HP Stream 7

Over the holidays, Microsoft discounted the HP Stream 7. I was curious about the device, so I picked one up. The hardware itself isn’t that powerful but it matches the budget price.

box contents

Box contents

Hardware

  • 7-inch HD IPS touchscreen 800×1280
  • Intel Atom processor Z3735G
  • 1GB DDR3L-RS 1333 MHz ram
  • 32GB SSD for storage

It doesn’t sound too appealing but for under $100 it hits the spot. The performance itself surprised me. It actually ran quite well. I’ve always stayed away from Atom processors since I messed around with netbooks. The experience with those were just horrible for me. This tablet ran quite well. Navigating around Windows was pleasing and responsive. Where you’ll be reminded about the low-powered processor is during installation of software. Other than that, the experience is great.

tiles

Windows 8.1 with Bing tiles

It has bluetooth capabilities. I have yet to try that out but I’m glad it’s there if I wanted to use bluetooth peripherals.

It has 1 micro USB 2.0 port and a combo port for headphone and microphone. It can connect to 802.11b/g/n with Miracast enabled. You may want to purchase an OTG adapter if you want to play around with other peripherals. I purchased mine from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GM0OZ4O.

OTG cable

OTG cable

You can use MicroSD cards to add storage space. It is found inside by removing the back panel.

back panel

Back panel
SD card slot

SD card slot

The tablet can be charged via micro USB port. I really love devices with this port because cables are easy to replace and are inexpensive. The cables are included but if you lose them or forget them, I’m sure you have other devices that use the same cable.

Software

The tablet is running Windows 8.1 with Bing at 32bit. It is a full version of Windows 8.1 but notice the reference of Bing in the name. From what I’ve read, this is how Microsoft is able to compete in the low-cost device game. This version of Windows is provided as a free license to OEM manufacturers for devices that are sold under $250. You can read more about it at http://www.howtogeek.com/195934/what-exactly-is-windows-8.1-with-bing-do-i-have-to-use-bing/.

windows 8.1 with bing

Windows 8.1 with Bing can run in landscape
windows 8.1 with bing

Windows 8.1 with Bing can run in portrait

Conclusion

Overall, if you’re looking for an inexpensive device that runs Windows, this could be a winner. Don’t expect to do more than web browsing and some light Office documents. If you’re a student or faculty, you may even get additional discounts off the price. On top of that, you get 1 year of Office 365 access. That alone is valued at about $70. Not a bad package for MSRP of $99.

No restore media is included. There is a hidden partition for restoration. If you want to back that up onto an external media, this is where the OTG cable comes in. Because of the absense of a USB port, OTG will allow you to gain access to one. It’s basically a micro USB to USB adapter. You will need at least 8GB to back up the partition. To be safe, just use a 16GB.

I would like to mess with the OS more. I want to install Windows 10 tech preview and try to dual boot with Ubuntu. Or even wipe out the drive and just run Ubuntu. I’ll post my results once I start messing with it. Right now I’m having issues backing up/restoring the factory defaults. I’d like to ensure this is possible just in case I had to revert back to its original condition.

HP dv9999us Review

I’ve been looking for a new laptop for a couple of months now. My MacBook Pro is nearly 3 years old, still has the original Core Duo cpu, and it over heats so much it just freezes. I had Apple look at and they replaced a heat sink but it seemed like it didn’t help. They also replaced the battery and power adapter plug – still didn’t help. They finally said that the temperature is normal and they can’t do anything else. My co-worker’s newer MacBook Pro doesn’t heat up as bad. Anyways…

I started looking at the netbooks. They are very light-weight, ultra portable, no CD/DVD-rom drives. I thought it would be perfect for what I need. I can still carry my MBP and have a netbook too. I waited and waited. Then I saw an ad at Office Depot for a laptop. It was a total opposite of what a netbook is but for the price I had to take a look. I ended up buying the HP dv9999us. Here are the specs:

  • AMD Turion-X2 64bit 2.0GHz
  • 4GB ram
  • 250GB hdd
  • 17” WXGA 1440×900 BrightView LCD
  • USB 2.0 (4x)
  • Firewire 400 (1x)
  • S-Video out
  • Built-in web cam
  • Media remote control
  • 2 audio out headphone jacks and 1 input
  • 5-in-1 memory card reader
  • Express card slot

You can view the hardware specs here. So after about 2 weeks of use, here’s a list of likes and dislikes.

LIKES:

  • 4GB ram
  • 64 bit OS and CPU
  • numeric keypad is part of the keyboard
  • 17” screen is great
  • Vista Home Premium 64bit has been impressively stable (so far)
  • memory card reader
  • has remote control for media software and can be stored in the extreme card slot
  • built-in webcam
  • after rebates the laptop costs only $490
  • physical on/off switch for WiFi
  • no incompatibilities so far being Vista and 64bit (programs that are 64bit are stored in the Program Files folder * while the rest are stored in Program Files x86)
  • S-Video out support
  • light scribe DVDRW drive

DISLIKES:

  • media buttons on top of the keyboard are too senstive
  • video card is not all that good when it comes to games
  • right, Shift button is awkwardly positioned and size is smaller than usual – I sometimes press “/” key to the left of it
  • heavy 7.7lbs (but it is a 17” laptop)
  • media software isn’t too responsive, too cluttered – OS X has a more intuitive interface
  • lots of pre-installed software (can be removed, but why are they there in the first place – doesn’t exists in any Apple computer)
  • took almost an hour to access the desktop during first boot – must be a Vista thing
  • no HDMI support, but no biggie
  • sometimes I hear buzzing sound when the laptop seems like it’s heating up – I’ve had this happen on several other * laptops so it seems normal

Overall the laptop is great for the price. My views towards Vista have changed a little bit. It seems the 64 bit version runs a little more stable than the 32 bit version. I do miss my MacBook Pro and OS X but I don’t miss the overheating. I still have Apple desktops at home and at work so it’s not that bad.

hp dv9999us

hp dv9999us