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HP's Cheap Stream Laptops Get Fanless Design, 14-Inch Model And More On A Budget: Chromebooks, Watch Out!

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The attractive HP stream line of low-cost laptops just got even better: the latest refresh adds a 14-inch model, Windows 10 and more upgrades, while retaining the affordability aspect.

Google's Chromebooks may be making waves in the education market, but cheap Windows-powered alternatives are still popping up, and HP's attractive Stream line definitely makes the cut.

HP has announced the first major revamp of its Stream lineup, featuring thinner and lighter designs, better connectivity, longer battery life and a new 14-inch notebook model.

In terms of design, the new HP Stream laptops should be as easily recognizable as their predecessors, sporting a bold color palette in vivid avatars such as Violet Purple or Aqua Blue.

Gunning for Chromebooks, the HP Stream laptops target the education sector and other cost-sensitive markets. Despite the affordable prices, however, the laptops sport a solid build, good specs and some neat perks, such as a fanless design that makes them thinner and quieter, a 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna to enhance connectivity and a free one-year subscription to Microsoft's Office 365 Personal to boost productivity.

"Looking for a notebook that can keep up with your busy day? The HP Stream is the hard-working, smartly designed notebook that's light on price," HP touts.

The company pegs battery life at up to 10.9 hours, depending on model. The 2016 HP Stream line of notebooks now come in 11.6- and 14-inch versions, both sleek and lightweight. The smaller model measures just 18 millimeters (0.71 inches) at its thinnest point and weighs 2.75 pounds, while the 14-inch variant measures 17.9 millimeters (0.70 inches) at its thinnest point and tips the scale at 3.18 pounds.

On top of adding the 14-inch model, HP is also tapping cloud connectivity with this revamp, making its Stream laptops more competitive and up to date with the latest trends.

"A growing number of customers are relying mostly on cloud-based applications, such as social media sites, online storage and web-based programs," says the company. "They store their photos on the web, not on their hard drives, and they're more concerned about the strength of the web connection rather than the power of the processor."

When it comes to specs, the 14-inch Stream model replaces the previous 13-inch version, but ups the ante with enhanced performance and a more portable design despite the bigger screen. Specifications include a display resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, a new Intel Celeron processor (2016 model), 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of flash storage.

The specs might sound mediocre, but they seem more enticing when taking the laptop's price tag into account. The 14-inch HP Stream will launch with a $219 starting price on Sept. 7.

The 11-inch HP Stream refresh, meanwhile, also packs the faster Wi-Fi antenna, an upgraded processor and a sleek design, launching on Aug. 24 at $199. Lastly, an 11-inch Stream x360, or HP x360, comes as a laptop/tablet hybrid with a $249 starting price and specs similar to the non-hybrid 11-inch Stream. The convertible should launch sometime in September in "select regions," but no specific details are available at this point.

For some extra horsepower and security, an HP Stream 11 Pro should arrive sometime in late September, packing an optional 64 GB of storage.

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