Is the $200 HP Windows Stream laptop a Chromebook killer?

A fully featured $200 Windows laptop? Can it really be true?

hp stream 11

Chromebooks have been the bargain-basement go-to for many budget-minded buyers. But that may change with the release of an HP $200 Windows 8 laptop that could be a Chromebook killer. I've got specs and details.

The HP Windows Stream 11 has specs much like most Chromebooks at the same price: 11.6-inch screen with 1368 by 768 resolution, 2.16 Ghz dual-core Intel Celeron processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 32 GB hard disk. It's got two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports. It weighs in at 2.8 pounds, so won't be tough to carry around. Unlike Chromebooks, it comes with full-blown Windows 8.1. That means that you'll can run your usual Windows applications, something that you can't do with Chromebooks. Of course, if you're not a fan of Windows 8.1, that won't mean much to you.

What makes it an even better deal is the extras, notably free Office 365 Personal for a year. That gives you Office on this machine plus on a tablet --- either an iPad or Windows tablet. Normally, Office 365 Personal goes for $70 for a year. So if you were going to buy Office 365 Personal, that means the HP Windows Stream really costs $130. The machine also comes with 1 terabyte of free OneDrive storage for a year, and $25 in Windows Store credit.

The HP Windows Stream 11 isn't the only low-cost Windows laptop out there. There's also the HP Windows Stream 14, with a 14-inch screen for $300, although it doesn't give you a free year of Office 365 Personal. An even better bet is the Asus 15.6-inch Windows laptop, with a 15.6-inch screen, 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB hard drive, and Intel dual core 2.16 GHz processor for $249, although that doesn't come with free Office 365 Personal, either.

So is the HP Windows Stream 11 a Chromebook killer? For those who buy Chromebooks mainly for the low price, it may well be. Combining a $200 Windows 8.1 laptop with a free year of Office 365 Personal is tough to beat. But for those who aren't Windows fans, even the lowest price is too high for a Windows laptop, and if they're looking for bargains, expect them to stay with Chromebooks.

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