Cloudbooks have definitely made a name for themselves in the last couple of years. They are cheap, efficient and portable options that deliver the Windows 10 ecosystem at a fraction of the cost of owning a powerhouse laptop.
More and more companies are jumping onto the cloudbook bandwagon and with HP being one of the first companies to do so with its "Stream lineup", today we thought we'd take a deep look and review one of the companies most attractive and competitively priced models; the recently launched HP Stream 14-ax010nr.
This 14 inch cloudbook boasts a latest generation Celeron CPU, an impressive 10 hour battery life and a very lightweight design despite being on the higher end of the screen size scale (14 inches). However, that's just the tip of the iceberg, so without further ado, let's get on with our review of the HP Stream 14-ax010nr.
A lightweight yet durable design
Let me start things off by saying this is in no way what you'd call a premium laptop. Once we've gotten that out of the way and you've lowered your expectations in terms of design quality, I must say that as far as affordable laptops go, this one has a pretty sturdy look and feel that quickly sets itself apart from other notebooks within the same price range.
It's design is pretty light which makes it an extremely portable option thanks to its weight of just 3.17 pounds. That's quite impressive when you consider we're not talking about an 11 inch laptop but rather a 14 inch model.
Speaking of the display, we've got a standard WLED-Backlit panel with an HD resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels on the aforementioned 14 inch diagonal with Brightview technology. Also, as you'd expect on an affordable laptop such as this one, there's no backlit keyboard, however, the typing experience is quite pleasant and there's a good enough travel key distance (1.5mm) which makes for a comfortable writing tool.
Solid overall performance within its limitations
As me stated previously, this is not a premium laptop nor in design nor in specs. In that regard, you shouldn't expect this laptop to be a power player or anything of the sorts but rather a main computer for basic computing tasks or a secondary computer for all the portability it offers.
So; why do we say this isn't a powerhouse laptop? Well, for one thing you've got an Intel Celeron N3060 processor clocked at a base speed of 1.6GHz (dual core) which can reach a maximum turboboost speed of 2.48GHz. That's an improvement over the previous generation N3050 yet not enough to be even remotely comparable to the performance of a latest generation Core i5, for example.
All in all, when you couple this processor with the 4GB DDR3L SDRAM module HP implemented here, you're looking at a laptop that's a good fit for easy computing tasks. Stuff like watching movies perform very well, so do stuff like editing word documents, browsing the web and talking to friends via Skype. For these kinds of tasks, this laptop is definitely up to the challenge though due to the RAM limitations I wouldn't try to do all at once.
Finally, storage is the biggest limitation that we can find within the HP Stream 14-ax010nr's performance. Specifically, we've got a standalone 32GB eMMC module which should be enough space for just about the operating system and a few extra apps.
Remember this laptop was designed as a cloudbook and therefore is meant primarily to be used while connected to the internet. On that point, we should mention that you also get 1TB of free OneDrive storage during your first year and you can use that as a remote storage option to expand upon the base 32GB.
No gaming to be done here...
No one should expect a low cost cloudbook such as this one to deliver a good gaming performance, otherwise you're pretty much setting yourself up for failure. In the case of the HP Stream 14-ax010nr, that's exactly the case since it packs an integrated graphics card which is hardly suited for anything beyond a simple SIMS or Mirecraft game.
Sure, streaming movies will be done without a problem but anything that exceeds that kind of graphical demand should really be left for more "advanced laptops".
Extensive battery life and wide connectivity options
Battery life on the HP 14-ax010nr is one of its best features. Specifically, HP promises to deliver up to 10 hours and 45 minutes of battery life. In our experience actual numbers might be closer to the 7-8 hour mark with real world usage but nonetheless, it's still pretty impressive for a budget notebook.
Connectivity was another shocker. For starters we've got WiFi 802.11ac support, which means you get much faster download speeds than your standard b/g/n connectivity. Aside from this, you also have access to Bluetooth and a microSD card reader.
This last slot is especially attractive to the end user because you can use it to easily and affordably expand the laptops internal storage by just inserting a microSD card and leaving it there as an external drive. MicroSD cards are really cheap nowadays and you could easily purchase an additional 32GB for less than $15.
Moving onto the available ports, the 14-ax010nr packs an HDMI output, a standalone USB 2.0 port and a very curious set of two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. This might seem a bit confusing since they're not all that popular, however, they're actually faster than the standard USB 3.0 ports whilst using the same design, therefore you get a couple of ports that are even faster when transferring data than your typical USB 3.0 port.
There's also a one year subscription to Office 365, the aforementioned 1TB of One Drive storage as well as an HD webcam.
So; to buy or not to buy? That is the question!
As a standalone powerhouse computer you should definitely check out other more expensive options since this laptop will, quite simply, fall short of your expectations. However, once you've adjusted your expectations and are seeking for either a basic computing laptop or a secondary laptop then this is an excellent choice that will save you a bundle in the process.
After reviewing the HP Stream 14-ax010nr, what we've come to like the most is its lightweight design, ample RAM (compared to other cloudbooks) and quick performance when browsing through the internet or streaming video.
Its got its set of limitations, that's for sure, however, once you look past them and consider this laptop in the context of being a low cost cloudbook that's on sale at an extremely affordable price, you've got yourself a great bargain that's a no-brainer as a secondary laptop and an easy choice for simple computing users.