Many had thought the Slate PC from Hewlett Packard would be the next bigger thing to hit the Tablet PC segment after Apple’s iPad and one that can bring down the high flying Apple offering. But if the latest reports are anything to go by, that’s not to be. For a recent hands-on with the yet to be released Slate did not turn out to be too impressive and leaves a lot to be desired.
Everything about the Slate tablet has always been shrouded in mystery with HP never having released any official specs of it, nor are any details like its expected price or when it’s going to hit stores are forthcoming from the company. All that was made available is that the Slate will have a 8.9 inch touchscreen with 1024 x 600 pixel display and powering the tablet will be a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor. It will be running on the latest Windows 7 OS, Microsoft’s latest operating system that’s built largely for touchscreen enabled devices.
But the latest review only proves the Slate to be largely a netbook PC that has little chances of posing any threat to iPad sales that is already going through the roof. Also it seems the teaser videos have been carefully arranged and staged to give it an image of a glorious Tablet PC, which in reality it isn’t. And the single most irritant that can leave you annoyed and frustrated is the long time it takes for the OS to load. Overall performance too tends to be a bit sluggish at times which might be due to an under-powered processor. There is 1GB of RAM doing duty but it isn’t upgradeable, which means there’s no easy way of boosting performance.
Also, the screen and rear of the Slate seems to be made of plastic, which gives the feeling of being dense and tough. Then the Slate, at 0.57-inches, is also a bit thicker than the 0.5-inch thick iPad. This is on top of what is already being talked about of the Slate having a battery life that is just about half that of iPad’s 10+ hours of battery life.
However, there are some areas where the Slate does come out trumps over the iPad. Like it is equipped with two cameras, one at the front for video calling and another, a 3-megapixel camera at the rear. The Slate is also capable of 1080p HD video playback while the iPad is good enough for only 720p videos. The Slate also boasts of Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator to further enhance high definition video playback.
With the HP Slate, you will also be able to can run pretty much anything that’s compatible with Windows 7, which includes Adobe Flash, Microsoft Office, and Google Chrome. This is much unlike what you can do with the Apple iPad. But all of this also comes at the cost of performance with the operating system taking about a minute to boot, though this is something that can be dealt with by putting the Slate on sleep mode instead of shutting it down completely.
The Slate also comes with 2 external ports – a USB and a dock connector. The dock connector further expands connectivity options so that the Slate can ultimately have two additional USB ports, HDMI output, facility for connecting audio jack, and a power outlet.
So what is evident is that the Slate from HP is a good effort though nothing exceptional. It seems to be more of a touchscreen notebook sans a keyboard. And if it indeed sports a price tag of $549 for the 32GB model as is being rumored, it also is costlier than the base version of iPad which retails for $499. So, all of it can boil down to a choice between performance and functionality.
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Sovan Mandal is the senior tablet and tech corespondent for goodereader.com. He brings a international approach to news that is not just applicable to the North American market, but also Asia, India, Europe and others. Sovy brings his own writing flavor to the website and is interested in Science Fiction, Technology and Writing. Any questions, send an email