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.

FROM EARLIER: Video: Microsoft fires more shots at Apple in its new Christmas ad

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.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.