Tale of Two Computers

ASUS X205TA 11.6 Inch Laptop (Intel Atom, 2 GB, 32GB SSD)

Versus

HP Stream 11.6-Inch Laptop (Intel Celeron, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB SSD)


I’ve wanted a smaller laptop that ran Windows OS for a long time. I currently own a Samsung Chromebook, but after using it for a year, the glitter has worn off.

Whenever I took the Chromebook somewhere where Internet wasn’t readily available, the functionality of the Chromebook suffers. As well, there were everyday software that I needed to use (like Skype) that I couldn’t install on a Chromebook. Some of these programs offer web versions, which can be run of a Chromebook, but it’s certainly not ideal.

So I started the search into a very portable and very cheap machine that will still run Windows OS. These 2 small notebook laptops were what I found in terms of portability and price.

Let’s do a general comparison:

In terms of portability…

While these were both lightweights, the ASUS computer is at least 1 pound lighter than the HP.

In terms of cost…

ASUS cost me about $250 USD. HP cost $199 USD. Both are about the price of a Nexus tablet.

In terms of Windows OS usability…

The ASUS came with windows 8.1. That’s its first downfall. The second? When I tried to upgrade directly (it was advertised with free Windows 10 upgrade) to Windows 10, it turns out there wasn’t enough SSD space to upgrade.

Both the HP and the ASUS have 32 GB SSD space… but what I found with the ASUS was that a good 10 GB of that 32 was already partitioned into a recovery disk apart from C Drive, this completely changed how easy it is to upgrade to Windows 10. HP doesn’t have the same nonsense.

Not to mention, the HP actually came with Windows 10 loaded already.

Another point in favor of the HP: Intel Celeron is faster than Intel Atom.

Web Browsing…

The ASUS was much faster for web browsing than the HP. Although this could be due to me not using the ASUS for very long (I returned it pretty much as soon as upgrade to Windows 10 wasn’t feasible).

Edit from Starbucks down the street:

Turns out the slow web experience could have to do with our home internet. Web browsing on the HP loaded at normal speed in Starbucks WiFi.

General Experience…

Overall, the HP is more preferable for me than the ASUS. It is:

  • Cheaper
  • Runs Windows 10 smoothly
  • Has most of its SSD space allotted to C Drive
  • Faster USB ports (ASUS only has USB 2.0 ports)
    • 2 USB 3.0 ports, one of these is SuperSpeed

One huge problem about the ASUS:

As soon as Windows 10 upgrade was complete, the wireless network adaptor broke. Broke as in no matter what kind of fixes (upgrade drivers, uninstall and then reinstall drivers, etc) I applied, it simply wouldn’t work.

For the HP computer—I set up the machine straight out of the box. I’ve been using it for writing offline and just about anything else I do for work, and so far it’s running fine. Web browsing is a bit slow; but only on my Chrome browser. This is most likely due to the fact that I have so many extensions built into my Chrome browser that it’s taking a toll on this small laptop with 2 GB ram.

Final thoughts…

I’m very happy with the HP. I purchased this mostly for offline writing, and it’s doing that very well.

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