HP Stream 8 with Windows 10 Review Part 2

 Continued from HP Stream 8 with Windows 10 Review Part 2


Battery, Sleep and Charging

After less then a week of usage with Windows 10, I encountered the issues with sleep, charging and battery life that users of Stream 7 and Stream 8 were complaining about in the HP Support forums. After one night of travails, the issue was partially corrected with a BIOS update.


 


The Stream 8 with Windows 10 suffers serious power, sleep and battery issues. Consider users warned.


Note: The Sleep problem is persistent even with the BIOS update and correct HP drivers and has to do with Windows 10's design as both a desktop/laptop and tablet operating system. The final workaround I'm using at the moment is disabling Sleep globally except when pressing the power button and powering down the tablet after each use. For more details on resolving the battery charging and Windows 10 startup issue with Stream 8, refer to the article Tablet shuts down on Windows startup/Battery won't charge (HP Stream 8).

There are many horror stories in the forums regarding using the Sleep option on the HP Stream 8. However, even if it didn't cause any further issues with the tablet, I recommend that users of the Stream 8 treat the tablet as a laptop and power off the device after use. Sleep mode doesn't save users much battery and the brief boot up and log in process of Windows 10 is a lesser evil than having to plug the device immediately after unlocking the screen.

Powering down is admittedly an unusual practice on tablets and would probably make iOS and Android users grimace in displeasure but it's almost unavoidable with the Stream 8.

 

Lower the brightness settings, use Battery saver and power down the tablet after use if you want your Stream 8 to continue working properly.


Hardware functionality checklist

Here are some observations regarding using the HP Stream 8:

1. Audio and speakers - Installing the audio drivers from HP is a must. The speakers and microphone are more than adequate for Skype and watching video using VLC. On the downside, if you hold the tablet horizontally with one hand on either side of the tablet, your hand will inevitably clamp down and muffle audio coming from the speakers at the bottom-side of the tablet.
 

2. micro SIM - Windows 10 immediately detected and worked perfectly with the China Mobile data SIM although data from the network was too slow to test Internet Sharing.

3. Display - As with audio, display drivers from HP are required to get the best from the Stream 8's modest display. In some ways, the 8" screen makes up for the somewhat soft images. However, I must admit images seemed sharper on my older 7" ASUS MemoPad HD7. Reading comic books, in particular, was better in some ways on the MemoPad HD7. Even the low-end Sony Xperia C3 had a 5.5" screen that was sharper and brighter than the Stream 8. Don't even bother comparing the Stream 8 to any Samsung Galaxy Tab out in the market.

4. Touch screen - The touch screen on the HP Stream 8 was awful out-of-the box and even worst after upgrading to Windows 10. Thankfully, the full screen Start screen user experience gets better after you install the touch drivers HP provides via the HP Support Assistant application.

If you've been using iOS, Android or even Windows Phone 8.1 for a few years, you will find tapping around the Windows desktop on the Stream 8 a hugely unsatisfying experience. Even dragging Start items is a huge chore. Most Windows apps in Tablet mode try to make the experience more pleasant but there are still niggles such as swiping from the top of the app downwards to close a full-screen app (it takes practice).
 

The display on the Stream 8 isn't bad for reading comic books or watching videos. However, the Windows 10 desktop just works better on big screens and the Stream 8's 8" screen just doesn't compensate for the horrible touch screen. Shown on the screen capture are the Movies & TV app playing Niea Under 7 and the ComicsPlusPlus app displaying a Silver Surfer comic book from the 90s featuring Thanos and Thor.


To give you an idea of how bad the touch screen is, the Wacom Stylus Solo, which worked well on the Xperia C3, iPad 2 and even the MemoPad HD7, was virtually useless on the Stream 8. It didn't matter if you were using the Fresh Paint app or just navigating the Start Screen. The touch screen repetitively ignored the Stylus Solo.

Note: The unresponsive Start screen is separate from the some of the issues that users might complain which are related to Windows 10. The Charm bar from Windows 8 was replaced with the Action Center, which appears when you swipe from the right. Unfortunately, Action Center appears whether you're in VLC, Word or any other application - users will have to get used to swiping left and right from the middle of the screen (which can be difficult in Portrait view).

 

You will constantly be pulling the Action Center out by mistake on the Stream 8.


5. micro SD - I haven't experienced any issues with the SanDisk 32GB micro SD card I inserted, though I wish I could use a 64GB micro SD card instead. Windows 10 occupies most of the 32GB on the internal memory. Even if you delete the preserved Windows 8 from the internal storage (which Windows 10 will do automatically for you after a month), you'll be left with roughly only 3 or 4GB of internal storage.

6. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - The Wi-Fi card on the Stream 8 is unremarkable. Installing the HP Bluetooth drivers are crucial particularly if you plan to use the Stream 8 in desktop mode along with mice or a Bluetooth keyboard like the Logitech K380. Unfortunately, Windows 10 doesn't address some of the issues with Bluetooth in Windows. You can't disable Bluetooth from the System Tray. If you want to conserve battery, disable the Bluetooth adapter from the classic Control Panel Bluetooth Settings.

Continued in HP Stream 8 with Windows 10 Review Part 3

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