Microsoft Retail Experience

Microsoft STORE This year my holiday took me to San Francisco. Unfortunately I could not quite abandon my tendency to 'go geek' and I decided to visit a Microsoft Store in the Westfield Centre which is in Market Street.

In one sense the store is pretty much a reasonable 'copy' of the Apple retail experience. Open plan, benches, designed to let customers linger and touch working systems and plenty of demos for the kids and the curious.

My original intention was just to look. However they had a HP Stream 7 Windows tablet for sale at $88 including taxes. A Windows tablet is normally pretty useless. Too small to run Windows desktop and too few apps in touch screen mode. This one was running the rather unusual Windows 8.1 with Bing OS.

Windows 8.1 with Bing is pretty much the same as any other Windows 8.1 but the manufacturer, in this case HP, must set Bing as the default search engine to pay $0 for the software licence. As a customer you can change search to Yahoo, Google or whatever but it must be sold default as Bing.

I bought one. In the USA you get the tablet, one year of Office 365 personal and $25.00 of Microsoft credit to buy music or movies. You also get 1TB of cloud storage on Onedrive. Included is 60 minutes of Skype international calling credit each month too.

This makes buying the tablet the cheapest way of getting 1TB of cloud storage for a year. I am not sure if I need a 1TB of cloud storage but the price seemed bonkers, Worst case I could use the tablet as an ereader.

What makes it even more strange is that Windows 8.1 runs pretty well on the 1GB of memory, you can plug in up to 128GB of micro sd storage, two cameras and a reasonable screen.

The best bit is that Microsoft Retail Stores in the USA sell 'signature' PCs. This is a PC without crapware that clogs up and slows down Windows. So it actually is delivered how Microsoft intend Windows to look without all the rubbish manufacturers install.

So I seem to have grabbed a bargain!

HP Stream 7 (UK HP Store)


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