Price (RRP): $229
School’s almost back, and that means it’s time to look for computers for the kids. HP might have an option for this in its Stream line-up, with the $229 Stream 8 tablet.
HP’s first tablet to bring Windows 8 on a budget is here, and it’s called the Stream 8, one of the first computers to bear the “Stream” name for HP which basically suggests “budget computing to go made for students”.
As such, you can’t expect blistering performance from this tiny tablet, but you can expect more than the netbooks of old, especially with an Intel quad-core Atom Z3735 (Z3735G) processor inside, paired with 1GB RAM and working alongside 32GB storage, the latter of which can be upgraded thanks to a microSD slot found under the removable rear cover.
Windows 8.1 arrives on the tablet out of the box, with Microsoft Office 365 included as well, there’s an 8 inch In-Plane Switching screen running a resolution of 1280×800 with multi-touch included here to let you actually use the machine.
Wireless support is included, too, with 802.11b/g/n WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0, with wired ports catered for over 3.5mm headset jack and a microUSB charge port.
Two cameras are here, available through a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front camera, with the rear camera capable of Full HD video, while the front is 720p HD only.
Plastic is the main material used in the body construction, with a glass panel up front, but not much else. HP has included two buttons along the top edge catering for power and volume, but you’ll also find a soft Windows home button on the front under the screen.
The rear cover is removable and will show a 4000mAh battery, as well as the aforementioned microSD slot.
In 2014, Microsoft got tired of Google beginning to eat into its budget computer market.
A sector that at one point was dominated by Windows XP — during the time of the “netbook” — entry-level computers with Windows are being threatened by laptops running Google’s Chromebook operating system, a platform that brings the flexibility and security because it’s basically a version of the Chrome browser, and therefore will let people surf webpages, do the social networking they crave, and thanks to online office apps, even get some productivity done.
To try and combat Chromebooks, Microsoft has been working with manufacturers on Windows machines that can bring the cost down significantly, making a Windows machine as cheap as a Chromebook, essentially introducing small Windows 8.1 tablets and laptops under the $300 mark.
HP’s Stream 8 is one of these, and the second budget Windows 8 machine we’ve seen, coming just after the Pendo Pad 8, with both offering an 8 inch tablet for around the $200 mark.