This shopping season we’re going to see a great number of cheap Windows laptops and tablets. Microsoft has moved in a different direction and instead of having high licensing fees, their hardware partners are now given substantial reductions in fees provided they meet a sub $250 price point. Asus has shown off their EeeBook laptops. Now it’s HP and their Stream line-up of devices. Trust me when I say these are impressive for this cheap price point!
We know so far about the HP Stream 7 (tablet), HP Stream 8 (tablet), HP Stream 11, Stream 13 and the HP Stream 14 (laptop). All of these devices feature Windows 8 and will be hitting that sub $250 price point. If HP is a brand you love, then certainly any of these devices is worth serious consideration. HP has just announced that there will be an 11-inch model and a 13-inch model as well. All these come below $300 unless you start adding extra hardware options. These are a great deal and from what I can see, they will have everything you need for a portable, cheap, light, computing solution beyond what your phone can provide.
This post will be our hub for all things HP Stream. Here is a quick rundown on specs that we are aware of so far.
HP Stream 14 Laptop
- 14 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display
- AMD A4 Micro-6400T “Mullins” processor (4.5W quad-core processor with Radeon R3 graphics)
- 2GB of RAM
- 32GB or 64GB of eMMC solid state storage
- 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
- HDMI output
- SDXC card reader
- 1 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports
- four speakers with Beats audio
- 720p webcam
- 32Whr battery
- Windows 8.1
- 100GB of cloud storage for 2 years (OneDrive)
- 13.5″ x 9.5″ x 0.7″
- 3.9 pounds
- Price: $300
Quick Review and Thoughts So Far: The HP Stream 14 appears to be a real bargain. Given the screensize, a likely shortcoming may be in the battery life but a hands-on will tell us more about that. What’s good though is the full HDMI port, the USB 3.0 port and the 4 speakers. With most laptops, speakers can be a real issue especially when you use it for consuming media/videos. Expect the 32GB model to sell for $199 and a $249 model with 64GB storage. AMD processors in general offer impressive graphic capability when doing direct comparisons to the Intel counter parts. There is a lot to like on the surface when looking at the specs of the HP Stream 14. Stay tuned for more details!
HP Stream 7 Tablet
- 7 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display
- Intel Atom Z3735G processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 32GB of storage
- Windows 8.1 with Bing
- Bluetooth 4.0
- microSD card slot
- one year free subscription of Microsoft Office 365 Personal with 1TB of OneDrive storage
- one year free 60 minutes of Skype each month.
We’ve just learned that there is a HP Stream 8 tablet which will cost slightly more at just $150. More details and photo galleries to comes!
At this price, how can Microsoft and partner make money? Make no mistake about it, these Stream devices are Microsoft’s answer to the Google Chromebook. In other words, these are cheap for starters, but more than that, they are a way for Microsoft to get people into their ecosystem of services. That’s why you see free online storage with One Drive, Skype freebie, Windows 8 with Bing and free Office 365 subscription. Face it, if you can’t profit from the hardware or Windows licensing, then you better find a way to retain customers. This is more of a Google play than anything. Google has had great success in not aiming for hardware profits, but rather they are using their hardware as a way to suck people into their ecosystem and apps. It’s very aggressive and typically Microsoft never had issue with high priced hardware. Clearly with the quality HP Stream devices, there is a new direction and it’s clearly benefits the consumers out there.
Are these really just HP Stream netbooks? In my view, certainly these have all the hallmarks of netbooks. I would more suggest that this is an example of the evolution of netbooks. Call is netbooks 2.0 if you like. The fact is the price, portability and specs, they are what netbooks were. They are about as cheap as you can get currently which was perhaps the biggest selling point of netbooks. Instead of being underpowered like in the past, these updated specs mean that for most tasks, power won’t be an issue at all.