Chromebooks are the laptops of a new generation. They’ve been built to get things done quicker and easier, all while being more portable. And if you’ve come to this article to see whether you should get a Chromebook or a Streambook for your next device, you’ve come to the right place.
Chromebooks are cheaper alternatives to regular laptops and are praised for being quality work laptops. If you’re happy to own a Chromebook, then the question remains what device is best for you? You have two main competitors to choose from – the HP Stream and the HP Chromebook.
We’ll be breaking down the main differences between these laptops, the pros, and cons of each one, and informing you on the best decision. No matter if you’re a gamer or a non-gamer, you’ll want to keep reading. Let’s not waste any time further, so let’s hop right into it!
Differences Between Chromebook & Streambook
There’s not too much difference between Chromebooks and Streambooks at first. They’re both HP laptops that are great alternatives to regular laptops and come at a more affordable price point.
Chromebook runs on the Chrome operating system while the Stream book runs on the more common Windows OS. Besides the operating systems, Chromebooks tend to be more powerful systems that come at a cheaper price point. Working professionals in every field from data science to graphic design use both of these systems to dominate their workflow and schedules, but which one is right for you?
Let’s dissect the positives and negatives of both devices and see where they excel and fail. Starting with the HP Chromebook series of laptops. Stick around and see which one is right for you.
Chromebooks tend to be more expensive than HP Stream books, but there are still models where their prices are comparable. The Chromebook 11a and the HP Stream 14 are both similarly priced, coming in at $300 each.
For their higher price, you do get quite a bit, including 4 GB RAM and anti-glare coating on its screen. Our favorite features of the Chromebook are its inexpensive price tag, which makes it a reliable and great go-to if you want an affordable laptop to work on.
The Chromebook also runs on the Chrome OS operating system, which will strike you as strange if you’ve used Windows up until now. But once you’ve tackled the hurdle your Chromebook will allow you to complete tasks like video editing with ease.
Let’s cover the top pros and cons of owning a Chromebook!
Chromebooks make for great laptops for studying and work, but here are a few other pros you can expect from owning such a device.
Great Value For Money
Both the Chromebook and Streambook are great value for money if you want an inexpensive laptop to work on. The Chromebook especially, while costing more than the HP Stream 14, comes with the perfect blend of features for the price.
More Powerful Than HP Stream
With a slightly higher price tag comes more power, with the RAM being the major highlight. A 4GB RAM is a respectable addition when you consider the price tag, but its performance will suffer compared to other laptops that have i7 processors with 16GB RAM.
If you’re planning to use the Chromebook to play games and study, you’ll be able to handle most low-end requirements.
The display of the Chromebook is another plus, as the device boasts a large screen size with anti-glare features to stop any injury to your eyes. If you’re planning to use your device to design and create using applications like Cricut Explore Air 2 or Adobe Illustrator.
The Chromebook does come with some downsides, which we’ve listed here for you to take into consideration.
Unintuitive Chrome OS
One of the biggest cons of the Chromebook is the operating system. Windows is often the most preferred and popular operating system available today, and it’s easy to see why. With Chrome OS, you’re limited to the Play Store for your applications.
With Chrome OS, you’re unable to run many of the important Microsoft Apps as well as many of the games you’d want to play.
Lackluster Graphics Card
Although the screen display is impressive for its price point, the lackluster graphics card means that you may still see some problems when running graphics-intensive applications like Photoshop or demanding games.
Most Chromebooks aren’t meant to run games so you won’t come across this if you’re watching videos or using it as a word-processing device.
Storage Space Is Small
Sadly like the Streambook, Chromebooks don’t come with a lot of storage space. Your device likely will come with about 32 GB of storage but due to preloaded applications, you’re left with only 10 GBs of it.
This may sound like a lot but since you’re only going to be using web apps from the Google Play Store, it can quickly get used up. Most users should be fine if they manage their applications and use external storage options like Google Drive.
The HP Streambook is one of the most inexpensive laptops on the market and is one of the go-to choices for many. It serves as an excellent first laptop for many entering the market, but its processor makes it difficult to tackle intensive programs like computer science or gaming.
Let’s chat about the pros and cons of owning an HP Streambook like the HP Stream 14.
First off, let’s start with the pros.
Incredible Value For Money
As we’ve said before, the HP Streambook is a great bargain for what you’re getting. It’s one of the cheapest laptops that comes with the Windows operating system! You receive the Windows suite of apps as well as a great study or work computer for a couple of hundred dollars.
