HP's Tiny Windows 8.1 PC Is $180

John Lister's picture

HP has unveiled a Windows 8.1 mini desktop computer that's only two inches tall and costs under $200. It's part of an ongoing campaign to battle Google by producing cheap Windows computers.

The Stream Mini Desktop is just under six inches square and weighs only 1.6 pounds. It's a small, self-contained box with two USB ports, video outputs for HDMI and DisplayPort, an audio socket, an SD card reader, and an Ethernet port for connecting to a network. At the time of writing, it does not appear to have a wireless (Wi-Fi) connection, though one could easily add a USB Wi-Fi dongle to achieve the same result.

HP is also bundling a mouse and a keyboard with its device, which in total costs $180. That means that all you need do to is add a monitor or plug it into a TV set to have a fully functioning computer. (Source: computerworld.com)

Stream Mini is a Basic Version of a Windows PC

It should be noted that the HP Stream Mini computer does not have particularly powerful hardware specifications.

It has only 32GB of storage available to the user, with HP arguing most people will either store files online, or use an SD card for external storage. The computer has only 2GB of RAM, which is the absolute bare minimum required to run Windows 8.1 smoothly, even though the official requirement is just 1 GB. The processor is an Intel Celeron 2957U running at 1.4GHz, with 2 cores and 2 threads total. In other words, it's a very low powered dual core CPU. (Source: pcworld.com)

The device seems to be aimed at people who want to run Windows, but want to spend as little as possible and perhaps save space as well. It's also possible it could work well for people who want to stream content from the Internet to their computer (similar to a "media pc") and don't want to be tied down to set-top boxes that don't always work with all services.

HP Stream Mini PC Battles Chromebox in Budget Market

In 2012, Google began offering its Chromebox range, which is effectively a low-spec "computer in a box." It has proven to be popular with users that only need to use their computer for simple tasks such as surfing the Internet and basic document creation and editing.

HP is effectively following suit with its Stream Mini Desktop PC. While unconfirmed, it appears Microsoft may have agreed to waive its manufacturer license fee for HP to use Windows on its machine -- something it already does for phones and smaller tablet computers. That has a big effect because on the price of cheaper computers, the license fee makes up a more significant proportion of the total cost.

What's Your Opinion?

Would you consider buying a device such as this as a cheaper alternative to a traditional desktop PC? Is Microsoft smart to try to battle against non-Windows devices at the cheaper end of the market? Or does the strategy risk people being disappointed by performance and instead blaming Windows?

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Average: 5 (2 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

32GB SSD is nice, but 64GB is much more realistic. I'd like to see HP offer the option to exclude the keyboard and mouse and put the money towards more storage. That said, if you spend a little more you can probably get something that has considerably more horsepower (CPU and RAM).

tedmac_3915's picture

Day after Christmas purchased at Fry's for $147 an Asus VivoPC. Very small, and has 4gig ram, 500gig HD, Wireless b,g,n, USB 2 and 3 ports, ssd slot, and more. Use it as a media computer for my 55" Panasonic Plasma with it's HDMI output. Came with a wired keyboard and mouse, but use a wireless trackball and on screen keyboard. Win 8.1 op system. If Microsoft offers a free upgrade to Win 10, I will upgrade to that. Real happy with it's performance


ke11eyman's picture

You can get smaller, better specs, and less expensive. I just bought a Pipo X7 Quad Core 2G RAM 2GB DDR3L 32GB Windows 8.1 Intel Z3736F WiFi Bluetooth 4.0 Mini TV Box for just over $100.00. It is 7.4 x 4.8 x 1.0 inches and has 4 USB ports.

jsteedley2's picture

I've been looking for a "micro PC" for most of a year now.
However, I want it for less $$, & it would be great, *if* it will run Android.
Some Intel chipsets do, but is this one of them?
Also, the specs on this seem pretty low-end, for $180US.
Adding a touch-screen monitor, & a wireless keyboard/mouse combo,
should make a great Android box for my wife.
Or maybe I'll find a good deal on a Chromebook; I think that will probably work, too.

Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

Dennis Faas's picture

If you want Android with a screen, you could just as easily get a quad core phone for around $130. I just picked up the Blu Studio 5.0C HD from Amazon for $130. It's an amazing phone and dirt cheap with decent specs: quad core 1.3 GHz, 1 gig memory, 720p 5" display, 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera. The battery life isn't the best compared to more expensive phones, but that doesn't bother me. It will easily last a day with moderate usage. I use the phone my Wi-Fi network at home to browse the web, send text messages and check emails - and of course, as a phone. This phone's footprint was almost identical when paired against the S5, side by side.

Douglas Godbey's picture

If all you want to do is web surf and e-mail, this could be an answer. My only question is whether the unit is OS-Locked to Windows 8.1 or is upgradeable to Win 10 and beyond. If not, not so good - it's a throw-away-PC. If it is, it's a good deal.

Still, it does run MS OSs so it's not too impressive. BUT, if it can be bought with Linux, now THAT's a Deal! ;-)