New Cheap Windows Tablet

I have been doing a lot at work lately with an HP Stream 7, which is a teeny tablet running for-real Windows 8, except even more real since the tablet only has 1GB RAM it ships with a "crippleware" 32-bit version of Windows 8.1, which being 32-bit will run all that software that won't run under Windows 8 because it's 64-bit.

Only problem is that the only I/O is the micro USB power connector. You can use USB peripherals with it with an OTG cable but that gets awkward and you really need a bluetooth keyboard and mouse for practical work. And reading glasses of course, but that's a given.

But there's a new player! Office Depot has on sale a similar tablet by "ICraig" which is a bit bigger at 8.95 inch screen, has the same 32-bit Win 8, and the same RAM and flash (the literature says 16 GB but the OS says its 32 GB). And unlike the Stream 7 it has a separate USB charging port, full-size USB, mini HDMI, analog headphone, and externally accessible microSD jack. And it comes with a docking keyboard folio/stand, so you only need to add a normal USB mouse to set it up like a laptop.

In a pinch you can also use the charging connector for another USB device with an OTG cable. Battery life seems to be comparable to the Stream at around 4 hours and of course you can use it like a tablet with the touchscreen. Wifi, bluetooth, fore and aft cameras on board of course. And it's on sale for $100 right now (normally $150). It's the best package I've seen yet for something really cheap and portable that can, oh for example, program a Propeller or Basic Stamp. Hey Erco, is there an Office Depot near you?
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Comments

  • 217 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Can't find it on line. Only sold in stores?
    Infernal Machine
  • Yep, stores only. It is on officedepot.com but they don't have much info about it, and some of that is wrong (like the memory capacity and screen resolution, both of which are better than specified).
  • Only in stores, and only until 10/24 at that price.
    Sapphire
  • Cool...will the tablets run Python and pygame...I got a cool project that might work on the tablet
  • ercoerco Posts: 17,854
    edited October 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Tempting, LR... yes, Office Depot nearby and my birthday is coming! Would that upgrade to Win10?
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • It does offer to free upgrade you to Win 10. I declined :-)
  • Is this thing pretty durable?

    I have a bunch of Raspberry Pi's. In the near future I'll be teaching robotics at other locations and dread the thought of carrying around a bunch of monitors.
  • The docking keyboard is on the flimsy side, but the price is right. The tablet itself is, well, a tablet. Haven't seen any obvious problems with it so far but I've only been using it a few hours. I do like the full size USB connector a lot more than the micro plus OTG solution that's necessary with the Stream 7. While it's a no-name brand it's probably made in a similar Chinese facility with similar controls to the HP unit, which has worked very well for me and others who followed my lead with it.
  • Sounds like it's going to need a USB Hub.

    Does it only take the Micro SD (the fingernail sized ones that slide into adapters) or can it take the standard SD?

    For $100 I think this thing is going to be hard to beat.
  • I'll take a look at one today or tomorrow. The brand name Craig is the main thing that bothers me.
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Is it that they have a bad reputation, or no reputation?
  • ercoerco Posts: 17,854
    edited October 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Craig always made cheap boom boxes and Pep Boys car stereos. I tend to view it about the same caliber as Polaroid and Philco, who in recent years have became label slappers, stamping their name on any cheap electronic device. (But Philco used to be great! I have a 1960 Predicta TV and a giant 1941 phono/radio console. Obviously Polaroid used to be great too.)

    But if localroger gives it a "buy" rating, that's good enough for me to check it out! I wonder if anyone would service it down the road... probably disposable at that price.
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Back in the days of 8-track tapes, Craig made some of the very best car stereos (google "Craig Powerplay"), but yeah, times have changed.
    - Rick
  • I still think it's a hoot that classic car guys are paying big bucks for 8-track tapes and underdash players for authenticity's sake. And there were underdass record players with big springs to keep the tonearm from skipping on bumps. Silly people couldn't just wait for MP3s?
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • 30 day return policy. I grabbed one and will put it through it's paces quickly to see if I should buy a few more to teach with.

    Seems sturdy. Just got back with it. Charging now.
  • The HP Stream 7 with 32b Win 8.1 seemed to run the embedded code & Serial ports I tested nicely, so this 32b Windows tablet space does look good.
    (I guess this also means there is a related 32b Win10 offering ?)

    IIRC there were some posts about charging thresholds and HUBs, with the HP needing a nudge above 5V to properly fully-rate charge.
  • Don't know about 32 bit Win10, which is one reason I didn't upgrade. I have several utilities I need for work that won't run on 64-bit. In fact I've been looking for a tablet or micro-laptop with HDMI for playing library rental Hoopla videos on my TV, and I've been resisting because before this they were all 64-bit and thus much less useful for work. Everything I've tried that worked on the S7 has worked on the Craig so far though. Got it a 32 gig SD card and wireless USB mouse and still under the $150 regular price.

