HP Stream 7 Review: A $119 Windows Tabletby Brandon Chester on December 19, 2014 8:00 AM EST
Inside the Stream 7 we have Intel's Atom Z3735G, which is a quad core Bay Trail part that has a base frequency of 1.33GHz and a burst frequency of 1.83GHz. It's paired with 1GB of DDR3L-RS-1333 memory, where the RS stands for "Reduced Standby". As the name implies, it has a focus on improving standby battery life on devices like tablets. Z3735G unfortunately has one of the slower memory interfaces of the Bay Trail lineup, with only single channel support and a max memory bandwidth of 5.3Gbps. Nonetheless, the CPU itself is fairly powerful, especially for a $119 device.
Although the Stream 7 does run a full copy of Windows, I've decided to run it through our mobile workflows rather than our desktop/laptop ones because I believe most users are going to use it similarly to how they use other tablets. I will elaborate on this point later in the software section, but the main point is that the normal Windows desktop experience is just not very good on touchscreens, especially 7" 1280x800 displays. Because of this, it's better to run it through benchmarks where it can be compared to other tablets. The fact that PCMark requires more space than the Stream 7 physically has is also an issue.
As you can see, Intel's latest Atom platform performs very well in our tests. It should be noted that these tests were performed using Chrome rather than IE, to maintain consistency with the results from previous Windows tablet reviews. This means that the Sunspider score leaves much to be desired, as Google has stopped focusing on it as an optimization target. Looking at our other tests, we see that the Stream 7 is not the fastest tablet, but it is still very fast. In fact, it's competitive with the silicon inside tablets that cost two or even three times as much, which is impressive.
The Intel HD Graphics chip in Bay Trail is architecturally similar to Intel's HD 4000 graphics on Ivy Bridge. It's simply a cut down implementation with 4 EUs instead of the 16 in an Ivy Bridge chip. The implementation in Atom Z3735G scales from 311MHz to 646MHz as needed. Thankfully, the Windows Store has up-to-date versions of 3DMark and GFXBench available, so we can compare the Stream 7 to the other devices that we've benchmarked in the past.
As you can see, Bay Trail isn't exactly a graphics powerhouse. However, the Stream 7's resolution means that the onscreen results aren't that bad, so you'll be able to get away with running some of the lighter games that you can on other platforms, provided of course that they're available on the Windows Store.
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email@example.com - Monday, December 22, 2014 - linkyou can't run flash or FULL APPLICATIONS on your Android nor icrap.
this is a FULL LAPTOP on tablet form for $100.
firstname.lastname@example.org - Monday, December 22, 2014 - linkand i have Toshiba Encore II 8 which is a similar device with only 1gb ram.
it runs faster than my ipad mini retina on everything and i was able to open 8-10 browsers without leg.
ados_cz - Monday, December 22, 2014 - linkCannot agree more, very usable in deed. I have faster eMMC on Linx 7, 170 / 65 MB/s and hard-set swap file to 2GB, have not run into any problem so far.
tipoo - Friday, December 19, 2014 - linkTry a tablet with 1GB RAM on Windows before talking about it, for tablet uses like mail, the browser, etc, 1GB is decent so long as you stay in Metro. This isn't for loading desktop apps on.
mss2 - Friday, December 19, 2014 - linkThough even there, it depends on the desktop app. I bought one to replace the 10-year-old iPod we use to play music in the kitchen, so we run desktop iTunes (there being no Metro version, Apple presumably not being in a hurry to support a competing tablet). Fortunately, either we don't have the headphone jack issue reported here, or it's not noticeable at relatively low volumes on a dock that's not exactly audiophile-quality itself.
It's easily the cheapest device that would a) hold all our music, with a microSD card, and b) support the star ratings and playlists we've already got in iTunes. (Any iDevice would be at least twice as much. I use various Android sync tools on my phone, but they don't Just Work without any issues. Mirroring the music directory from my desktop does.)
I'm not a huge fan of the onscreen keyboard (true on my Surface Pro as well; I wish Microsoft would let Swiftkey or someone take a crack at it). But for setup, I had an old folding Bluetooth keyboard first used with a Windows Mobile PDA a decade ago that still worked. Since then, it's worked fine as a music player with a sideline in light web browsing. Overall, I'm genuinely impressed at what a $99 device proves to be capable of.
tipoo - Sunday, December 21, 2014 - linkFair point, some simpler desktop apps will also work. And also good point for a use case, streaming audio would work well on this, if the headphone jack issue was indeed just a manufacturing error and not within spec and not common.
Did you try the headphone jack on actual headphones by the way? Is it noticable there?
tipoo - Friday, December 19, 2014 - linkI beg to differ, the niche, sometimes low end devices that you call "boring" are a refreshing change for me, most people aren't buying high end all the time. I was also interested in the Streams specifically as gifts for people who don't need many apps, just a Metro browser basically.
eanazag - Friday, December 19, 2014 - linkI also am interested in this review. Not totally sold on the device, but the price is great. A sub $100 device does make me nervous. There are goofy things that you may want a Windows device for in the single task category. This is clearly not a do everything device.
What size SD card does it support up to?
Brandon Chester - Friday, December 19, 2014 - linkI have seen it listed as "Up To 32 GB of Expandable Storage" on the pages of several retailers.
mss2 - Friday, December 19, 2014 - linkI have a 64GB microSD card in mine with no issues thus far.