HP Stream laptops and tablets provide Windows on a budget
HP has announced a new range of Windows-based tablets and notebooks. The devices, all of which carry the Stream moniker, hit a low-end price point and come with cloud storage solutions – a signal that the company is taking aim at the Chromebook market.
The Stream 7 and 8 tablets follow the recent trend of affordable slates running full Windows 8.1. HP is yet to provide detailed specs for any of the machines, but we do know that they'll be be powered by quad core Intel chips and offer HD displays.
What’s perhaps more interesting than their internals is the extras that the company is throwing in with a purchase. Pick up one of the low-end slates and you’ll get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage and 60 minutes of Skype time for one year. There will also be 4G variants of the tablets available, providing 200 MB data per month for the life of the device, with no annual contract.
Though the company’s new tablets look like good budget Windows offerings, it's the Stream 11.6 and 13.3 laptops that are the headline products. The new notebooks are still very much low-end offerings, but provide a Chromebook alternative that fits the same form-factor we’ve come to expect from those systems.
The Stream laptops instantly bring to mind HP’s Chromebook 11, and like that system they offer a fanless design and island-style keyboard. Like the tablets, there’s 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage included alongside 32 GB of internal flash storage, as well as a US$25 gift card for use in the Windows Store.
If you’re viewing the new laptops in the context of low-end Chromebooks, then you’ll know not to expect much in terms of performance. That said, the dual core Celeron chip powering the Stream notebooks should be speedy enough for casual computing, and the HD (read 768p) displays are standard for the money.
They’re available in pink or blue, and HP claims the 13.3-inch system will run for 7 hours 45 minutes on a single charge, while the 11.6 variant should manage a slightly better 8 hours 15 minutes.
The new laptops join the already announced $300 Stream 14 notebook, which offers a 14-inch 1,366 x 768 panel, 2 GB of RAM and is powered by a quad core AMD A4 chip. The larger system offers a lower capacity 100 GB of cloud storage, but for a longer period of two years.
The Stream 7 and 8 tablets start at $100 and $150 respectively, while the 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch notebooks come in at $200 and $230. You’ll be able to pick up the 13.3-inch laptop with an optional touch display, though we don’t yet know how much more that version will cost. The entire range starts shipping in November.
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