The HP Stream 11-ak0020nr is a laptop created for students, and it’s available for an extraordinary low price. For that little money, you get a portable 11-inch laptop that even includes an Office 365 subscription – it’s one of the key things that make this laptop a perfect fit for students.
Well, the display isn’t great and you’ll have to deal with a mediocre webcam. But if all you need is a downright cheap laptop that will get you through a day at school, the Stream 11 works. It’s easily one of the best laptops under $300 that you can buy.
While our review model sports a bright, diamond white paint, the HP Stream 11 is still adorable given its petite size. The lid features a half glossy, half matte HP logo inscribed at the center, surrounded by ridges flowing horizontally down the hinge, and transitioning to a soft glossy texture.
The interior features a compact keyboard, and while most of the deck has a brushed silver design, there are horizontal glossy line that ‘stream’ across the bottom deck through the touchpad, which look neat. Unfortunately, the screen bezels are quite huge.
The Stream 11-ak0020nr shares the same design with the 2019 Stream 11, weighing in at 2.3 pounds and measuring 11.08 x 7.59 x 0.66 inches. The ASUS L203MA-DS04 weighs 2.2 pounds and measures 11.30 x 7.60 x 0.67 inches, and gets a better full HD (1920 x 1080) screen, compared to the 1366 x 768 you get on the Stream 11.
The port options on the Stream 11 haven’t changed much, which is great, and its nice to a USB Type-C port. On the left, there’s a security lock slot, one USB 3.1 and a headphone jack, while the right features a microSD card slot, one USB 3.1 port, one USB Type C port and an HDMI port.
The HP Stream 11’s 11.6-inch display is slightly washed out and has a fuzzy 1366 x 768 resolution, but it works well going by its low price. At 198 nits of brightness, this display is pretty dim, but its not very far from the category average (206 nits) or the VivoBook (203 nits), but it’s still behind most Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook 14 in the same price range.
When watching men in Clack: International, the streets of London look washed out on the HP 11-ak0020nr’s panel due to the high contrast, but as a result it’s possible to see more of the surroundings. For a budget college laptop, this resolution is acceptable, that’s the best you’re getting even on most budget Chromebooks.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Typing on the Stream 11’s keyboard isn’t great, but it isn’t uncomfortable either. The issue with 11-inch laptops is that the keys are a bit cramped, but the Stream 11 gets decent key travel compared to the kind of decks you on most 11-inch laptops.
The 3.7 x 2.1-inch touchpad is on the small side, but it’s soft and provides a decent click. It doesn’t use Windows Precision drivers, so you can’t easily customize your gestures. Despite that, Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing work well.
For the price, you shouldn’t expect out of the Stream 11, but the Intel Celeron N4000 processor with 4GB of RAM easily handles 10 Microsoft Edge tabs as well as 1080p YouTube video. The included Office 365 lets you run Excel, Word, PowerPoint and other productivity suites with ease, and the 1TB of OneDrive storage is more than enough for storing accessing your files on the go. You also get 32GB eMMC local storage, for your small documents.
Of course, you should expect some serious slowdown if you attempt to do anything more intensive. The Stream’s Intel UHD graphics card is only good for basic games like MineCraft, but if you’re looking for something for gaming on a budget, our Editors’ Choice for budget gaming laptops -the Asus TUF FA506IH-AS53 is an excellent choice.
When it comes to battery life, the HP Stream is more reliable than some laptops that cost somewhere in the quadruple digits. You can continuously surf the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, and the battery will last a solid 10 hours 26 minutes, which nails its predecessor’s 8:24, as well as the budget average (7:41).
The 2020 HP Stream 11 is a pretty, portable laptop that’s stronger than some laptops in the $300-plus range and offers really good battery life. However, it does have a fairly washed-out display and its webcam isn’t great either. But all those are aspects to consider before buying, and not reasons not to buy the Stream 11.
Compared to its sub-$300 competitors, the Stream 11 is a great purchase. But if you can stretch you budget a little, you can get the ASUS F512JA-AS34. It’s bulky in comparison, has a bigger screen, but it offers much better performance, a ton of ports and good battery life, too.
But overall, the 2020 HP Stream 11-ak0020nr is an excellent purchase if you’re shopping on an extra-tight budget or need a reliable secondary laptop for travel or college.