, Pink, and Black.
The HP Stream 11 laptop has decent build quality. The all-plastic chassis feels cheap, but it's reasonably sturdy, exhibiting only a slight flex in the display keyboard deck. Unfortunately, the plastic picks up fingerprints easily.
The hinge is sub-par. It has a good range and is decently stable, so there isn't much screen wobble when typing. However, you can't open the laptop with one finger because the base isn't weighted enough.
The HP Stream laptop and its included power adapter are very portable as they're compact and lightweight. You should be able to fit them into most bags.
The HP Stream's serviceability is bad. It's hard to access the internals because you have to remove the feet first before removing the screws. The keyboard comes off to reveal the components, of which only the wireless adapter and battery are user-replaceable. The three-ribbon cable connecting the keyboard and the motherboard is hard to reattach once it has been disconnected. Opening the laptop and making changes to the hardware may void the manufacturer's warranty.
The HP Stream has only one display option. It's reasonably sharp, but there isn't much room for any split-screen multitasking, so it's best suited for people who only need to view one window at a time. The bezels are thick and can be distracting for some.
As expected for a productivity and media consumption laptop, the HP Stream's TN panel has a 60Hz refresh rate with no VRR support. It also has a slow response time, causing visible ghosting and dark smearing behind fast-moving objects.
The HP Stream laptop has a poor contrast ratio, typical of most TN panels. It makes blacks appear grayish, especially when viewed in a dark room. The contrast ratio can vary between units.
The HP Stream's screen brightness is mediocre. It's okay for a moderately-lit room, but it isn't bright enough to overcome glare in a well-lit or sunny environment. It does get very dim at the lowest brightness setting, though, so it's easier on the eyes when viewing content in the dark.
The HP Stream laptop has a matte screen that handles reflections well. However, visibility can still be an issue in well-lit environments because the screen doesn't get very bright.
Our unit's black uniformity is awful. The brighter areas are mainly caused by the TN panel's poor vertical viewing angles. You have to look at the screen straight on to get the best results. Black uniformity can vary between units.
The HP Stream 11 laptop's horizontal viewing angles are sub-par. The gamma changes quickly as you move off-center. That said, you can still share the screen with someone else as long as image accuracy isn't essential.
The vertical viewing angles are bad. The image looks particularly inaccurate when viewing from below due to chroma inversion on the TN panel. You have to look at the screen directly to get the best image quality, which might be difficult in some situations.
The HP Stream laptop has terrible color accuracy out of the box. Most colors are inaccurate due to the TN panel's poor color gamut, and the white balance is also visibly off. Everything looks bluish because the color temperature is extremely cool, and the gamma is too high, making most scenes appear darker than they should. Color accuracy can vary between individual units.
The HP Stream has a poor color gamut. It doesn't even have full coverage of the commonly used sRGB color space, so most content look dull and washed out. It also has very limited coverage of wider color spaces like Adobe RGB, DCI P3, and Rec. 2020. We don't recommend using this screen for any color-critical work or for viewing HDR content.
The backlight is entirely flicker-free at all brightness levels, which helps reduce eye strain for some people.
The HP Stream laptop has a bad keyboard. The keys are stable, and the spacing is good, but it still feels cramped because it's such a compact laptop, making it unpleasant to type on for extended periods. There's quite a bit of travel for a laptop keyboard with scissor switches, though, and it doesn't require much force to actuate the keys. Unfortunately, there's no backlighting, so it isn't the best option for dim settings. If you want a laptop with a better keyboard, check out the HP Pavilion x360 11 (2021).
The touchpad is disappointing. It's reasonably responsive, and the clicking mechanism is okay, but its small size makes dragging and dropping items tedious.
The speakers sound relatively neutral even though they have almost no bass whatsoever. They get very loud, but there's a lot of distortion at max volume.
The HP Stream laptop has a bad webcam. It has a low resolution, with a very narrow field of view. The color reproduction is okay, but the overall image quality is still poor because it's grainy, overexposed, and lacks fine details. The microphone sounds relatively clear, though there's some static noise and distortion.
The HP Stream's port selection is okay. All the USB ports support USB 3.2 Gen 1 (up to 5Gbps data transfer speed). Unfortunately, you can't use the USB-C for video output or charging, so you'll have to use the full-size HDMI to connect an external display and the included barrel plug for power. There's a Kensington Nano security lock on the left side.
The wireless adapter is a Realtek RTL8822CE.
There are two CPU configurations available on the HP Stream 11 (model number starting with 11-ak), the Intel Celeron N4000 and the Intel Celeron N4020. They're both dual-core CPUs with no hyperthreading; the only difference is that the N4020 is newer and runs at higher clock speeds, though the difference in real-world usage isn't noticeable in most instances. Both CPUs can handle basic tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback; however, they aren't powerful enough for moderate or heavy workloads like video editing or 3D modeling.
