HP announces £179 Windows laptop for schools: the Stream 11 Pro
Choice is clearly a key theme for HP in the education sector, judging by the announcements at this year’s Bett. As well as new 10-inch Windows and Android tablets, plus an education variant of its ultra-thin, ultra-light EliteBook Folio 1020, HP will soon be selling an education version of its consumer-grade HP Stream 11, the HP Stream 11 Pro for Education.
Like the standard Stream 11, it’s a lightweight, 11.6 inch laptop without much local storage, built to use Office 365, OneDrive and web-based apps. It has the same 1,366 x 768 resolution screen and low voltage Celeron processor, and effectively the same chassis, design and core components as the recent refresh of the HP Chromebook 11, which is also at the show in its classroom-ready variant.
The major differences are the keyboard, with the Stream having a conventional Windows layout and a different arrangement of cursor keys to the Chrome OS product – plus a couple of features that should make schools network managers’ life easier.
The Stream 11 Pro for Education has a TPM module, and comes running Windows 8.1 Pro rather than vanilla Windows 8.1. HP also claims an eight-hour battery life, which should see it easily through the average school day.
The HP Stream 11 Pro for Education doesn’t have the ruggedisation of the new HP ProBook 11 Education Edition, or the HP School Pack software bundle that’s shipping across that range, with its selling factor being one obvious thing: the price. At £179, it’s the same cost as the consumer laptop, despite all the upgrades.
While Chromebooks are making inroads in the education market, some schools are still nervous about abandoning Windows and Microsoft’s services and apps. Adopting the Stream 11 Pro for Education means embracing a cloud-based approach, but the familiarity of Windows, Office 365 and Outlook could be very attractive.
In the flesh it’s a perfectly solid lightweight laptop that has a similar feel to recent Chromebooks, with good build quality, a decent keyboard and a fine if not outstanding HD screen.
Fleets of Streams can be managed using Windows Intune and Active Directory, so schools with an existing Windows infrastructure and/or Office 365 for Education should find them an easy fit. Of course, if you prefer Google’s services, OS and management console, then HP has that covered too, with its Chromebook 11 and Chromebook 14 for Education offerings (see image below).
HP believes that modern schools are looking for a full range of hardware and OS options, covering everything from tablets for primary school use through to high-performance laptops for secondary education. With its new education laptops and tablets, it’s putting the choice in schools’ hands.