How To Turn A (Was $99) now $79 Tablet Into A Workstation!
November 25, 14 - Posted in: Tech Talk
Okay, not really $99 in total, but the HP Stream 7 at $99 with Office 365 is an incredible deal. Indeed, this little PC, and it is a real PC, runs Windows 8.1, not Windows RT, or like an iPad, or like a Chromebook. No; this is a PC in a tablet's body.
Key Advantages of the HP Stream 7
- You can take it out of the office for many applications that run on handheld tablets i.e. an insurance adjuster reviewing an automobile accident claim can use it to take pictures and fill out the spreadsheet/form the company uses to provide and then cut a check like they might do today on an iPad.
- You can go home and use it for infotainment applications like using Miracast/WiDi to watch Netflix on their large format HDTV, you cannot on an iPad. All along it is very adequate for checking email, social networking, reading a book, and things the iPad is good at today.
- In summary, the Stream 7 is the form factor that enables displacing the iPad for many usages and applications but also can be docked to be a work machine. This is a real working PC, for work or home, at less than a Chromebook price.
How I Did ItStep 1 - Get a Universal Port Replicating Dock from Targus. While I prefer the ACP71, the ACP076 is adequate and Targus even has a bundle deal for it with a keyboard and mouse, BUS0375 for $149.99. USB hub if you do. Because the Stream 7's port is USB2.0, the dock's GbE port will not support GbE rate file transfers. USB 2.0 doesn't run fast enough to support GbE, but FE is more than adequate for the bulk of applications running on/over the LAN/Internet. Besides, there are many companies running faster than tens of megabits over the web. I also connected up external stereo speakers to the dock so that I could listen to video streams and music in the cloud. Also, I had no problem streaming Netflix through the dock to the external monitor at full resolution. This could because the DisplayLink application running on the Stream 7 doesn't use much of the Atom CPU to adaptively encode the video over the USB link. Ironically, DisplayLink does recommend having more memory and a higher clocking CPU than what the Stream 7 offers, but hey it worked for me albeit not as well as it does on my Ultrabook. This is my setup for being ultra-productive at work. I take the Stream7 home at night to check my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, not that I would at work where I use it for LinkedIn. At home, it is also great for catching up on my favorite internet TV. It also comes in handy for checking my Outlook email, task list, and calendar while not at the office. But truth in advertising, I am a geek and so I have a Targus Universal Port Replicating Dock at home too. I connect the Stream 7 to it and viola, I have access to any application my $1500+ ultra-book does too.
How You Can Do ItThe combination of a PC and a Universal Port Replicating Dock greatly enhances productivity. It is great to have your email open on one screen while you are editing a spreadsheet on another. Don't expect a raise from your boss but you can build or suggest this class workstation for use at your company with the following components:
- $99 HP Stream 7 http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/HP-Stream-7-Signature-Edition-Tablet/productID.308781500?Icid=Homepage_Hero_1_HP7_111014
- $149 Targus USB3.0 Universal Docking Station, Mouse and Keyboard http://business.targus.com/universal-workstation-bundle-2
- $119 HP W2371d 23-Inch 1920x1080 Monitor, http://store.hp.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/us/en/pdp/accessories-88342--1/hp-w2371d-23-inch-diagonal-led-backlit-monitor
- $20 Micro USB Dongle for Data and Charging http://accessories.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=470-ABES
- $12 HP Compact Speakers http://store.hp.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/us/en/pdp/accessories-88342--1/hp-compact-20-speakers-p-br387aa-aba--1