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How to Get Office 365 for Free

Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite works on even low-cost tablets
A girl using a tablet in Jerusalem. (Illustrative photo credit: Serge Attal/Flash90)
A girl using a tablet in Jerusalem. (Illustrative photo credit: Serge Attal/Flash90)

It’s 2015 and Microsoft is cool again! Windows 10 is their best ever operating system and Office 365 is a big hit.

Office 365 starts at $6.99 a month, and includes one version on your pc or laptop, tablet and smartphone. There are even versions of Office 365 for Android and iOS. While I love using Google Docs, it will never fully replace Word – there’s a place for both in our personal lives and careers.

Meet the Windows Tablet

I own a 7 inch Asus Memo Pad. It’s thin and powerful for a $160 device. When I saw my brother’s Windows 10 smartphone, I was blown away. I have Windows 10 on my laptop, but it looked amazing on a smartphone. Those same colorful squares were perfect for a 5 to 6 inch screen.

The next time I was at Best Buy, I couldn’t resist. A big fan of the cheap tablet and laptop trend, I bought the most inexpensive Windows tablet I could get my hands on. Could Windows 10 really work on an $80 Digiland tablet??

The answer is Yes.

It came with Windows 8 and within a week, I had Windows 10 on it. With only 16GB of drive space, I had to add a 32GB memory card. It boots fast, browsing is better than I expected and Windows 10 functions just fine. Realize, this tablet has 1GB of RAM and a 1.33Ghz quad-core processor – well under the industry standard for 2015.

The Windows Tablet Bonus

Here’s where you get your bonus. Almost every Windows tablet comes with a free year of Office 365!! As I was paid up until October, Microsoft added a year, so I have Office 365 for free until October 2016. That’s an $84 value from an $80 tablet. Even if you add the taxes and memory card cost, the tablet and a year of Office 365 cost me about $25.

Better yet, a cheap Windows tablet is a great way to experiment with and learn Windows 10 without messing with my main work laptop. I don’t see myself doing a lot of gaming – Android beats Windows when it comes to mobile gaming. I won’t be doing any writing on an 8 inch device. But it’s perfect for reading while sitting on the couch and in bed. I can keep one tablet in the family room and the other in my bedroom.

Does this mean I will buy a new Windows tablet every year in order to skip buying Office 365? Maybe.

About the Author
Kenny Sahr is a startup marketing executive. His first startup, founded in 1996, was featured in Time Magazine and on 60 Minutes. Kenny moved to Israel from Miami, Florida. In his spare time, he is an avid music collector and traveler.
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