This branded content was produced by me as part of the HP & Intel #WorkFromHappyPlace project, and I was compensated for taking part in this campaign. All thoughts remain my own – see my code of ethics for more information.
Work. It’s not a word that conjures up tremendous excitement I suspect. I am lucky, admittedly, in that I get to do what I love (for the most part at least!), although if I had my way I’d spend all my time out in the field taking pictures, and letting Jess handle everything else.
Still, that’s not the way the world works. There are photos to edit, e-mails to answer, posts to write, social media to manage… sure, not exactly heavy, but still. It’s got to be done.
The good news is, I can do all those things from wherever I want. All I need is a device to work on, decent internet and a healthy supply of coffee. The location, as long as I have those three essentials, can be pretty much anywhere. As long as it’s not like an office, I’m likely to be happy.
Now, thanks to HP & Intel, I have a bit more choice when it comes to location, since they’ve sent me their HP Stream 8 tablet with Intel Inside®, which has a number of features that let me work from my happy place. Which, for the last few months at least, has been out on the sun deck in an apartment in Silicon Valley, where the weather is quite the opposite of my UK home, and working outside on a regular basis is Actually Something People Can Do.
Let me introduce the device. It’s an 8 inch tablet running Windows 8.1, powered by a quad-core Intel Inside® processor, rocking an HD touch enabled display, 1GB RAM and 32GB of memory (expandable by microSD). It also has all the connectivity you can imagine, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4G. More on the 4G shortly, it’s a winner.
First, the Operating System. Choosing Windows 8 for a tablet is an interesting choice, and comes with the huge advantage that you can run all the programs that you would usually run on any other Windows laptop or desktop, from e-mail clients to Microsoft Office.
There is also the Windows Store, which is full of tablet optimised apps, including Bing! Maps and tablet essentials like Facebook and Twitter. Notably missing, for my social media requirements at least, is Instagram, but I guess you can’t have everything.
So, overall, the tablet is fast as a result of having a solid Intel Inside® processor, is wonderfully portable and has a great screen, and runs pretty much everything. But what about it helps me work from my happy place?
Two things stand out. First, it comes with built-in 4G connectivity. Which is free. Yep, entirely free. You get 200MB of 4G data included every month, for the lifetime of the device. So if you can’t find Wi-Fi, you can still get online, and with the tablet supporting 4G over the T-Mobile network, you get online quickly. Admittedly, my sun-deck has awesome Wi-Fi, but I move my happy place around a lot, and there’s not always Wi-Fi in the places I’m happiest.
If the included 200MB of data isn’t enough for your needs, you can buy passes as and when you need them to top up your data, from $5 for a 1 day 500MB pass, or from $20 for 1GB a month. Cheaper than most paid Wi-Fi locations, that’s for sure.
Given that I normally work in range of Wi-Fi, the 200MB is plenty to be going on with, letting me get online if I really need to send an e-mail and there’s no Wi-Fi. One thing to note – this is US-only, if you’re roaming, you’ll need a different data plan.
The other awesome feature that this tablet comes with is a year’s free subscription to Microsoft Office 365, which includes Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access. That’s $70 of value right there, which given the tablet starts at $179, is kind of impressive. Yep, that’s the price. $179 for a full blown 8-inch tablet that you can run all your programs on.
There are a few other features I should mention before I mention a couple of downsides. First, the Office 365 subscription comes with 60 minutes of Skype calls to landlines in a bunch of countries. Second, you get a terabyte (1000 gigabytes!) of cloud storage through OneDrive to store, well, pretty much anything you want!
Ok, so those were all the upsides. There have to be a few downers, right?
Well, obviously, a touch screen isn’t brilliant as an input device for any kind of long form writing, at least in my experience. If you wanted to write serious essays, you’d likely need some kind of external keyboard. Luckily, the tablet has Bluetooth connectivity, and HP offers a keyboard that doubles as a case, so you can solve that issue quite easily.
Also, whilst the tablet is certainly good enough for the majority of tasks, it’s obviously not a desktop or laptop replacement if you do anything like serious photo or video editing – the 1GB of RAM serving as the bottleneck here I think, with intensive programs like Lightroom unlikely to perform too well.
It is however perfect for editing and reviewing documents with Office 365, watching movies on the go (I fully intend to load this thing up for long flights – that screen is going to be perfect for that task!) and catching up with all my social media and e-mails, not to mention acting as a great portable photo portfolio and note taker from wherever I happen to be happy.
All of which makes me happy. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a sun-deck on which to go watch a movie. I mean, get some work done…