HP Stream 13 Laptop First Looks

The HP Stream 13 Laptop is now available in Singapore, with a free 1-year Office 365 personal (incls 1 TB OneDrive Storage) for only S$349. It is a basic full Windows 8.1 laptop that is more than adequate for basic computing, with a 13.3″ inch display. The HP Stream 13 is available in orchid magenta and horizon blue.

Design

The keyboard is described by HP as a “97 percent” full-sized keyboard. Typing experience appears to be acceptable, with generally a good solid feel and durable finish. The 13.3 inch screen offers a 1366 x 768 resolution. One plus point is the non-glare matte finish. It has pretty thick bezels though. On the left side of the device, you’ll find a full-sized HDMI-out, USB 3.0, headphone and microSD slot. Strange that it uses a microSD slot here, so you might need a reader for your camera SD cards etc. The right side of the Stream 13 comes with two USB ports.

I am not a big fan of the two colour options, but the finish is good. For the horizon blue, the exterior dark blue shell is quite sharp looking though. The absence of neutral shades like white, black, or grey is strange. The bright internal colour schemes make this look more like a toy than a proper laptop.

The internals: A dual-core 2.16 GHz Intel Celeron N2840 and 2GB of RAM powers the device – similar specifications to many Chromebooks, but comes with more storage at 32gb, although it is a eMMC and not an actual SSD. The diskmark scores for SEQ are 167MB/s read and 58.5MB/s write. It has pretty slow writes.

Thanks to an innovative fanless design, it is totally silent!

As mentioned earlier, this particular processor/RAM setup powers a lot of 2014’s Chromebooks, and thus it has Octane benchmarks similar to devices like the Asus C300 Chromebook and Toshiba Chromebook 2. Octane scores were in the 7,500-8,000 range. As a point of comparison, the Acer C720 and HP Chromebook 11, with 2 GB of RAM and an Intel Celeron 2955 processor with Haswell architecture have benchmarks in Octane of around 11,000. You’re looking at about 20% decrease in performance.

The battery life of the Stream 13 is rated at 7.75 hours. The HP Stream 13 weighs in at 3.40 lbs (1.54 kg).

The 2GB of RAM is fixed. I never encountered problems with 2GB RAM but as your as your usage is reasonable, i.e. no 20 tab opened browser or 3D rendering etc. It runs basic web browsing just fine and it’s pretty snappy running Microsoft Office or Google Apps.

Software

You can’t get the Microsoft Signature Edition (crapware / bloatware free) in Singapore. With just 32 GB of storage, space would be an issue. Out of the box, the Stream 13 reported about 17 GB of free space. As shared by Jim in the comments, you cannot delete the recovery partition on the Stream 13. It uses a new WIMBoot feature which allows cross referencing of core Windows files to the recovery partition. You can delete some of the pre-installed HP apps to recover back space.

Some suggestions on what to remove are:

  • McAfee anti-virus (I suggest Microsoft free AV)
  • Cisco wireless networking utilities
  • Apple Bonjour
  • Realtek Card Reader Software (you just need the drivers)
  • HP tools (support and registration)
  • Realtek DTS audio processing service

You get a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal (one computer + one tablet). This is a $99 value and with it, you also get 1 TB of MS Cloud storage for a year.

Conclusion

It’s no MacBook Air. But it is one-fifth the price. Runs full Windows, and more than equipped for web surfing, word processing on the go.

The HP Stream 13 is perfect as a cheap laptop, great for secondary use or as a a primary computer for those with basic computing needs. It has all the advantages of the Chromebooks which I rather fancy, but offers full blown Windows, so at least those who are familiar Windows will have that consistent level of familiarity. The price in Singapore is also reasonable. It sells for US$230 in Amazon, which translates to S$299 – not too far off from the official S$349. The cheapest so far was in Singapore was at SITEX 2014 when it came with a $50 voucher.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

3 thoughts to “HP Stream 13 Laptop First Looks”

  1. Hello. I own a Stream 13. You wrote

    “Out of the box, the Stream 13 reported about 17 GB of free space, although you can delete the recovery partition and get rid of the HP apps to recover back significant space.”

    Do you speak from experience, you know you can delete the recovery partition? I’d love to know how: the standard recovery utility in Windows 8 doesn’t present the standard “delete after backup” option, and manually, forcibly removing the partition using DISKPART renders the system unbootable.

    1. Hi Jim, after more reading – you can’t delete the recovery partition. You are absolutely right.

      There’s a new WIMBoot feature which allows the core installation files to be on a separate partition. C drive Windows folder is smaller than normal as it references those files in the recovery partition. Thus the recovery partition is essential for Windows operations and if you delete the recovery partition, this system would fail to boot.

      Thanks for the post and I will update the article.

  2. Thanks for that: now at least I know I can stop looking for a workaround, since deleting the partition destroys the boot process. Now I have to decide if it’s worth performing a full installation of Windows 8.1 …

Leave a Reply