Imagine a Windows 8.1 quad-core Intel tablet (capable of running full desktop Windows application), with 32 GB flash memory, 1 GB RAM, 7 inch 1280 x 800 screen and free 1-year subscription to Office 365.
How much will you pay for it?
What if I tell you it is only US$99.99? Yes, you read right. It is REALLY that cheap (LESS than US$100)!
This tablet is the HP Stream 7. You can buy it NOW at Amazon. After using it for a few days, I can tell you about my experience with the HP Stream 7.
First, this is a Windows 8.1 tablet capable of running full Windows PC desktop applications. But I must stress that you are not going to experience it like a PC. You do NOT have to wait for it to boot up like a PC. All you have to do is to press the "On" button and it will light up instantly. And all your emails and notifications will be ready for you.
Just like an iPad, iPhone or Android device.
When you buy the HP Stream 7, you will get a FREE 1-year subscription to Office 365. After activation, it will run these full desktop Office applications:
In addition, the license allows you to install Office on another PC or Mac. I've also activated the premium features of the Word/Excel/PowerPoint apps on my iOS devices without any hitches.
Next, for the duration of your Office 365 subscription, you will get 1 TB (i.e. 1000 GB) of online cloud storage at Microsoft's OneDrive. You will also a FREE 60 minutes worth of phone calls at Skype.
In terms of performance, it is very fast and responsive, just as I would expect in a tablet. Even the desktop Office applications load fast- just as fast as the corresponding Office apps on my iPad. For me, Microsoft Word took a few seconds to open the first page of my 225-page Word document. Although the rest of the document took a little while to fully load, I can work on the document pretty much straight away. Of course, if you install memory hogging desktop applications, all bets are off in terms of performance. After all, this device has only 1 GB of RAM.
There is a 2 mega-pixel rear camera as well as a 0.3 mega-pixel front camera. So, do not expect to take award-winning pictures or stunning selfies with its camera.
The screen resolution is 1280 x 800, which is decent, although not at the retina-level like Apple's iPad. The screen display quality is pretty good, with clear colours and contrast.
In terms of size, it is actually slightly smaller than the Kindle 3. But it is thicker, at 1 cm thick. So, if you push it, it is possible to put this tablet in your pocket. However, in terms of weight, it feels pretty heavy at 360 g. So, you are well-advised to wear a belt if you want to keep your HP Stream 7 in your tablet.
You can also expand the storage capacity of the HP Stream 7 with an internal micro-SD card slot. It also has a micro-USB port for you to charge it OR connect to USB devices. To connect to other USB device, you will need a micro-USB to USB OTG adapter.
In terms of value, this tablet is hard to beat. From Amazon at US$99.99, you will quickly realise that it is a no-brainer to get it instead of those cheap Android tablets. At this low price, you can't go wrong. Seriously, I don't know how HP is going to make a profit by pricing such a tablet at such insanely low price.