HP Stream 7 is a surprisingly fluid Windows 8.1-based tablet that comes with a 1 year subscription to Office 365 Personal, a $69 value. More on that later. What makes it surprising is its performance for its price. (Note: I purchased this tablet from the Microsoft Store.)
– Holds easily in the palm of my hand and in the back of my jeans pocket
– A quite powerful Windows PC in the pocket of your pants!
– Fluid performance of the Windows Store apps, helped by the Quad core processor
– Traditional Windows app performance acceptable
– Very inexpensive
– Includes Office 365 Personal for a year ($70 value). Effectively making the tablet cost just $30! [EDIT 2/18/15: MS currently sells the Stream 7 for $75 – Office 365 Personal – $25 app store credit]
– Runs the full Windows 8 OS (not the crippled “RT” version). This lets you install traditional programs like on a regular laptop
– Can access every file share that a Windows tablet/PC can connect to
– Beautiful, bright screen (1280×800 resolution)
– Screen can be seen from any angle!
– Has 32 GB storage, expandable by a microSD card (tested with 64GB card)
– Throw standard movies/videos onto the storage or microSD card, and watch them on this tablet without any conversion necessary
– Bluetooth and Wifi
– Battery lasts as much as 8 hours [EDIT 2/18/15: I had to charge the tablet every day/every other day when it was not in Airplane mode]
– Front and back cameras make video conferencing via Skype a possibility
– Charges via standard microUSB port
– microUSB port supports USB On-The-Go (OTG) cables. Allows you to connect hard drives, flash drives, memory card readers (for backing up your camera pictures). Can attach a USB hub to connect even more devices
– Can run 2 Windows Store apps side-by-side
– Plays videos (including Plex/Netflix) perfectly, including AVI, MKV, MP4, etc.
– Despite having just 1GB RAM, I was pleased to be able to launch 8 Windows Store apps and easily switch between them
– Supports Miracast wireless display casting (like Apple’s “AirPlay”, Samsung’s “AllCast”, Roku, etc). Allows you to project your tablet to a TV/projector — even use it as a second monitor. This was tested with the MS Wireless Display Adapter. This did not work with Fire TV mirroring
– “Signature Edition” is available through the Microsoft Store. That version gives you the Stream 7 without any additional software added by HP
– Supports Bluetooth keyboards and mice
– At 0.8 lb, it feels heavy. Perhaps I got spoiled by the iPad Mini/Nexus 7/Surface 2, but its heft is noticeable
– Speakers are loud enough in a room, but does not produce the best sound quality. What do you expect for a tablet at this price?
– Only has 1GB of RAM although it has been able to perform acceptably
– Although Miracast display mirroring works, it’s not as fluid as the $1500 Surface Pro 3
– microSD card slot is accessible after opening the back cover
– Spoiled by the Surface Pro 3, the tablet appears thick
– There is no Charge indicator light. So, you have to turn on the tablet and look at the battery icon to see whether it is charging or full. Worse, connect a generic charger that may not provide enough power, and the icon shows that it’s charging, but… mouse over the system tray’s battery icon, and it shows “Connected, but not charging”. In other words, check that your non-HP charger works before you walk away
– Only has 5-point multi-touch (Surface Pro 3/iPad do 10-point). With a tablet this size, 5-point works well enough
– Typing on the on-screen keyboard was sometimes (not very often) laggy. Maybe I typed too fast.
– “Signature Edition” is only available through the Microsoft Store
– No GPS
OFFICE 365 PERSONAL subscription (included for 1 year)
– 1TB of OneDrive storage (Microsoft is upgrading this to UNLIMITED at no extra charge soon!) [EDIT 12/8/2015: Microsoft reversed itself on this offer… Instead of offering “Unlimited” (or even 10TB), they are now capping this at 1TB. I’m not too happy about that!]
– Full copy of Office for 1 PC or Mac
– Full copy of Office for tablets/phones (iPad, Android, Windows Phone)
– 60 minutes of international Skype-to-phone calling
– Worth $70/year
– After the 1st year, you’ll have to renew the subscription, but with all the benefits listed above (especially the UNLIMITED cloud storage), I find this a steal. [EDIT 12/8/2015: Microsoft reversed itself on this offer… Instead of offering “Unlimited” (or even 10TB), they are now capping this at 1TB. I’m not too happy about that!]
– Can upgrade to Office 365 Home after the 1st year, which comes with 5 accounts that you can share with friends/family, each getting the above benefits for their own account
[EDIT 11/19/14: I found my OneDrive upgraded from 1TB to 10TB while Microsoft prepares to upgrade everybody to Unlimited storage. You can get on their upgrade waiting list at [URL removed]. EDIT 2/18/15: as of today, MS still has not yet upgraded my account to Unlimited. It’s still at 10TB.] [EDIT 12/8/2015: Microsoft reversed itself on this offer… Instead of offering “Unlimited” (or even 10TB), they are now capping this at 1TB. I’m not too happy about that!]
