Thee DocKtor's Blog

All About Docks

How To Turn A (Was $99) now $79 Tablet Into A Workstation!

Okay, not really $99 in total, but the HP Stream 7 at $99 with Office 365 is an incredible deal. Indeed, this little PC, and it is a real PC, runs Windows 8.1, not Windows RT, or like an iPad, or like a Chromebook. No; this is a PC in a tablet’s body.

HP Stream 7

HP Stream7

Key Advantages of the HP Stream 7

  • You can take it out of the office for many applications that run on hand held tablets i.e. an insurance adjuster reviewing an automobile accident claim can use it to take pictures and fill out the spreadsheet/form the company uses to provide and then cut a check like they might do today on an iPad.
  • You can go home and use it for infotainment applications like using Miracast/WiDi to watch Netflix on their large format HDTV, you cannot on an iPad. All along it is very adequate for checking email, social networking, reading a book, and things the iPad is good at today.
  • In summary, the Stream 7 is the form factor that enables displacing the iPad for many usages and applications but also can be docked to be a work machine. This is a real working PC, for work or home, at less than a Chromebook price.

How I Did It

Step 1 – Get a Universal Port Replicating Dock from Targus. While I prefer the ACP71, the ACP076 is adequate and Targus even has a bundle deal for it with a keyboard and mouse, BUS0375 for $149.99.

0007261_universal-workstation-bundle_180

Targus BUS0375 Universal Port Replicating Dock, Keyboard, and Mouse

Step 2 – I connected an external monitor to the dock using the DVI-D, but Targus also provides a DVI-I to VGA converter i.e. for conference rooms using projectors with VGA only. I suggest an HP W2371d 1920×1080 23-inch diagonal LED backlit monitor, but you can use any vendor’s monitor, yes, even though the Stream 7 resolution is 1280×800 by itself. I leave the Stream’s native monitor on. I mean, why not use it as a second monitor. And by the way, it supports WiDi so theoretically a third monitor could be used this way.

Back on topic…the Universal Docking Station is sometimes called Port Replicating because while it connects to the PC USB port, the Stream 7 USB2.0 OTG port in this case, it provides additional USB ports. The ACP076 dock has three USB 3.0 ports; one of them is a charging port. Now, that being said, the USB3.0 ports can only run at USB2.0 speed when connected, as with this Stream 7 to a USB2.0 port. I connect the HP Stream 7 to the Targus ACP076 using a cable that enables simultaneously charging over the micro USB while implementing a USB for connecting data. Therefore one can connect the micro-USB to a Targus Universal Docking Station (any model) charging port and use the data port to connect to the same dock USB UP port to use the docking station features.

Dell Data and Charging Cable

Micro USB B Male to USB A Female Cable Data and USB B Female Power Cable

Step 3 – Use the ACP076 USB ports to connect the external keyboard and mouse from the bundle BUS0375. I like the full size wired mouse and keyboard to be free of throwing batteries away, and because I have larger hands and small eyes. Anyway, you can connect a dongle to the ACP076 to use wireless devices. The built in Stream 7 cameras are adequate for most applications (Skype, Lync, GoToMeeting, etc.) External storage and ODD can be connected through the dock to the PC here too. Anyway, I didn’t run out of USB ports and the dock does support adding a USB hub if you do.

Because the Stream 7’s port is USB2.0, the dock’s GbE port will not support GbE rate file transfers. USB 2.0 doesn’t run fast enough to support GbE, but FE is more than adequate for the bulk of applications running on/over the LAN/Internet. Besides, there are many companies running faster than tens of megabits over the web. I also connected up external stereo speakers to the dock so that I could listen to video streams and music in the cloud. Also, I had no problem streaming Netflix through the dock to the external monitor at full resolution. This could because the DisplayLink application running on the Stream 7 doesn’t use much of the Atom CPU to adaptively encode the video over the USB link. Iroincally, DisplayLink does recommend having more memory and a higher clocking CPU than what the Stream 7 offers, but hey it worked for me albeit not as well as it does on my Ultrabook.

This is my setup for being ultra-productive at work. I take the Stream7 home at night to check my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, not that I would at work where I use it for LinkedIn. At home, it is also great for catching up on my favorite internet TV. It also comes in handy for checking my Outlook eMail, task list, and calendar while not at the office.   But truth in advertising, I am a geek and so I have a Targus Universal Port Replicating Dock at home too. I connect the Stream 7 to it and viola, I have access to any application my $1500+ ultra-book does too.

