First impressions are this device looks good, performs pretty well and is very affordable. The RRP is $449 but shop around and you’ll get a better deal.
Inside there’s no hard-drive, which means less moving parts to go wrong. The on-board flash memory provides some storage but at 32GB it’s fairly small (half of it goes on the operating system) – even adding an SD card will only be a limited fix. So, clearly it should be seen as a cloud-based, browser device, much like a Chromebook. The big difference here, however, is its ability to run Windows. This brings with it the familiarity not only of the OS but also the Office 365 environment. For now, this does mean it’s fundamentally a BYOD device as Windows 8.1 isn’t set up for multiple users – but Windows 10 may change that.
Speaker quality is surprisingly good
The 11.6-inch display is fairly low res and non-touch, which keeps the cost down, but it’s more than ample for classroom use. There’s also a 13.3-inch version available. The Stream runs an Intel Celeron processor, combined with 2GB of RAM. It’s light and compact, suitable for smaller hands and school bags. I had to fight a bit with the mouse pad – but that may just be my big fingers. However, the keyboard’s very comfortable and the speaker quality is surprisingly good. In general use around the office, the battery life seems okay, too.
Overall, the Stream 11 is pretty well-spec’d and a nicely designed, fun device with more arguably versatility than a Chromebook. It’s a solid option for BYOD.
Review by Greg Adams, Editor, INTERFACE Magazine