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There are a growing number of Windows tablets that sell for under $200. In fact, some cost less then $100. While they’re positioned as low-cost alternatives to Apple iPads or tablets running Android, most of these little tablets have Intel processors and support for running full-fledged Windows desktop apps.

It can be tricky to actually use some of those apps on a 7 or 8 inch touchscreen display… but if you connect a keyboard, mouse, external display, and maybe even an extra hard drive or SSD then you can turn a cheap Windows tablet into a cheap Windows desktop.

That’s even possible on some devices that lack HDMI, Ethernet, or other features you’d normally expect from a desktop or notebook.

hp stream 8 desktop

Chippy from UMPC Portal decided to connect a $180 HP Stream 8 tablet to a USB dock that adds support for Gigabit Etehrnet, an external monitor (through DisplayLink), a keyboard, mouse, storage, and audio.

Here’s a roundup of tech tidbits from around the web. You can keep up on the latest news by following Liliputing on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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11 replies on “Lilbits (1-26-2015): Using tablets as desktops”

  1. Brad you reference an interesting article but Chippy selected the wrong tablet for his demonstration. If you and your readers want to use a tablet as a light duty desktop replacement then purchase a Winbook TW700, TW800, or TW100 series tablet from Microcenter (in my case Winbook TW801). The Winbook TW801 includes a Baytrail-TZ3735D Quad-Core 1.33GHz Intel processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM (not just 1GB like the HP Steam series), 32GB eMMC on board memory, a micro USB OTG/charge port, FULL size USB 3.0 port (yes 3.0), micro SD card slot supporting up to 128GB cards, a micro HDMI port, Bluetooth, and wireless N. The price for the TW801 is $119.99 in store. I have directly connected my TW801 via an INSTEN HDMI-F to Micro HDMI-M Adapter ($1.89) to 24”(720p) and 52” (1080p) Sony LCD TVs, a 32” Samsung LCD TV (1080p), and a Dell 2408WFP monitor (1920×1080 res). In all cases the desktop icons look excellent in mirror or extended screen modes. I have tried numerous USB, wireless, and Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combos and all work perfectly and were instantly recognized by Windows 8.1. I have successfully connected to a 65” Samsung LCD at 1080p resolution wirelessly via WiDi (Miracast) using a Microsoft Miracast Adapter connected to the TV. Winbook does not specifically mention Miracast built in support but it worked great with minimal lag. It is fair to note that the TW801 was not able to connect to my Samsung 32” with Samsung’s built in AllShare WiFi connection (I had the same connection problem with a Dell Venue Pro 8). The Winbook TW801 unfortunately does not have dual-band WiFi support and seems to have difficulty automatically switching to a stronger WiFi signal when one is available. With all the built in ports the Winbook TW801 has exceeded my expectations and is an awesome and inexpensive light duty desktop replacement alternative that can connect to USB and Bluetooth devices, HDMI or Miracast enabled external displays, and be charging all at once. No need to spend $150 on an 8” HP Steam or Dell Venue Pro 8 and another $89 for a Plugable Pro8 dock. The Winbook also includes a licensed version of Windows 8.1 and a 1 year subscription to Office 365. For a truly inexpensive solution check out the Winbook TW700 at $59.99, it has less memory but still has the full complement of ports although the FULL size USB is 2.0.

  2. The biggest problem with tablet as desktop is the non removable battery. I do this sometimes with my plugable dock but destroying the battery to use a tablet as a desktop for regular daily work makes no sense to me over mini boxes.

    I also find the vast majority of ultraportable tablets in 8″ lack oomph in processing and memory department and don’t serve well for real desktop work. Generally speaking i like and have bought the mini boxes but look forward to 64bit chips running 64bit OS carrying 4gb of ram and at least 64gb storage.

    1. My Android tablet works fine after a year of using it as a Desktop being plugged most of the day, battery works okay.

      You can find a decent Android Tablet for $100 and replace it with a new model after a year or two, it’s actually kind of a cheap way to upgrade ur hardware if u do the math. 🙂

  3. I use my Winbook TW700 as a desktop hooked to my HDTV for things like Netflix, Hulu etc with a bluetooth keyboard cover for the Lenovo Yoga as a remote control.

      1. cause it is cool, and i dont want android or windows. the more choices , the better for consumers like me.

  4. I’m definitely moving over to a Windows tablet for laptop/desktop use, maybe the next gen of the 9 inch Transformer, I use some CAD and heavy office so 4GB RAM is a must.

    1. I recommend the Lenovo Thinkpad 10 they were selling for $300 last i saw

  5. I use my Android Tablet as a Desktop for minor tasks like browsing, Youtube, watching movies, and simple games. I plug my Tablet to a Usb Hub using the Usb OTG cable and I have access to a Mouse, Keyboard, Usb external memory and a Gamepad. Also when I need to go outside I just simply unplug the Hub and use it as a normal Tablet.

    About 80% of my tasks I can do them on my Android, but there are like a 20% that I still do on a PC, I do have a shiny new Laptop for Office work and heavy Games, but I think I might switch to Android and Linux completely in a couple of years probably.

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