How You Can Do It

The combination of a PC and a Universal Port Replicating Dock greatly enhances productivity. It is great to have your email open on one screen while you are editing a spreadsheet on another. Don’t expect a raise from your boss but you can build or suggest this class workstation for use at your company with the following components:

  1. $99 HP Stream 7 http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/HP-Stream-7-Signature-Edition-Tablet/productID.308781500?Icid=Homepage_Hero_1_HP7_111014
  2. $149 Targus USB3.0 Universal Docking Station, Mouse and Keyboard http://business.targus.com/universal-workstation-bundle-2
  3. $119 HP W2371d 23-Inch 1920×1080 Monitor, http://store.hp.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/us/en/pdp/accessories-88342–1/hp-w2371d-23-inch-diagonal-led-backlit-monitor
  4. $20 Micro USB Dongle for Data and Charging http://accessories.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=470-ABES
  5. $12 HP Compact Speakers http://store.hp.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/us/en/pdp/accessories-88342–1/hp-compact-20-speakers-p-br387aa-aba–1

That is $399 bucks as shown at full retail for one workstation. While that is a great deal, I am absolutely sure that volume pricing and/or B2B pricing is much lower, closer to a smoking deal!

Feel free to vary the recipe for your tastes. In example, I like the Targus Universal Port Replicating Dock model ACP71 . You can use higher end monitors too, all the way up to 2048×1152 each; a more functional keyboard and mouse, and you can add an external HDD and ODD. Any USB device can be connected to the universal dock, that is, the “U” in USB also stands for “universal” as in Universal Port Replicating Dock. BTW, you can use a higher end Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC, ultra-book, tablet, or even a MacBook running OSX.

Contact Targus for more information at +714-675-5555.

 

Categories: Did You Know, Usage, White Paper

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

22 replies

  1. This is a great way to utilize a small desk in your home. I like how you can also hook up your other laptops to it to accommodate multiple users…i.e the wife and child.

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    • I purchased the $20 data/charging dongle from Dell based on this post, but the charging part doesn’t want to work with my HP Stream 7. Am I missing something? Does the charging feature work on yours, or do you just use it for the data? If that’s the case, then you can get a micro USB to full USB for a couple of dollars. Would love to hear that others got the data *and* charging feature to work, and how they did it.

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    • I’m thinking that at this point Micro USB B Male to USB A Female Cable Data and USB B Female Power Cable from Dell does in fact charge my HP Stream 7, albeit very slowly. When I inserted the power cable from the wall socket to the micro USB port on the Dell cable my HP Stream 7 did not show the power icon. However, Windows found the device, evidence by the Windows chimes when I plugged it in. It has been at 95% power for over an hour now. This leads me to believe that it’s either charging very slowly, or enough power is routed through the Data/Power cable to keep the battery from further discharge.

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      • Thanks Michael. Do you mind checking back in in a couple of days and let us know if you ever had the charged % go down when using the Dell dongle? Thanks!

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  2. I really like your article. How did you get the Dell cable you mentioned to work with the Stream. I tried your setup and was unable to get the Stream to get power through that cable. Let me know. Thanks!

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  3. Hello, have you confirmed that the Dell Data and Charging cable actually works with the HP Stream 7? At least one other report indicates that it doesn’t seem to work.

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  4. I just purchased one of those Dell data/charging cables, based on another review. I just found this blog post, read the comments, and now i’m crossing my fingers that it works with the HP Stream 7. For those having issues, make sure you are powering this dongle with the actual HP power brick and USB OTG cable that came with your Stream 7. I noticed that multiple regular non-OTG usb cables won’t provide enough power (or any) to charge the tablet while operating. I’m interested in hearing back on whether his tablet is staying charged or not as well…

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  5. All, I did not think the Dell Data cable was working either, so I installed BatteryBar v3.6.5. It will give you a little more information about what is going on with your battery. It indicates that the battery is charging even though the Windows battery icon does not. I have confirmed that it does charge; however, it is a slow charge as others have indicated.

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  6. How are you getting the video out from the Stream 7? I have not seen anywhere that it has video out, other than the wireless stuff..

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    • Jacob, That is what the Targus docking stations does. That is, the software puts the video over USB so that the dock can render it on external videos. An external video port is not needed on the host PC/MacBook, including the Stream 7 when used with a Targus Universal Docking Station.

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  7. Is it possible to forgo the monitor and just display on my TV?

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  8. This dock looks like a slightly cheaper option and seems to have all the same functionality:
    http://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Charging-Nextbook-Simultaneously-Extended/dp/B00OVDE0GC
    Plugable Pro8 Charging and USB Docking Station for Tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, Lenovo Miix 2 8″, HP Stream 7, and Nextbook 8 Simultaneously Charges and Adds Extended Display Output, 3.5mm Audio In/Out, 10/100 Ethernet, and 4 USB Ports

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    • Indeed, however, the Targus Solution is Universal, i.e. can power and charge today’s laptops. The Targus Universal Docking Stations also have much higher performance i.e. GbE and functionality i.e. MacBook OSX compatibility.

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  9. I came across this advice http://www.moty22.co.uk/tablet.php how to make a cable that allows to charge the tablet while using the USB, I tried it it works.

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Trackbacks

  1. HP Stream 7 tablet running ecuflash & evoscan - Page 2 - evolutionm.net
  2. Android Docking While Charging the Battery | Targus Blog

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