The Intel UHD Graphics 600 is an integrated GPU on the Intel Celeron N4020 and the Intel Celeron N4000 CPUs. It's designed for light productivity tasks and media consumption. It isn't powerful enough for graphically demanding tasks like 3D rendering or gaming, though it can likely handle easy-to-run puzzle games from the Windows Store.
The HP Stream laptop is only available with 4GB of RAM. It's barely enough for the operating system, so you have to be fairly conservative in the number of apps or browser tabs you have open at once; otherwise, you'll experience stutters and slowdowns.
The 64GB of storage in our HP Stream 11 is the maximum that you can get. There's a 32GB model, but we don't recommend it because the operating system takes up almost all of the space, which means you can't install any apps or store files locally.
The HP Stream laptop's Geekbench 5 scores are terrible. The Intel Celeron N4020 CPU and its UHD Graphics 600 integrated GPU are only powerful enough for everyday tasks like web browsing and video playback. We expect the model with an Intel Celeron N4000 to perform even worse.
The HP Stream laptop performs terribly in the Cinebench R23 benchmarks, as expected for a low-power Celeron processor. The Intel Celeron N4000 will perform even worse due to its slower clock speeds.
The Intel Celeron N4020 isn't ideal for 3D rendering. It takes more than an hour to render the BMW scene in Blender. We can't run the GPU rendering test because Blender doesn't support the Intel UHD Graphics 600 integrated GPU.
The HP Stream's integrated GPU performs terribly in the Basemark GPU benchmark. It can likely handle some easy-to-run puzzle games but don't expect to run any remotely graphically demanding titles.
The eMMC storage drive's performance is disappointing. Its slow read and write speeds make booting up the system, launching apps, and transferring files feel slow and sluggish.
The battery life is passable. It can get you through most of the day on a full charge if you only perform light tasks like web browsing, but you almost certainly need to plug it in if you do a lot of video playback or gaming. Battery life varies greatly depending on usage. If you want a similar laptop with longer battery life, check out the ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (2020).
The HP Stream laptop can't run Borderlands 3. The game crashes on startup, even at the lowest settings.
This laptop can't run Civilization VI.
The HP Stream can run CS:GO, but it's unplayable as it can only manage to push out frames in the single digits at the lowest settings.
The laptop can run Shadow of the Tomb Raider at the lowest graphical settings, but it's unplayable because it can only push out a single frame per second on average.
The HP Stream laptop is a little warm when idle, but it's by no means uncomfortable. It only gets slightly warmer under load, with the hottest spot being around the number 0 key. It's completely silent at all times because it's a fanless device.
The HP Stream laptop's performance over time is decent. There's no loss in CPU performance, but the GPU throttles. That said, the drop in graphical performance is only noticeable when performing demanding tasks like gaming.
The HP Stream ships in Windows S Mode, a stripped-down version of the operating system designed for low-power laptops. Windows 10S has fewer features and background processes, making the system feel more responsive, but you can only install apps from the Windows Store. You can switch out of S Mode if you need to install apps from other sources, but this change is a one-way street, which means you can't go back into S Mode afterward. There are a couple of pre-installed software applications, including:
We tested the 11.6 inch HP Stream (model 11-ak0090wm) equipped with an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, Intel UHD Graphics 600, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. There are many HP Stream models, as it's available in an 11.6 inch and 14 inch size, and there are also various CPU configurations. However, some models have a different design and port selection, so to avoid confusion, our review is only applicable to variants with a model number starting with '11-ak'.
Our display and performance results are only valid for the configuration that we tested. If you come across a different configuration option not listed above, or you have a similar HP Stream laptop that doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update it. Some tests, like black uniformity and color accuracy, may vary between individual units.
You can see our unit's label here.
The HP Stream 11 (2021) and the HP Chromebook 14 (2021) are laptops with different operating systems; the Stream 11 runs Windows 10S, while the Chromebook 14 runs Chrome OS. You can install third-party applications on the Stream if you take it out of S mode, whereas the Chromebook 14 is limited to web apps, Android apps from the Google Play Store, and Linux apps. The Chromebook 14 has a larger display but the same 720p resolution as the Stream 11, so the image doesn't look as sharp because the pixel density is lower. The Chromebook 14 has a better keyboard and touchpad, and its battery life is significantly longer. Although the Stream 11 uses a newer version of the Celeron CPU in the Chromebook 14, the latter feels faster and more responsive overall because Chrome OS is a lighter operating system with fewer processes running in the background.
