Just as Microsoft is trying to convince laptop and/or tablet buyers that the Surface Pro 3 is a better choice this Christmas than Apple’s iconic MacBook Air, HP has a different plan in mind, ZDNet reveals. Instead of launching an expensive Surface Pro 3 or MacBook Air rival, the company has created a budget-friendly laptop that’s ready to beat the competition on price — targeting Google’s affordable Chromebooks, in particular — and also on size, as the HP Stream 11 is about as big as an 11-inch MacBook Air.
The $199.99 laptop is available in blue or pink plastic, and comes with additional perks that make it even more affordable, including a $25 gift card good for Windows Store or Xbox Music or Movies purchase and a one-year Office 365 Personal subscription worth $70 that also offers unlimited OneDrive storage.
When it comes to hardware, the Stream 11 won’t impress buyers looking for high-end machines. The cheap 64-bit Windows 8.1 laptop packs a 11.6-inch WLED backlit screen with 1366 x 768 resolution, 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, SD card slot, HP TrueVision HD webcam, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0 and HDMI support.
The laptop is only a tenth of an inch thicker than the MacBook Air, ZDNet’s Ed Bott says, and a quarter-pound heavier, and should offer at least six hours of battery life on moderate use (the maximum theoretical battery life is 8 hours and 15 minutes).
A Stream 13 version is also available, but it’s slightly more expensive at $230, though it also offers 4G connectivity support. People in search of basic functionality and real value will be hard-pressed to find better deals this holiday season than these two laptops.