HP’s teeny-tiny Windows PCs take on the Chromebox
Google’s miniature Chromeboxes make desktop computing more portable than ever before, and HP’s hoping to do the same for those who prefer Windows over Chrome OS. The company’s new Stream mini and Pavilion mini PCs look like an Apple TV or a Roku, but they run Windows 8.1 on specifications you’d usually expect to see in a budget notebook.
They’re actually pretty attractive machines, and they’ll almost certainly make space on your desk. But if you need power, you’re going to be a little disappointed.
The Stream mini — the cheaper of the two devices — is powered by an Intel Celeron processor with 2GB of RAM, and just 32GB of storage space. The Pavilion mini has a slightly better Pentium processor accompanied by 4GB of RAM, and a significantly more useful 500GB of storage space.
Both machines have four USB 3.0 ports, an audio jack, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort socket — and both support dual-monitor setups. They use just 45 watts of power, which means they’re incredibly efficient, and HP promises cool and quiet performance.
The downside, of course, isn’t just the mediocre specifications you get as standard, but also the inability to upgrade any of the components yourself. So, why choose one of these machines over a laptop? The price.
The Pavilion mini will cost you $320, while the Stream mini is just $180. While neither will be good for gaming, both will allow you to browse the web, manage your emails, and even get things done without too many problems. You will need to provide your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse first, however.