HP Offers Mini Windows PCs as Chromebook Alternatives

The tech giant introduced the new PCs at the 2015 CES, leading a parade of vendors like Lenovo and Acer showing off new systems.

HP Pavilion Mini

Hewlett-Packard is expanding its lineup of small PCs as it looks to push back at the growing popularity of Chromebooks with a pair of low-cost, energy-efficient micro systems that run Microsoft's Windows OS.

At the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 5 in Las Vegas, the tech giant unveiled the Pavilion Mini Desktop and Stream Mini Desktop, two PCs that can easily fit in the palm of the hand and are designed to give users the same high performance and affordability as Chromebooks that run Google's Chrome OS, which is seeing increasing demand in such areas as education and the home.

The systems also are part of an onslaught of computers that a broad array of OEMs—including Lenovo and Acer—are showing off at CES as it gets under way this week.

HP is in the process of breaking into two separate companies, including one—which will be called HP Inc.—that will sell PCs and printers. Company officials have said that PCs will continue to be an important space, despite the declining sales in the global market in recent years, a decline that has significantly lessened in recent quarters.

HP has been aggressive in developing new form factors, such as the Sprout, which combines such features as a 3D scanner and a projector with a PC. With the Pavilion and Stream mini desktops, HP is looking to extend its reach in the market for smaller systems. HP is no stranger to this space—it has its own line of Chromebooks as well as an Android-based system, part of the company's larger strategy to offer customers whatever they want.

"The desktop tower PC continues to be a focal point in the home for sharing, creating and entertaining," Mike Nash, vice president of product management for consumer personal systems at HP, said in a statement. "The HP Pavilion and HP Stream Mini Desktops deliver the benefits of a traditional desktop PC in a package that looks good sitting on a desk and is small enough to fit into an entertainment center."

The Pavilion Mini runs Windows 8.1 and can be powered by a range of Intel processors up to the Core i3. It's 2.06 inches tall and weighs 1.6 pounds, and offers up to 1TB of storage and 8GB of memory. There's support of two displays via DisplayPort and High-Definition Multimedia Interface- (HDMI-) compatible ports. It uses up to 45 watts of power—the typical tower PC will use as much as 250 watts—and includes built-in 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth.

The Stream Mini is the latest addition to the Stream lineup of systems that HP introduced last year. It offers a 32GB solid-state drive (SSD) and two years of 200GB of OneDrive Storage from Microsoft. Buyers also get a $25 gift card for the Windows Store, Microsoft's app store.

Both systems will be available in the United States beginning Jan. 14 for starting prices of $179.99 for the Stream Mini and $319.99 for the Pavilion Mini.