The HP Pavilion x360 11 (2021) and the HP Stream 11 (2021) are both 11.6" Windows laptops; however, the Pavilion x360 has a 360-degree hinge that lets you flip the screen around and use it as a tablet, while you can only use the Stream in clamshell mode. The Pavilion x360 provides a better overall user experience because it has an IPS display with wider viewing angles, a more comfortable keyboard, and a webcam with much better video quality. The Pavilion x360 also feels smoother because its Intel Pentium Silver processor can handle heavier workloads than the Stream's Intel Celeron CPU, and its SSD is significantly faster.
The Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) and the HP Stream 11 (2021) are completely different laptops. The MacBook Pro is a premium mobile workstation that can handle heavy workloads like video editing and graphic design, while the Stream 11 is a compact, budget laptop designed for light tasks like web browsing and video playback. The MacBook Pro is better in every way, but the Stream 11 is more portable and might be a better choice if you only need a simple device to access the internet or get some work done on the go.
The ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (2020) and the HP Stream 11 (2021) are budget Windows laptops. However, the ASUS is a 2-in-1 convertible that you can use as a tablet, whereas you can only use the HP in clamshell mode. The HP is more portable, but its smaller screen makes split-screen multitasking harder. It also has louder and better-sounding speakers and a better port selection. Performance-wise, the ASUS' Intel Pentium Silver N5030 performs better in multi-threaded workloads than the HP's Intel Celeron N4020, but they're both low-power CPUs that can only handle basic tasks like web browsing and text formating. The ASUS has longer battery life for light productivity tasks, but the HP lasts longer for video playback.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2020) is a convertible 2-in-1 Chrome OS device, whereas the HP Stream 11 (2021) is a traditional laptop running Windows. The Acer is a significantly better laptop overall, with a much sharper, brighter, and more colorful display, a significantly better keyboard and touchpad, and a far better webcam and microphone. Also, it has a better port selection, a significantly longer-lasting battery, and can have far better CPUs, more RAM, and larger, much faster storage. On the other hand, the HP is much more portable, so it's easier to take along, and its speakers get much louder.
The HP Stream 11 (2021) is better than the Thomson NEO 10 (2020) overall. The HP has a slightly larger, sharper, and brighter display. It also has a better keyboard, touchpad, and speakers than the Thomson. The HP's CPU and GPU are more powerful, so the system as a whole feels faster and more responsive. Both devices are only capable of handling simple tasks like web browsing and video playback, not demanding workloads like video editing or AAA gaming.
The HP Stream 11 (2021) and the Samsung Chromebook 4 (2019) are both 11.6" laptops, but the HP runs Windows 10S, while the Samsung runs Chrome OS. Performance-wise, the Samsung feels snappier and more responsive than the HP because Chrome OS is a lighter operating system. However, Chrome OS is more limited because you can only use web apps, Android apps, and Linux apps, while the HP can run full x86 programs if you take it out of S mode. Battery life is much better on the Samsung for light productivity, but the HP lasts longer for video playback. The Samsung feels better built, with a higher quality keyboard, touchpad, and webcam.
The HP Stream 11 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The Stream 11 is a budget Windows laptop designed for simple tasks like web browsing and media playback, while the MacBook Pro 16 is a high-end macOS laptop that can handle significantly more demanding workloads like video editing and 3D modeling. The MacBook Pro 16 performs better in all aspects, although the Stream 11 is more portable if you're only looking for a device to access the internet while on the go.
The HP Stream 11 (2021) and the Lenovo Chromebook Duet are compact devices designed for light tasks like web browsing and media playback. However, the Stream 11 runs Windows, while the Chromebook Duet runs Chrome OS. The Duet is more versatile because it's a 2-in-1 convertible with a detachable keyboard. The Duet's screen is smaller, but it's much sharper, brighter, and more colorful, whereas the Stream 11's screen looks dim and dull. The Duet has better battery life for web browsing and video playback, but it doesn't last as long as the Stream 11 for gaming.
The Acer Aspire 5 15 (2020) is much better than the HP Stream 11 (2021) for most uses. The Acer has a wider variety of configurations, with CPUs and GPUs that are significantly more powerful than the Intel Celeron CPUs on the HP. You can configure the Acer with more memory and a faster, larger storage drive. The Acer also has a bigger and sharper display, as well as a better keyboard, touchpad, and webcam. The HP has longer battery life, and it's quieter because it's a fanless device.
The HP Stream 11 (2021) and the Lenovo 100e Chromebook 2nd Gen (2019) are budget laptops. However, the Stream 11 runs Windows, while the 100e Chromebook runs Chrome OS. This means that you can run full x86 applications on the Stream 11, but you're limited to web apps, Android apps, and Linux apps on the 100e Chromebook. The 100e provides a slightly better user experience because it has a better keyboard, touchpad, and webcam, but its build quality doesn't feel as sturdy as the Stream 11.