nothing flashy about the $200 HP Stream notebook, save
its choices of colors ó horizon blue and orchid
magenta. Itís slow and underpowered due to its Celeron
processor and woeful 2 gigs of RAM. Still, it has many
of the features its more expensive siblings have, weighs
2.7 pounds for the 11.6-inch model and 3.4 pounds for
the 13.3 inch, and its full-size keyboard is pleasant to
the touch. Itís definitely more versatile than
Chromebooks, which are more expensive and can come with
even smaller flash drives. Storage on the Stream is
limited to a 32-gigabyte flash drive. If you choose the
13.3-inch model, as I did, the base price is $230.
Adding wireless and a touch screen and youíre looking
at close to $300. For that kind of money you can get a
more powerful laptop. Just check the Sunday supplements
for deals on sub-$300 laptops. Those will usually have
traditional hard drives and at least 4 gigs of RAM.
what you get for your $200: Windows 8.1, an 11.6-inch
screen, Wi-Fi, webcam, two USB 2.0 and one 3.0 USB
ports, HDMI port, an SD card slot, Bluetooth, and the
earlier mentioned 2 gigs of RAM and a 32-gig flash
drive. Battery life is upwards of eight hours. Itís
relatively svelte, at three-quarters of an inch high.
also get, and I take this directly from the HP website,
so hang on to your hats:
one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365, a
terabyte of OneDrive storage, 60 minutes a month of
Skype Premium for a year and Ö a $25 gift card for the
Microsoft store. I resisted a comparison to late-night
TV pitches for slicers and dicers, except to say, hurry,
quantities are limited. Kidding aside, those are
be remiss if I didnít mention that the touch pad is
too sensitive. All it takes is a light tap to call up
programs. Some will like this feature, Iím certain,
but gliding over the Windows 8.1 start menu I always was
calling up programs I didnít want. On the plus side,
you can scroll sideways on the touchpad.
said, there is much is to praise about the HP Stream.
The colors are not to my liking, appearing more like
something youíd find at Toys "R" Us, but
cosmetics aside, itís more than adequate for email,
word processing and other personal computing tasks. It
connects to the Internet and surfs surprisingly fast on
my Wi-Fi network. The backlit display is sharp and
bright. I tested the 13.3-inch version, and could see
taking it or its little brother on airplane trips.
a big Apple fan, and Iím not going to compare the
Stream to my MacBook Air, which costs five times as
much. But the real taste test is whether Iíd take the
Stream or my three-times-as-expensive iPad on a trip. No
contest: Iíd take the Stream. The display is bigger,
the keyboard is a huge plus, and the wide range of
software the Stream runs are simply more useful and
youíre on a tight budget, the smaller $200 Stream is
one of the biggest bargains in laptop land.
tuned for reviews of the competition.