HP Stream review: A laptop that's cool, compact and conveniently cheap

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The Good The HP Stream is a stylish little laptop with a comfortable keyboard and long-lasting battery. It includes a year of Microsoft Office 365 and 1TB of OneDrive online storage.

The Bad Performance and trackpad response can be slow. The 32GB SSD storage is low.

The Bottom Line The HP Stream laptop deftly balances fashion and function at a rock-bottom price.

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7.6 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6
  • Battery 9

The HP Stream succeeds where many others have failed: making cheap look good. And I mean cheap in a literal sense -- the best laptops start around $1,000, while the HP starts at $200. It's £149 in the UK, or around AU$300 in Australia.

Almost identical to last year's model, but now running the Windows 10 operating system -- and, unfortunately, a slightly slower processor -- the Stream brandishes an 11.6-inch screen and a beautiful, vibrant shade of blue that I absolutely love. (It also comes in a magenta-ish color.) Like a vase of fresh flowers or a little puppy's tummy, it makes me smile, and, judging by a few positive comments I got while using it in public, I'm not alone.

It's also available in the US in a 13-inch version for a list price of $30 more, but we've seen the online price difference as little as $5. The larger model weighs 13 ounces (372 grams) more and its battery is about 25 percent less prodigious.

Josh Miller/CNET

Opening up the plastic laptop shell reveals a bright, white, perfectly spaced keyboard on top of a polished blue keyboard tray. In a departure from the solid matte blue found on the outside, the HP Stream has a glossy, gradient woodgrain pattern on its keyboard tray, adding more pizazz to its design.

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