I’ve tested this before but it needs to be done again. A sub-$200 8-inch Windows 8 tablet with external Full-HD screen, Gigabit Ethernet, a 256GB SSD, external sound module and USB keyboard and mouse all driven over one UBS 2.0 link. I’m using the HP Stream 8 here.
I’ve just bought a HP Stream 8 with 3G and the first video and first-impressions are ready for you. The video is below and if you’re interested in a truly mobile PC (that is a handheld PC with mobile internet) then you’ll need to watch this and think about this new class of sub-$200 3G-enabled Windows tablets. It’s an incredible deal when you think about it because it was only a few years ago when we were forced to pay many hundreds of dollars more for a 3G/4G-enabled PC. Manufacturers only had cellular options on business-class devices and those options were always $100 or more. The HP Stream 8 not only has 3G included but includes a small amount of data free every month. 200MB goes quickly on a PC but you can add more or put your own SIM card in and really start to enjoy the benefits of Connected Standby. Using a Skype-in number, this tablet could be a phone. Using a turn-by-turn navigation program, an always-online navigation unit. It’s a mobile hotspot, a great social networking tool and when Windows 10 launches there’ll be a whole new life injected into it. It comes with one year of Office365 Personal, 1TB of OneDrive (1 year uploading, always available) and 60 Skype call-out minutes per month.
I’ve just ordered the HP Stream 8 5900ng 8-inch Windows tablet because of an amazing European 3G deal. The HP Stream 8 5900ng includes an unlocked 3G module and comes with 200MB of Europe-roaming data per month for 2 years. You can top-up on a regular or one-off basis. According to information on the HP Germany website, USA is included from the 1st Feb 2015. Is this the ultra-mobile PC deal of the year? My company just paid €149 after entering an offer code and taking into account the sales-tax rebate. Office 365 is also included in the deal. Even without Office 365 this the best 3G-enabled ultra-mobile PC deal I’ve ever seen in Europe.
What can I say? Having had a bad experience with 1GB RAM on the Toshiba Encore 2 WT8 I just can’t get excited. I’m also confused about why manufacturers think this is a good idea? The platforms are likely to have been developed, tested and approved by Intel leaving HP and others to build the casing but there are major issues that will affect user perception of Windows tablets. Windows Desktop will slow down to a crawl after you’ve opened a number of browser tabs and a few apps as the Pagefile works overtime to switch data to and from memory. 16GB of SSD becomes a major issue after a short time unless you know all the tricks that can help keep it in order. Without a microSD slot though some of the tricks won’t even be possible.
Thank goodness there’s a 1280×800 screen with wide viewing angles on both of these tablets but that’s not enough for me to recommend them. Yet…
Will Windows 9 bring cheap Windows tablets to life?
Windows does need a cheap tablet option but it won’t happen with Windows 8.1. Late today Microsoft will be talking about Windows 9 and we hope to see better support for small form factor devices and low-end platforms. The ability to turn off the desktop and have an RT-style default might be a help too and if we could just have support for Windows Phone 8 apps, that could solve the problem. The Cortana assistant and a notification center will help too. Windows 9 should be a free upgrade on small-form-factor devices (it’s already free) so here’s hoping.
Until then, unless you have a specific need, a specific single task or RT-based need, be careful with these low-end Windows 8.1 tablets.
Mike Cane often highlights low-cost Windows tablet news on his blog.
Off the top of my head I think this is the lightest 10-inch 2-in-1 PC that I’ve ever seen. The HP Pavilion X2 is a Baytrail-T quad-core tablet with a 1280×800 screen and a 34Wh battery which is going to give you a reasonable battery life. There’s a full-size USB port, MicroHDMI, MicroSD and charging port and the keyboard isn’t bad either. This ultra mobile PC will launch at $330. My tip: A version might be available with 1GB RAM. Avoid that and go for 2GB RAM and 32GB storage. Total weight: 800 grams, 1.75 pounds.
I briefly mentioned the Acer Aspire ES1 in an article about the Acer Chromebook 13 last week but I think it’s worth taking a closer look at it now because this could be the next $199 Windows laptop. Given the specifications it also hints at a widening of the free Windows OS offer from Microsoft.
It looks like the Intel Atom/Celeron CPU has really found a niche in the latest Chromebooks. Here’s another Chromebook using the platform and in this case it’s replacing an ARM-architecture SoC that was in the previous version. The HP Chromebook 11 G3.
A PDF file (now removed) was spotted by Google Plus user Alvin Chin and the details showed that although the HP Chromebook 11 will stay much the same as in the G2 version it will get the Intel N2820 as seen in the ASUS C200, Acer CB3 / Chromebook 11 and Lenovo N20p making it a ‘lose’ for Samsung and ARM who originally had the Exynos 5250 inside.
As with the Acer CB3 vs the ASUS C200 it’s largely a price war between the three although detailed reviews are highlighting small but important variations so check reviews before you buy.
To assist you in Chromebook purchases we’re currently updating our database to include all the current models and will link into reviews as we find them.
$399 buys you 1.7KG of 14-inch Android smartbook. Maybe this isn’t something for ultra-mobile computing fans but it will be worth tracking the HP SlateBook 14 to see how it’s received in the market. The unique specifications and a ton of local apps (and a ton of great games) will differentiate it from Chromebooks and cheap Windows laptops.
Video and gallery below.
