Thanks to their low Chromebook-like prices, the HP Stream 11 and 13 have both been smash hits, topping the sales charts for months. Now HP is refreshing its lineup with thinner designs, longer battery life and more color options. Available for $199 and $229, respectively, the refreshed HP Stream 11 and 13 go on sale Oct. 18.
The Stream 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch are both powered by Intel Celeron processors, which are designed to be efficient. The Stream 11.6 is rated for nearly 11 hours of battery life, and the Stream 13.3 up to 8.5 hours of runtime. In our reviews of the previous models, the Stream 11 and Stream 13 lasted only 6 hours, 34 minutes and 6:26, respectively, on the Laptop Mag Battery Test.
Measuring 0.72 inches thin and weighing 2.6 pounds, the HP Stream 11.6 should be a cinch to carry -- even for grade-school kids. The last model was 0.78 inches thick. The larger 13.3-inch Stream 13.3 is still quite portable at 3.42 pounds and 0.77 inches (the same thickness as last time around.)
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To add more personality, HP is offering the Stream 11.6 and 13.3 in Cobalt Blue and Violet Purple, and there's a special Ash Silver hue for the 11-inch model. We like the gradient treatment, which makes the Stream line look a little more sophisticated while still being whimsical. The 1366 x 768-pixel displays look washed-out, but that's typical in this price range.
With 32GB of built-in eMMC flash memory, the Stream laptops are still clearly made for the cloud. Microsoft includes 1TB of OneDrive storage for a year, as well as one year of Office 365 Personal for productivity. That's nice, but you never have to pay for Google Docs on a Chromebook. Still, it's good that Microsoft throws in 60 minutes of Skype calling per month with the Stream laptops.
The HP Stream 11.6 and 13.3 come with one USB 3.0 port, one HDMI port, and a micro SD card reader. The 13-inch model has two slower USB 2.0 ports, and the 11-incher has one.
Stay tuned for our full review of both of these bargain-priced Windows machines.