HP's new Stream 13 is one of the better budget Windows laptops you can buy. The 13-inch (33 centimeters) notebook delivers good performance, a high-quality keyboard and a colorful, attractive design, all for just $230. That puts this device in the same ballpark as a Chromebook, one of the super-affordable notebooks that run on Google's lightweight Chrome OS operating system. But the Stream 13 runs on Windows, making it a more versatile machine for serious business users. The device does have some downsides, including a dim display and short battery life. Check out a full review of the HP Stream 13 at our sister site, Laptop Mag, or read on to see how this device stacks up as a business PC.
- Value: The Stream 13 has a lot to offer for just $230. It comes with a 2.16-GHz Intel Celeron processor, which provides relatively snappy performance for a budget machine. It also includes a 13-inch display, three USB ports and a comfortable keyboard. That makes the Stream 13 a good value for budget-minded business users.
- Windows 8.1: You can buy a Chromebook for a similar price, but those machines run on Google's limited Chrome OS platform. The Stream 13 runs on the full version of Windows 8.1, so it's compatible with all the PC software you already use to run your business.
- Office 365: As an extra perk for business users, the Stream 13 comes with a free one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as 1TB of cloud storage.
- Short battery life: The Stream 13 can't match the battery life of its Chromebook competition. HP's machine ran for just 6 hours and 26 minutes in our battery life test, which involves continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi. That's about 1.5 hours shorter than the laptop average.
- Dim display: The Stream 13 has a 1,366 x 768-pixel display, but it isn't very bright, and it doesn't provide particularly wide viewing angles, either. That means the picture starts to wash out when you turn the screen.
- Heat: This laptop runs a little hot, registering 101 degrees at the bottom of the device. That's a bit warmer than our comfort threshold of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). It's a small issue, but something to consider if you plan to use the Stream 13 on your lap a lot.
The HP Stream 13 is a solid business notebook that offers good performance and the flexibility of Windows 8.1 at an extremely affordable price. Longer battery life and a better display would be nice, but the Stream 13 is still a great bargain for small business owners on a budget.