HP's updated Stream laptops offer better battery life for your buck

HP's inexpensive Stream laptops weren't perfect by any means, but with a starting price of $200, we were able to forgive a lot, including so-so displays, sluggish performance and sometimes-flaky touchpads. Today HP is refreshing both the Stream 11 and 13, and while neither seems to address the flaws we found in the original, they at least keep the same price, all while bringing longer battery life -- and in the case of the smaller one, a lighter design. In particular, the 11.6-inch model now weighs 2.6 pounds, down from 2.74. The 13.3-inch version remains unchanged at 3.42 pounds, and there's an optional touchscreen for the larger model as well. In both cases, you can expect better runtime: up to 10.5 hours on the 11 (up from 8:15) and 8.5 hours on the 13 (versus 7:45 on the last generation). That's important, as the Stream line competes in part against Chromebooks, some of which have no problem reaching the 10-hour mark.

Otherwise, the upgraded Stream laptops are mostly the same, save for a new color palette (cobalt blue, bright purple and ash silver) and an updated Intel Celeron processor. Even then, we're not expecting a significant performance leap here -- these machines will always be serviceable for the basics, but not much more. As ever, too, the Stream laptops come with 32GB of built-in storage and 1TB of OneDrive space, free for one year (yet another reason HP's Stream laptops welcome comparisons with Chromebooks). Like last time, you'll also get a free one-year subscription to Office 365, along with 60 Skype minutes per month.

The upgraded Stream 11 and 13 ship October 18th at the same prices as before, with the 11 starting at $200 and the 13 at $230.