    The SD card is the micro thumbnail-sized, not full sized version. Same as almost all cellphones and the Stream 7. Many uSD cards come with adapters though so they can be put in full-sized SD readers.

    I don't really regard things like this as serviceable. I did spring for $15 each for the 2 year full replacement policy, since my wife is about to take hers to Nepal. (Yep, bought 2, because when I told her about it she realized it might really help with her weight restrictions on the internal light plane flight from Kathmandu to the high plains.)

    The Stream 7 doesn't charge quite right when using a split OTG/power/adapter cable. It does charge but the onboard controller doesn't seem to follow it correctly. The separate full USB should solve that issue with the Craig.

    The docking keyboard folio folds up very cleverly into a stand, all held together both deployed and stowed with magnets. It doesn't fold up with the tablet inside though. Quality of the keyboard is definitely meh but it's good enough for occasional work and if not you could always use a USB or bluetooth solution to improve on it. Tomorrow I will try it with the all-important Digi Edgeport serial adapter and Parallax PropTool. Both of those work fine with the Stream 7 so I'm expecting no problems.
  • localroger wrote: »
    Don't know about 32 bit Win10, which is one reason I didn't upgrade...

    Probably a good idea, there are bound to be fish-hooks aplenty.
    Google finds this - there is a 32b Win10 but it needs 16GB to install,

    http://betanews.com/2015/06/01/will-your-pc-or-tablet-run-windows-10-check-out-the-official-system-requirements/

    but it seems that is the same as Win 8.1
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-nz/windows-8/system-requirements

    Windows 8.1
    If you want to run Windows 8.1 on your PC, here's what it takes:
    Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
    RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
    Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
    Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver


    Windows 10 list is basically the same ?

    Latest OS: Make sure you are running the latest version either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
    Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
    RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
    Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
    Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
    Display: 1024x600
  • The upgrade offer said Win10 would be a 3 to 4 gig download. As it unboxed it was 32 gig total drive C with 24 gig free. While the Win10 upgrade is supposed to offer to preserve your old OS to roll back, I suspect that means you'd be using quite a bit of drive C for the two OS images. And if you tell it to stomp the Win8 image and something goes wrong, welllll.....

    I think 16 gig is the minimum disk requirement for both OS, but that really isn't enough; before the Stream 7 there were a couple of other Win8 tablets that got terrible reviews largely because not enough flash. I suspect upgrading to 10 would make any 32 gig tablet marginal for the same reason.

    It is possible to force a lot of system functions like the camera roll to the SD card in ways that XP didn't allow, but I doubt the OS upgrade can be forced there.
  • It seems to work fine for the Prop Tool.

    Screen is crap, keyboard is crap (still better than my $80 Surface keyboard).

    BUT it can program a Prop just fine.

    This might be the product I was looking for. To teach remotely I have to rely on people to have HDMI monitors for the Pis. With this I can avoid the inevitable future of having to buy 5-10 monitors and hauling them around.

    I can fit 10 of these in my backpack.
  • Thanks for the report, Keith! I agree the keyboard is meh and find it astonishing that you say the expensive Surface keyboard is even worse. Especially since the Microsoft bluetooth keyboard I got for my Stream 7 (which lists for almost as much as the tablet) actually works very well.

    What is your complaint about the screen? 1280 x 768 seems to be plenty of resolution for a 9 inch display, and it's enough most software should have enough real estate to function properly. It's the same resolution as the Stream 7, on which text is painfully small.
  • I don't know how to describe it, but it's almost as though the brightness has horizontal lines that jitter around.

    It's completely good for what I need, but somehow I can see the screen quality isn't great.

    The physical Surface keyboard is probably better, but my wife got that flatter one on accident. I can definitely say I prefer this chinsey Craig keyboard over the Surface one I currently have.
  • Why don't I see Heater & Loopy jumping on the WinTab train...? :)
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • erco,

    Heater bites his tongue off. Erco, you are a bad, bad, boy. :)


  • Heater. wrote: »
    Erco, you are a bad, bad, boy. :)

    All in good fun, lads.

    @LR & Keith: How's the camera quality?

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Poor in my opinion. Grainy, unfocused, updates slow.
    1600 x 900 - 180K
  • Are you running Windows at the screen's native resolution? It never looks good putting something like 1920x1080 on a smaller screen. The tiny font size isn't helping either.
    - Rick
  • Yeah I think that explains it, the screen resolution is supposed to be 1280x768, at which it looks fine. It's true my phone has a 1080p display but Windows apps generally aren't targeted at hiding the pixels beneath the retina threshold.
  • I never changed the screen resolution or picture resolution. I just took a picture without changing any settings.
  • If you grab the item with both hands and flex it gently the screen has many spots where it looks like you're poking the screen with your fingers or holding a magnet near it. That colorful weird smearing effect.

    I don't feel it flex much, but the screen itself reacts.
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