I've always loved HP's "Stream" line of budget laptop devices, if only because of their vibrant colors and "cloud first" approach. I've bought several Stream laptops for friends and family during the last couple of years, all of which love their devices to bits. Sure, the Stream isn't the most premium of devices, but it's not supposed to be. For normal people who just use their machines to browse the web, check email and watch Netflix, the Stream devices are perfect.
So when I saw HP bringing their incredible x360 feature to its budget-friendly Stream line, I was over the moon. I always thought the Stream line of devices would be far better if it included a touch screen, let alone the added ability to turn into a tablet if needed. With the HP Stream x360, HP has created one of the best low-cost Windows 10 laptops out there.
HP Stream 11 x360 technical specifications
- 11 inch.
- 1366 x 768 resolution.
- 2.4 GHz Intel Celeron N3060 CPU.
- 2GB RAM.
- 8500mAh battery.
- 32GB internal storage.
- SD card slot.
- USB 2.0/3.0.
Being a low-cost 2-in-1, the Stream x360's design isn't going to blow anything out of the water. For starters, it's entirely plastic, which I wouldn't say is a bad thing. In fact, I'd say the plastic makes this device feel really great to hold in the hand. It's small and compact, so the plastic makes it feel like one complete, sturdy package that gives you confidence when throwing it into a bag, knowing it won't scratch or break.
The outer shell is designed with this peculiar "line" pattern which gives it a really interesting texture. It's an odd design, but one I'm not really complaining about. It's different, and that's a good thing. It gives it a small bit of flair that other low-cost 2-in-1's don't seem to have, and I really like it. This specific model is black, but the Stream line comes in other vibrant colors such as blue and purple.
The device isn't the thinnest in the world, but that's because it's housing a healthy set of ports that we'll touch on shortly. It's thin enough to be slid into a backpack, however, and I don't find it bulky when in use.
Opening the lid will reveal an 11-inch screen surrounded by huge bezels. I know bezels are a thing that people hate in 2017, but I honestly don't see what the problem is. Sure, devices with lesser bezels look better, but for a low-cost laptop, having bezels is absolutely fine. And considering this is a 2-in-1, it doesn't hurt to have the extra bezel space for using it when in tablet mode, minimizing the risk of accidental screen taps.
The keyboard and trackpad are pretty standard. There's no backlighting, but there is a nice pattern that's engraved across the bottom of the keyboard, where your wrists usually rest when typing. It's another nice design idea that gives the Stream x360 a little bit of flair.
Overall, I find the design of the Stream x360 to be fine. It's definitely better than other low-cost devices.
Port selection is a big deal for many people, and I'm happy to say the Stream x360 has plentiful ports for all kinds of users. It has one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a full HDMI port, full SD card reader, headphone jack and Kensington lock. This is a healthy selection of ports which should come in handy for any and all kinds of users. In fact, I honestly think it's a bit of overkill considering this device is aimed as media consumption and light work.
The inclusion of a full HDMI port is incredibly convenient. I don't know about you, but the majority of my HDMI cables are still full HDMI cables, and I'm often digging around for an HDMI adapter if I want to plug in my Ultrabook to my TV. With the Stream x360, I don't need to hunt around for adapters, because the device already supports output via a full HDMI port, which is super convenient.
I'm also really loving the full SD card reader, another port that's slowly being killed off on Ultrabooks and the likes. This full SD reader is also one that allows the card to sit all the way in, meaning it doesn't hang out of the device slightly when in use. You can essentially use it to expand storage on the Stream x360, something you'll likely want to do considering this device has only 32GB of internal storage.
The one USB 3.0 port is a nice touch, as well, as it makes transferring files from USB drives far quicker than via USB 2.0. The two USB 2.0 ports are also there, although I don't find myself using them.
Low-cost devices have never been known for their excellent performance, and the same stands true with the Stream x360. It's rocking an Intel Celeron N3060 CPU with 2GB RAM, so this device won't pull any punches in the performance arena. That's not necessarily a problem, however, as this device isn't really aimed at people who'll be taking advantage of performance.
As mentioned above, this device is aimed at people who do occasional web browsing, email, word processing and a bit of Netflix here and there. It's not for people who run virtual machines or Photoshop, so even with its low-power CPU and minimal RAM, the Stream 11 actually performs fine for what's it's intended to do. It can hold up doing basic multitasking absolutely fine, whether that be typing up a Word document while researching with Chrome or Edge or listening to music with Spotify or Groove Music.
I find load times to be OK. The device boots up fast enough and is almost instantly on when waking up from sleep. App loading is a little slow, but again it's nothing drastic if you're just doing a couple things at a time. If you really start pushing the CPU however, you'll definitely notice some slow downs. I find doing updates takes the longest on the Intel Celeron CPU. Updates on a more powerful device take maybe 10 minutes total, but on this device you'll be dealing with it for at least 30 minutes.
Battery life is pretty good. I can get around seven hours on a single charge, which includes normal usage and video watching via YouTube, Netflix and Microsoft Movies. My usage case was much like a college students in this regard, and that's who the device is aimed at. You can easily get through a working day on the Stream x360, especially if you're a student.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Keyboard and Trackpad are two very important factors on a device, even on a low-cost one. I'd much rather hardware makers make sacrifices in the specifications department rather than gimp out on the keyboard and trackpad, as I personally believe core user-input methods should always be the best they can be. With the Stream x360, HP appears to think the same way, and I absolutely love the keyboard on this device.
Let's get one thing clear, the keyboard and trackpad won't be winning any awards, but the simple fact that HP put a bit of effort into making the experience feel nice is worth noting in my book, especially on a low-cost device. The keyboard feels great to type on. It's very roomy and has enough key-travel for me to be comfortable with. It's slightly on the shallow side, but it's nothing unbearable,
The keys are all plastic, and as I mentioned above the keyboard isn't backlit. That's perfectly OK considering what you're paying for, and it doesn't really take away from the overall typing experience.
The trackpad is also surprisingly nice on this laptop. It's not as perfect as a Precision Touchpad you'd find on a more premium device, but it's perfectly fine with whatever tuning HP has done to it. It feels nice to use, with no lags or stutters from my testing. It's honestly a surprisingly good trackpad for a low-cost device, something I'm incredibly happy to see.
The screen is another area in which low-cost devices usually sacrifice, and although HP did a good job with the keyboard and trackpad, the screen does suffer quite a bit. It's an 11-inch, 1366 x 768 display, so resolution-wise it's already pretty low. At 11 inches, however, it doesn't look all that bad.
What is bad are the viewing angles, which are atrocious. You're going to want to be using this screen head on otherwise colors will quickly become washed out and gross-looking. The display is simply not great.
Because this is a 2-in-1, it includes a touch screen. This is super awesome, as I'm someone who believes touching a screen is a natural thing to do. Even in laptop mode, I find myself reaching out and touching the display, either to scroll a webpage or hit a button.
HP Stream 11 x360 review conclusion
I really like low-cost devices, because they give hardware makers a challenge in building the best they possibly can while keeping prices low and still maintaining a profit. Some hardware makers do a terrible job at this. Others don't.
I think HP did a great job with the Stream 11 x360, building a compact, smart-looking 2-in-1 that works great as a laptop and a tablet. It's good for light work and media consumption, and has a wide array of ports.