64GB of storage is good (16 and 32GB also listed in the specifications) and when you pair that with 9 hours battery life, the dynamic OS that many many people know and love from their smartphones, a fullHD touchscreen, three USB ports, a MicroSD slot and HDMI you have indeed got something unique. We assume the Nvidia Tegra 4 processor is fanless too. Try getting FullHD on 14-inches with an SSD in the Windows PC world for $400!
The HP Split X2 is one of a confusing range of 13-inch 2-in-1’s from HP that includes the Spectre X2, Split X2 Ultrabook and Pavilion X2 13. Each offers a slightly different specification and design. HP have just made it a little more confusing by re-launching the Split X2 as a new fanless 2-in-1 with Baytrail and Core CPU options.
It’s possible that this new HP Split X2 simplifies the range of HP 2-in-1s by offering all the options under one banner but as we don’t see an SSD listed, we hope not. Yes, the SSD has been replaced with a hybrid hard drive (which also removes the hard drive option in the keyboard.) There’s a new hinge design which allows the ports to be re-positioned on the rear of the unit. You’ll find an HDMI port, two USB ports, headset port and a power port there which is more in style with a true docking station and looks like it will provide more stability for wider screen angles and laptop usage.
HP haven’t listed full specifications but for $599 (starting June 29th in the USA) you get a 13.3-inch tablet that weighs 2.45 pounds (1.11KG) and is 0.53 inches thick (13.5mm.) Battery life is quoted at a rather poor 5.25 hours although there’s a keyboard dock with battery available.
Again, it’s fanless so that’s a step in the right direction [I’m testing a fanless 11-inch HP Pro 2-in-1 right now.] and there’s up to 8GB RAM available. A full range of Baytrail and Haswell options are rumored. At this stage we can’t confirm the screen resolution but the previous HP Split X2 had a full HD screen option so we expect that to be carried forward.
We’ve pinged our sources out in Taipei and hope to have more details, pics and videos soon.
I’m reviewing an 830 gram / 1.83 pound 11.6-inch Core i5 Windows tablet for Notebookcheck.net this week and after 24 hours I’ve got a good feeling for where this HP Pro X2 410 G1 is going. There are some really impressive specs and performance figures here but they’re sitting alongside some fundamental issues. One of those issues always will be an issue and it’s something that also affects the Surface Pro 3 that was launched this week.
Weight. The Pro X2 proves to me once again that large format tablets need to be exceptionally light to be truly useful. Yes, there are some of you out there that have a need for a powerful tablet and I accept that you’re happy with a trade-off, but there’s not many of you – especially when this has a 1366×768 screen, doesn’t lean back far enough in the dock to allow ‘lapping’ (because the tablet weighs too much and it would tip over) has no tablet stand and doesn’t have a digitizer layer. Total weight: 1.6KG.
The really sad thing about this design is that internally it’s looking very good indeed. I’ve just tested the SSD and seen some amazingly good speeds. The speakers are great, the backlight is strong, build quality is good, keyboard is great, there’s a total of 50Wh of battery and that Core i5 (4202Y) is running fanless. This is great electronic engineering. I’ve never had so much fanless PC power in my hand.
HP are pitching this into the business market but I’m struggling to see any major demand for it at the price they’re asking. Over $900 / 900 Euro for a Core i5 with 4GB and 128GB SSD. You can get more power, in less weight, with a recent Ultrabook. Go for a 256GB SSD option on the HP Pro X2 and the Surface Pro 3 looks like a much better option, especially as you get the digitizer and 8GB RAM.
I believe in 2-in-1s. I believe that one day the technology will allow us to build some amazingly light large format mobile screens that have the power of todays mainstream PCs. It might take a next-generation wireless display technology (WiGig is one to watch) or it might take a ‘screen as SoC’ technology to get things slimmed down but the modular approach seems like the sensible option. Right now the 11.6-inch screens are too big for workable 2-in-1s which means that 10-inches is the way to go right now. Truly table-top productive 2-in-1’s may take a few more years.
I’ll be continuing my HP Pro X2 410 G1 testing over the next week and you’ll probably see an overview on the YouTube channel in a day or two. Maybe the performance will win me over. Maybe I’ll find a hot-desk scenario that wins me over. Maybe that battery life (I’m expecting 8hrs of productivity) is the key. Maybe there’s enough in the laptop part (the keyboard sure feels good!) that the tablet part is just a bonus. Maybe the fanless aspect is good enough to make it unique for schools or some vertical that I can’t think of now! We’ll see over the next week but if you have any scenarios you think might work for this, let us know in the comments.
I’ve got a number of device videos to talk about from MWC 2014 in Barcelone but before I hit the airport for the return home I wanted to take a closer look at the rugged keyboard case. Personally I love it and want it. The elitepad makes a great 10-inch tablet but if you add this keyboard case, you’re really set for a lot of on-the-road work. Video below.
Clearly the casing has more than just a keyboard inside. That full-size SD card slot is perfect for media creators.
Remember, the HP Elitepad has 64-bit Windows 8.1 (or Pro) and up to 128GB of storage and…tada!…4GB of RAM.
I also took a peek into the battery statistics. You’ve got a 30WH battery here and the device that has been in use on the HP booth for three days is showing some good figures. I’d say this is an 8-hour working device that would last for the rest of a day in connected standby.
A 3G version will be available.
I also took a look at a lightweight BT keyboard that had great keyboard feedback and a consumer-style case and cover.
At a pre-MWC event yesterday evening I got a look at the updated HP Elitepad 1000 G2. It’s now running Baytrail-T (Z3795), comes with a 64-Bit version of Windows and has 4GB of RAM. There’s also, as before, a great selection of sleeves and a dock that now includes USB3.0