Enough joking around and waiting for Chromebook demand to miraculously start lagging after so many great months, Microsoft is just about ready to take the bull by the horns and launch a super-low-cost Windows 8.1 rival.

HP laptop Ultra affordable $200 HP Stream Windows 8.1 laptop detailed at last, low end specs in tow

Remember the uber-affordable Windows-powered HP Stream laptop that Microsoft officials teased last month as basically the lead executioner of Google Chromebooks? It still amazes us that MS and HP expect the 14 incher to retail at $199, since, well, it’s a Windows 8.1 14-inch notebook.

Obviously, the Stream is no powerhouse, and a hardware manual precociously detailing its specs makes that quite clear. The big Achilles’ heel is likely the use of a low-power AMD Mullins chip, which for a second there looked like vaporware.

But hey, a CPU of the same doomed family, the AMD E1 Micro-6200T, is found inside the Pavilion 10z, and the tinier machine still costs $250. Meanwhile, the Stream will employ an AMD A4 Micro-6400T that we don’t know much about, except it’s likely no match for Intel Bay Trail solutions in raw speed or frugality.

HP Stream Ultra affordable $200 HP Stream Windows 8.1 laptop detailed at last, low end specs in tow

Ergo, battery life is to circle a lower figure than standard Chromebook numbers, perhaps five hours or so, given the cell itself is no whopper, at 32 Wh. Needless to point out the display is also a pushover, at 1,366 x 768 pixels resolution, and the fixed, non-upgradeable 2 gigs of RAM certainly don’t make up for the SoC’s lagginess.

Internal storage starts at 32 GB, with 64 requiring some extra dough, and the connectivity options are pretty standard, including stuff like USB 2.0 and 3.0, HDMI and Wireless support. A fairly unexpected perk is a Beats Audio sound enhancement system with four built-in speakers, and apparently Microsoft throws in free 100 GB OneDrive cloud storage for two years as well.

Complain about the obscure, sluggish processor or low-res non-touch screen if you will, but the pricing-quality ratio remains a winner. And a threat for Chromebooks. Now all we need is an ETA. HP?

Source: Mobile Geeks