The first of Microsoft's Stream PCs, designed to address the threat of Google's Linux-based Chromebooks has hit the market - but it appears somebody at HP didn't get the pricing memo.
Microsoft announced its Stream PC programme back in July
with the news that it had partnered with HP to build a low-cost laptop as an alternative to Google's Chromebooks. Full specifications were not made available at the time, but the entry-level device was pegged by Microsoft to sell for just $199 - and to be followed by smaller 7" models, the modern equivalent of the classic netbook design, costing as little as $99. All, naturally, would come with a full Windows licence.
Now, HP has officially announced its Stream 14 laptop, but there's been a change of plan: rather than the Chromebook-beating $199 price-tag Microsoft had promised, HP has launched the first Stream PC at $299 - a full 50 per cent higher than promised. For that, buyers, get an entry-level laptop powered by a quad-core AMD A4 Micro-6400T Mullins processor with integrated Radeon R3 graphics hardware and 2GB of RAM, driving a 14" 1,366x768 display. 32GB of solid-state storage is provided, bolstered by a two-year OneDrive subscription offering 100GB of cloud storage. A fanless design, thanks to the CPU's 4.5W thermal design profile (TDP), HP reckons the device will run for 6.5 hours per charge.
At $299, HP's Stream 14 matches the price of its Chromebook 14 while offering double the storage capacity. The battery life of its Windows-based Stream 14 can't match the Chromebook, however, cutting out around three hours earlier than its Chrome OS-based equivalent. For users who are wedded to legacy Windows applications, then, it's a trade-off: reduced battery life exchanged for the ability to run existing software.
The UK variant of the HP Stream 14 launches next month, priced at £229 including VAT. Its full specifications can be found on the HP store