The Office 365 Personal subscription is activated by launching the Office app icon from the Start screen. This takes you to the Office 365 website from where you activate the subscription. I was erroneously expecting a voucher in the box. The activation appears unique — meaning, you cannot have another person log in to the tablet and try to claim another free subscription. Further, if you already have Office 365 Personal, I believe that the activation will simply extend your existing subscription by a year, but I cannot confirm. [EDIT 2/18/15: I was able to stack multiple Personal subscriptions up to 5 years. Trying to add a 6th year did not work.]
– I use Google Chrome all the time. However, just like on the Surface Pro 3 Core i7 (top-of-the-line), it does not play well — it hogs memory and CPU resources! Further, it also does not scroll very smoothly. As such, use Internet Explorer (Store app version) for best performance. The slow performance is a GOOGLE problem, not a problem with the tablet
– Treat this tablet like a Surface RT tablet, not a laptop: use the Store apps whenever you can. Consider the Desktop and the ability to run regular Windows software as a bonus. See this tablet as a laptop, and you’ll be disappointed due to its small screen
– Enter BIOS mode by turning the tablet off. Then push (and keep holding) the Power + Volume down buttons at the same time. Works the same way as the Surface Pro 3
– The Windows Store version of Internet Explorer (IE) has Adobe Flash built in. You can also download Flash and install it for use with your browser of choice: IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc. However, IE will give you the best performance since Microsoft optimized IE for Windows 8 tablets
– The installed Windows OS is 32-bit
– Since this tablet can run the full Windows OS, I surmise you could turn this into a full-fledged, basic server to use at home. Usage scenarios I can see: 1) torrent server. 2) Server to connect to via Remote Desktop/Teamviewer/Splashtop, allowing you to check on your files or security camera while you’re away. [EDIT 2/18/15: since the tablet runs Windows 8.1 with Bing, you cannot Remote Desktop INTO it from another PC using the built-in Microsoft Remote Desktop client. You can only remote desktop FROM it to another device. Teamviewer/Splashtop/Logmein work fine though.] 3) Server to control your home automation devices. 4) File server to host your files/movies/pictures (by connecting a USB hard drive via a USB OTG cable).
– With the upcoming Windows 10 release, Windows Phone and Windows PC/tablets will be merged into a single system. This means that apps written for the phone should also work for the PC/tablet. This will hopefully encourage developers to focus their apps to run on the Windows ecosystem. Meaning: more, better quality apps! I have high hopes.
I purchased this tablet to supplement my Surface Pro 3, HTC One M8 android phone, and my wife’s iPad. A tablet so cheap, I can simply lay it around the house for anyone to grab to quickly look things up. At $99 – $69 (I planned to sign up for the Office 365 Personal subscription anyway) = $30, the Stream 7 is extremely affordable [EDIT 2/18/15: MS currently sells the tablet for $75 – Office 365 Personal – $25 app store credit, making it practically free!]. Throw movies onto the tablet and watch them in the car or on the plane. Or, in my case, to launch something on a remote server via Citrix or Remote Desktop, or to move files around between computers (told you, I’m in IT.) I am very pleased with this purchase, and applaud Microsoft for lowering its Windows licensing fees to make inexpensive Windows tablets a possibility.
——— 12/10/2014 UPDATE WITH STREAM 8:
I recently purchased the Stream 8, and although I bought it for $80 more than the Stream 7, I returned the latter. Here’s why.
– Stream 8 is only 1″ larger, but it provides a noticeably larger screen. This makes reading easier
– A bit thinner than the Stream 7
– Comes with a free, lifetime, 200 MB/month cellular data via T-Mobile HSPA+ (“4G”)
– Cellular data: no credit card, no contract required
– Cellular data allows you to quickly check something when no WiFi is available
– Feels a bit lighter than the Stream 7 (although it’s actually heavier)
– Comes with Office 365 Personal 1 Year subscription too
– Runs as smooth as the Stream 7. Both tablets are essentially the same specs
– A bit pricier than the Stream 7
– Cellular radio can drain battery faster. I keep mine turned off (Settings > Mobile Broadband > Off) until I need to use it
To activate the free, lifetime cellular subscription, go to Settings > WiFi (turn it off). Then tap the “Mobile Broadband” connection. It’ll direct you to the T-Mobile page for activation (SIM card is already pre-installed underneath the back cover). Once activated, you may turn back on the WiFi radio.
All in all, I am much happier with the Stream 8 than the Stream 7, although the latter is still an EXCELLENT value for its price. You can’t go wrong with either tablet!