HP Stream vs Chromebook – Which Notebook wins?

Chromebooks have become known as a cheaper alternative to both Windows and definitely Macbooks. They’re one of the first operating systems to look at when trying to find the best laptops under £300.

Though there are more and more premium Chromebooks being released that are closer to Windows and MacOS, in many people’s eyes, they don’t want to stray away from what they know. And even in the budget department, a Chromebook isn’t the clear choice.

One example of a strong competitor is the HP Stream line, which is one of the most affordable laptops you can find. But how does it actually compare to a cheaper Chromebook? This is what we’re going to explore.

HP Stream vs Chromebook

The key difference is that the HP Chromebook is a more powerful laptop, and with budget models, that power means quite a lot. The only way that the Stream is the better choice is that it uses the Windows operating system, which is many people’s preference.

Though this doesn’t really tell the full story of the two. We’re going to take a more in depth look at the two. For this, we’re going to take the base model of the 11.6 inch laptop from both of these HP lines. This way, we can get a fair comparison between a Chromebook vs HP Stream.

HP Stream 11

HP Stream 11-ah004na 11.6 Inch Laptop (Snow White) - (Intel Celeron N3060, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC, Office 365 and 1 TB OneDrive Cloud Storage with 1 Year Subscription, Windows 10 Home)

Model number: HP Stream 11-ak0000na | Operating system: Windows 10

The HP Stream has become pretty well known as one of the cheapest laptops out there on the market. It is one of the first laptops many people think of when it comes to something within the few hundred pound range, which has very little competition in general.

For those looking for something to use every now and then, or maybe something for the kids to get their homework done on, then it’s hard to argue against the HP Stream 11. Sure it’s small, but it has most of the functionalities of a much larger device.

It is a good choice if you’re looking for something that can be used for typing up documents, or even if you want to browse the internet. Its long battery life means that you will only need to charge it a few times per week.

It does begin to struggle when you try and use larger programs on it, so rule out any editing programs and high quality streaming. Having only 2GB of RAM means that it’s not actually going to have enough memory for the majority of tasks.

For this reason, it’s also not going to be very good when it comes to things like gaming. So, it could work well as an accompaniment to a more powerful tablet, or something that you’re only really going to use for browsing on the internet.

You can also look at the HP Stream 14, which obviously has a larger display size. There’s not much out there when it comes to 14 inch laptops at a super low price point, though it definitely isn’t what you’d consider premium.

Overall, the phrase that comes to mind when describing the HP Stream 11 is simply; it is what it is. It’s not going to be named the best laptop of all time by any stretch, but when you consider its cost on a pound for pound basis, it’s actually quite impressive.


It is very hard to beat the HP Stream 11 when it comes to value for money. You won’t find many Windows 10 laptops at a cheaper price.
Lightweight enough that you can pack it up into your bag and rucksack and carry it around with you all day with no hassle whatsoever.
For the size, it actually has quite an impressive battery life which should last you a long time.


It is very low in power, so it’s not going to be useful for much more than casual low intensity internet browsing.
The size will put some people off of the HP Stream 11, as its small size isn’t great for using over long periods of time.
A lack of usable storage is okay if you’re using a Chromebook, but it’s not expected with a Windows 10 laptop.

HP Chromebook 11a

HP Chromebook 11a-nb0500na 29.5 cm [11.6] HD Intel Celeron 4 GB LPDDR4-SD

Model Number: HP Chromebook 11a-nb0000na

It’s unfair to compare the HP Stream with most other Chromebooks, as they tend to be a little bit more expensive. Its closest competitor is definitely the Chromebook 11a, which is listed at the same price as the Stream.

This definitely confuses people, and it’s understandable why, as they’re simply two laptops trying to fit the same target market. The fact that they’re both made by the same brand is even more confusing.

There are a lot of areas where these two laptops are each other’s equal. In terms of storage they both have the same 32GB eMMC capacity. They also have a very similar battery life length, and they’re similar sizes when it comes to the display.

Both of these laptops are listed at the same price most of the time, and they’re designed to be lightweight and portable. It can be very difficult to separate the two from each other.

The main difference really comes in the RAM. Though there are versions of the Stream that come with 4GB of RAM, with these two same priced models we’re comparing in the UK, the Stream only has 2GB of RAM.

This isn’t enough for a modern laptop, and it’s something you’d likely expect from a moderately powerful tablet. The Chromebook has 4GB of RAM, which still isn’t amazing, but for the price you can’t really argue with it.

As well as the overall power of the Chromebook 11a, it also has a slightly better screen than the Stream. It works better when viewing from different angles, and it has an anti-glare feature which saves your eyes from any disturbance.

Of course, it’s also necessary to mention the operating systems that these two laptops run on, which might actually be the deciding factor for most.

A Chromebook runs on the Chrome OS, which is very different to Windows. Essentially, Google want you to run everything within their browser, so it’s not a good choice if you need to download some programs to your laptop. The positive aspect of this is that they tend to be snappy and responsive.

In comparison to this, the Stream runs on the same old Windows OS that most people are used to. This might be a crucial difference for some users. However, let’s look at some pros and cons of the Chromebook.


Like the Stream, it offers pretty amazing value for money when it comes to costs.
It is overall a more powerful laptop than its competitor, with the increase in RAM being a major factor.
The display on the HP Chromebook is a little bit better than the display you get with the HP Stream.


Of course, the main downside for some people will be that it uses the Chrome operating system.
It doesn’t have a strong graphics card, which means that even though it has a better display, it doesn’t show content as clearly.
Like the Stream, it doesn’t come with much storage, which means that you’ll likely need to rely on Google Drive to store all of your files and documents.


Overall, the Chromebook is the more powerful choice, which usually puts it far ahead of the competing laptop. However, many people are reluctant to get themselves a Chromebook due to its operating system, as it isn’t as comprehensive as Windows.

It’s not an easy choice by any means, but the HP Stream will likely suit you if you’re looking for simplicity, despite its lack of power.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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