If you watch the PC market at all, two things have become very, very clear over the last few years. The first is that most people want a tablet, which is not necessarily the biggest surprise. Thanks to the iPad, the tablet market has exploded and there are dozens of options. The second is that if people are buying laptops, they want them cheerful, small, and cheap. And that’s where the HP Stream comes into play.

Stream Toward

The Stream, named for the fact that it’s built on the Chromebook idea of tying everything to the cloud and streaming it, is fairly straightforward as a computer. It’s actually a form factor we’ve seen before that was poised to take over computing before the tablet came along and put paid to that: The netbook.

Although you won’t see the term in the marketing materials, that’s assuredly what the Stream is. But it’s a pretty solid cheap little computer, with an 11.6″ screen, an Intel Celeron dual-core, 2GB of RAM and, of course, Windows 8.1. All of that packed into a $200 form factor is a pretty good deal, and you can choose between blue and pink. Oh, and it comes with Office 365, but don’t hold that against it.

Stream Of Consciousness

11-inch HP Stream

The low price is for a limited time, but truthfully, if you need a reasonably priced computer for Christmas, or to pack off to college with somebody going for freshman year, this is a good choice. Just make sure they install OpenOffice on it, first.

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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