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[Review] HP Stream 11-ak0020nr: Pretty Much What You'd Expect

 

Pros
  • Portable design
  • Dual core processor with 4 GB of RAM
  • 1 Year of Office and 1 year One Drive Subscription with 1 TB
  • WiFi 5 connectivity
  • Extensive connectivity options (for its size)
Cons
  • You can't upgrade RAM
  • Standard design

The school year is fast approaching and with it a lot of uncertainty around what's going to happen with our kids once the bell rings. Will they have to homeschool? Will a new structure have them going to school part-time? Truth is, none of us knows and the best thing we can do is be prepared for any scenario. 

It's with this in mind that today we take on an extremely popular laptop that's managed to take Amazon by storm through focusing mainly on being a "kid-friendly" laptop. We're talking about the HP Stream 11-ak0020nr.

HP's latest venture onto the educational segment has proven to be quite successful and while it's obvious that this laptop is hardly suited for the most demanding of us, for kids as well as casual laptop users it could very well prove to be a perfect fit.

Index

  1. Design and display
  2. What's the performance like?
  3. Battery life and connectivity
  4. How to disable Windows S Mode
  5. Closing arguments 

HP Stream 11-ak0020nr Review of a "Kid-friendly" laptop

Design and display

While it's true that the 14 and 13.3-inch form factor has risen in popularity over the past couple of years, not everyone is looking for a laptop that's "that big". In that regard, the HP Stream 11-ak0020nr boasts an 11.6-inch WLED display with 1366 by 768 pixels (standard HD definition). 

This is the kind of display we've grown accustomed to seeing back in 2015 but it's hardly a resolution we're used to now in a time when most affordable laptops have switched to a Full HD display. It's ok but it's nothing to write home about.

As far as the design goes, HP's educational laptop comes with a pretty standard design that doesn't really seek to innovate. As you might expect, there's no backlit keyboard or anything of the sorts. Neither will you find a dedicated numeric pad on this size.

Again, if a backlit keyboard a Full HD definition and a higher-end processor are what you are looking for then you'd be better off with the Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS34 which is slightly more expensive but comes with a far more advanced set of specs.

Finally, a solid reason to go for this model is portability. Specifically, weighing just 2.37 pounds and measuring slightly below seven inches this device is extremely portable.

Performance of the HP Stream 11-ak0020nr  

As far as performance is concerned you should not expect to edit J.J.Abrahms's next movie on this laptop. Specifically, we've got a pretty basic Intel Celeron N4000 processor that clocks in at a base 1.1 GHz with two cores that are geared towards getting the most out of the battery life, we've got 32 GB of eMMC storage and 4 GB of RAM.

Basically, you should be very much aware that this laptop is what is known as a cloudbook, a device that's engineered with the intention that we store everything in the cloud. That's why it also comes with one year of 1 TB of One Drive. In that regard, it's very much comparable to a Chromebook with the difference that it uses Microsoft's operating system.

What should I expect from this laptop?

You should expect the HP Stream 11-ak0020nr to work on a basic level. That means you may use it to surf the web, chat with friends, edit office documents - it comes with a one-year subscription to the Microsoft office suite -, watch YouTube videos, stream movies and that's about it. 

However, you should not expect this laptop not to lag if you become more demanding and suddenly have 10 tabs open on your browser whilst chatting on Skype. This laptop will call you out on that, this is not a laptop suitable for intensive multitaskers as you can probably expect.

Can I upgrade the storage or the RAM?

Unfortunately, you may not upgrade the RAM nor the storage in a "traditional way". However, seeing as this device has a microSD card slot you could very easily increase storage by another 128 GB for less than 20 dollars. 

How do you do this? Easy; you insert the microSD card, go onto the systems storage preferences and once you're there you can request the system store new apps, images, and other files directly onto the microSD card. Obviously, by doing so, if the SD card is not connected you won't be able to access what you store there, something worth remembering.

What about battery life and connectivity features?


If there's one thing that a laptop focused on the educational market needs that would be; a great battery life. There's no point in a lightweight laptop that you can carry everywhere you go if you also need to bring the charger along with you. 

HP is well aware of this and promises up to 12 hours worth of battery life on the HP Stream 11-ak0020nr. 

Should you expect 12 hours? Of course not! However,  as many customers have pointed out, with mixed usage, you could easily get between 6 and 9 hours out of the laptop which is still very much in line with what we need from a student device.

As far as connectivity is concerned, HP offers what we would expect from a device of this size and a bit more. Specifically, we've got two USB type-A ports (3.1 gen), a single USB Type C port (3.1 gen as well), audio jack and you've even got a standard HDMI output as well as the aforementioned microSD card reader.

As far as wireless connectivity is concerned we've also got WiFi 5 connectivity - previously known as WiFi 802.11 ac - which is quite good, and Bluetooth 5 in case you would want to connect some speakers or a wireless mouse.

What about Windows S Mode?


Finally, something that quite a few people have asked us about is how to disable Windows S Mode on the HP Stream 11-ak0020nr. Basically, you go on to settings -> update and security -> activation -> go to the store -> Switch out of S mode.

This will allow you to install third-party apps such as Google Chrome. However, you should consider that switching out of "S mode" is a one-way process and there's no way of heading back to "S mode". 

Advantages of working with the secure mode activated are that it extends battery life on your laptop, provides consistent performance to make your laptop "feel new" for longer, and boots up faster by having "less clutter" on the operating system.

The verdict: Should I buy it?


The HP Stream 11-ak0020nr reviewed today is a good student laptop - also suited for casual laptop users -. It's not designed to be a powerhouse or anything of the sorts and its lightweight design, as well as compact screen size, make it the perfect device to carry around without trully noticing it. 

Battery life is good and overall performance is alright for a device of this type. All in all, a pretty solid bet if you're looking to get your kid his first laptop or you're looking to buy an elderly person an easy to use laptop that carries around an affordable price tag.