Slate 7 HD
HP is definitely supporting the Android eco-system with a wide range of devices ranging from an affordable 7” to a larger 10” tablet. The Slate 7 is a small tablet that comes bundled with T-Mobile HSPA+ network access data included for 24 months (details TBD) and the same model also works in various places worldwide. Since it is HSPA+ instead of LTE, it is much easier to support worldwide network compatibility.
Slate 10 HD
The HP Slate 10 HD runs on a similar platform. Is has a 1280×800 resolution which is OK, although not really impressive by today’s standards, but again, this is an entry level product, so price has to be taken into consideration… we’ll wait for HP to finalize their pricing policy before casting a final judgment on the value of this device. Inside, you will find a Marvell PXA986 processor, which is similar to what Samsung uses on the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0.
Slate 7 Extreme
If you climb up the product line ladder a bit, you will find the HP Slate 7 Extreme which is powered by the fast NVIDIA Tegra 4 chip and therefore uses the newly announced Tegra Note platform. This means that it comes with the always-on HDR camera capabilities, along with a very fast virtual “Ink” for stylus users.
I handled this device for a short time, and I think that the camera hardware has not been built to match the capabilities of the Tegra 4 photo processing (I’ve seen better demos at Mobile World Congress). However, I was impressed with the virtual ink speed. It is fast enough that it feels more natural to write on the device, and the note apps seem to make good use of the palm detection, so resting your palm while writing is not an issue at all.
Now, the ink demo wasn’t using pressure sensitiveness, but there is a good number of stylus users who would favor responsiveness over graphical beauty of the ink. It’s a fair choice. If you like having a pressure-sensitive Android tablet, the Galaxy Note series remains the best option.
The Slate 7 Extreme also comes with front-speakers, which is pretty much the best possible positioning when it comes to audio entertainment. Clearly, this was built for multimedia apps. Finally, there’s no secret that the Tegra 4 processor will provide excellent gaming abilities, and we have already gone over that in our NVIDIA SHIELD review. Keep in mind that the tablet thermal design is somewhat more restrictive than the SHIELD console design, but the performance ballpark should remain comparable.
Slate 8 Pro
Slate 8 Pro is a slightly different beast: as its name indicates, it has been designed for a more “professional” use, and this means that the 4:3 aspect ratio of the 7.9” display makes it better to read documents when compared to the more “elongated” screens that are typically found on 7” tablets these days. HP thinks that this would be a great choice for those who want to bring their own tablet to work and basically have a more comfortable dual-use (work/personal) experience.
HP Prefers Stock Android
For those who care about details of the OS, HP has confirmed to Ubergizmo that they intend to keep Android as clean as possible for a couple of reasons: first, they really feel that the OS is not good enough “out of the box” that changing the UI doesn’t always add value, and I have to agree with this general idea. Secondly, staying close to the stock android should allow them to roll out OS updates faster.
Although HP didn’t publicly commit to a specific time tablet, it makes sense that most of the heavy lifting would be done by Google and by the hardware vendors. From what I can tell, HP has only added things at the “app level” with its cloud printing application and other services.