One of the most useful features of owning an HP Stream laptop is its lightweight portability. You can take them anywhere without too much hassle about their size and weight. They make for excellent budget laptops that you can whip out when you need to take a quick Zoom call.
Impressive battery life
For their affordability and size, the HP Streambook has a fairly long battery life that comes with it. You can use the HP Stream 14 for anywhere between 7 – 9 hours, which should last you an entire workday of studying.
The HP Steam isn’t without its fault, however, so let’s take a look at the cons of purchasing this HP laptop.
Unfortunately, the HP Stream comes with extremely lackluster processing power. Its 2 GB RAM means that it’s unable to run most of the necessary apps you need for certain fields of work. It mainly functions as a word processing, internet browser, and video conferencing device.
Students will make the most out of it of this device for taking notes instead of other mobile devices
Small size isn’t always a good thing, and the HP Stream 14 is a tiny laptop. While this is great for portability, some users may suffer with using it because of its small frame. Using the keys and typing may be difficult if you’re not using an external keyboard.
Another downside of a small-sized laptop is the fact that you lose a lot of screen space as well, making watching videos a worse experience overall.
Limited Storage Space
Finally, as with the Chromebook we spoke about earlier, the HP Streambooks don’t have a lot of storage space. This is true for most affordable laptops in the HP Stream series, and you’re often left with less than 15 GBs when accounting for preloaded programs.
For many of the Windows apps, you’ll need to take up a lot of space, doubly so if your brother or child wants to download games on your device.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are plenty of questions that we get regarding Chromebooks vs Streambooks that may have cropped up in your mind while you’ve been reading this article. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions below to inform you even more, so read through some of our top picks for questions.
Otherwise, feel free to read through our top choices for 15-inch laptops that are under $500 or our picks for the top laptops for homeschooling.
Is a Stream laptop the same as a Chromebook?
Not exactly, and here’s why: A Chromebook and Stream laptop (or Streambook) are both from the brand HP but offer different operating systems.
A Chromebook doesn’t run Mac OS, Windows, or even Linux but instead uses an operating system from Google called Chrome OS. With Chrome OS you have access to the Google Play Store for your applications but lose out on common Windows apps you may be familiar with.
They’re great college laptops because you can still access many note-taking, using Google Classroom, and word processor apps at an affordable price. Streambooks differ in the fact that they allow you to use the Windows operating system the HP Stream is one of the cheapest ways to do so.
Which is better – Chromebook or a laptop?
Great question! There are a lot of differences between Chromebooks and regular laptops that will help you inform your choice on which is better for you.
Now Chromebooks have the bonus of being a cheaper and more secure option at an inexpensive price point compared to laptops. There’s only so much you can do with a Chromebook, however, so if you want to enjoy more powerful processing power then you’d prefer a Macbook or a more mainstream Windows laptop instead.
Otherwise, Chromebooks are excellent college laptops that can be easily decorated using stickers.
What is the difference between a notebook and a Chromebook?
Although notebooks and Chromebooks can have similar purposes, there are some defining differences between the two.
A notebook is useful as a portable and personal computer that combines all the necessary parts of a computer into a single build for your use. This includes the keyboard, the mouse, and the web camera.
A Chromebook strips some of those features away and focuses on being an inexpensive and portable web-browsing laptop. It has access to Chrome OS, which allows you to download and use a plethora of Chrome web apps. Chromebooks are also loved for their security.
Chromebooks or Streambooks, the choice is a difficult one! Hopefully, this article has given you a clear idea about which one is the best for you. Make sure to vet your choice properly, as the Chromebook or Streambook you purchase needs to be perfect for the industry that you’re in.
You can also use a Chromebook or Streambook for gaming, but there’s a very limited number of games that it can run, which may put some people off from using them like that. Nevertheless, if you want a word-processing laptop or college laptop for next semester you won’t go wrong with a Chromebook or HP Streambook.
Writer Graham Grieve brings two decades of technical communications experience to The Holy Tech coverage. Isaac contributes articles on laptops, tablets and PCs, alongside various software and hardware guides. Isaac is a former newspaper journalist who also worked in tech communications for some of the country’s biggest corporations. He also counsels and creates material for other technology publications and hosts a podcast.
Isaac’s in-depth reporting and knowledge of hardware and software issues helps The Holy Tech’s readers learn how to choose the right products, or solve tricky problems.