HP Stream: A Windows Machine at a (Slightly High) Chromebook Price

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Last month, HP gave us a good look at Microsoft's upcoming Chromebook slayer, known as the HP Stream, after temporarily posting its specs on their own website. Now, HP is announcing the device in a more official capacity with models expected to be available in the U.S. as early as September 24. But it's $100 pricier than expected.

Almost all the details we spied during HP's small slip up still hold true. The HP Stream will run full Windows 8.1 on a 14-inch HD (1366x768) display. The entire 18mm thick unit weighs in around 3.8 lbs with, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage with 100GB of free OneDrive storage for two years, and also SD card storage expansion slot. As for the ports, you have 2 USB ports (2.0 and 3.0), HDMI, audio jack, and microSD.

The HP Stream will also be fanless thanks to its A4 AMD (Mullins) processor that only draws 4.5 watts of power. As for battery life, HP says you can expect at least 6.5 hours, but we're not certain from what usage conditions that number is coming from.


The price turns out to be the biggest difference between fact and fiction. HP says the Stream will actually sell at a starting price of $300 rather than the $200 we expected. Although $100 bump doesn't necessarily take it out of Chromebook territory by any means, it's not quite as cheap as other Windows laptops like the 15.6-inch Acer Aspire ES1, which clocks in at $250.

At IFA last week, HP also announced a Stream-comparative Chromebook 14. Coming in at the same $300 price, this Chromebook comes with a Nividia Tegra K1 processor and a battery that stretches to a little over 9 hours. Then again, there is benefit in running a full OS like Windows compared to ChromeOS' capable-yet-limited platform. The real question is how well can the HP Stream actually run that stuff. We'll soon find out. Let's just hope this isn't another doomed Netbook venture.