HP Slate 7 Review

Two years after the debacle of webOS, HP's jumping back into tablets with the Android-powered Slate 7. Priced at just $169.99, just how good can it be?

A titan of Silicon Valley, HP has seen more than its fair share of struggles over the past few years. The company long has grappled with the tablet formula, though often at the mercy of whatever Microsoft pushed down from Redmond. They've launched several Windows XP and Windows 7 convertible tablets, and most recently launched a pair of Windows 8-powered tablets.

But they've all been more PC than mobile device. The most spectacular of HP's consumer failings in recent years came in the form of a mobile-derived tablet: the webOS-powered HP TouchPad. Unveiled in February 2011 and launched in July of the same year, the TouchPad was generally well-received by the technology press but failed to catch on with consumers. Of course, one could easily argue that given its cancelation 49 days after launch it didn't have a chance to catch on. But all that is in the past, and after two years of turmoil, HP's dipping its toes back into the tablet waters.

Where the TouchPad ran webOS 3.0, had a 9.7-inch screen, and carried a $499.99 price tag at launch, HP's newest tablet offering tacks in a different direction. It's the HP Slate 7; it runs Android 4.1.1 on a 7-inch screen, and it's priced at an affordable $169.99. Unlike the Google-financed Asus Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets, HP doesn't have a software ecosystem to be supported by selling the Slate 7 at or below break-even. Even so, it looks like it should be competitively spec'd for its price bracket - but how does it really measure up?

The Good

The Slate 7 ships with nearly "stock" Android 4.1.1 and offers (in theory) better sound quality thanks to Beats Audio integration. Additionally, the tablet is well put together, with a metal band around the edges and a nice soft-touch backing.

The Bad

But for all the goodness that comes with practically unadulterated Android, the tablet is a massive letdown. The screen is just awful. And so are the speakers. And the cameras. And despite internals that should compare favorably to older tablets like the Nexus 7, the Slate 7 just feels so much slower.

Conclusion

At $169.99, the HP Slate 7 seems like it could be a good deal near the bottom of the Android tablet scene. But as decent as the implementation of vanilla Android coupled with Beats Audio should be, the experience is compromised from the start an experience that's difficult to rate as high as even lackluster. There are other options in the inexpensive 7-inch Android tablet market, and you'd be well advised to consider floating your money towards them. There's a difference between inexpensive and cheap, and the HP Slate 7 falls on the wrong side of that divide.

Inside this review

More info

HP Slate 7 Hardware

HP Slate 7

For just $169.99, the HP Slate 7 comes with a decent set of specs. It starts with a dual-core 1.6GHz ARM cortex A9 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. Thankfully, that paltry storage can be augmented by the addition of a microSD card into a slot on the tablet's top, though you'll be limited to 32GB for that card. The front is dominated by a 1024x600 screen, but it's easily one of the worst we've seen (at least since the last 1024x600 tablet we looked at) with poor viewing angles and a screwy aspect ratio (much more on that later). It's all wrapped in a case that seems more reminiscent of an HP laptop than a modern tablet, though that might be what HP's going for here.

Build quality

The box that the Slate 7 comes in might take you by surprised. Bucking the trend towards more compact packaging, the Slate 7's box is mere millimeters smaller than the box for the old 9.7-inch TouchPad. The outside of the box is nice enough with a clean design and a relative dearth of specs and logos, but as soon as you open the lid the experience quickly veers away from the premium look of the box.

The tablet is wrapped in a papery mesh fabric sleeve and nestled in a nude cardboard tray. Under that is a large space for a few pages of mandatory advisories and a quick-start guide. Filling up empty space on the right side is a bulky and cheap-feeling AC-to-USB adapter divided into a USB block and the AC plug (as if to imply that there are swappable international plugs) and a short Micro USB cable. Normally we don't really cover packaging here, but the size of this box and the empty space inside seems to imply that the Slate 7 might be the first in a series of Android tablets from HP, with plans for larger screens that would make better use of the space inside this box. Though we have to wonder how much money would be saved by using the same box (not to mention the consumer confusion from a 7-inch and 10-inch tablet coming in the same size box).

HP Slate 7 packaging

Lifting the Slate 7 out of its cardboard tray, we were surprised by its heft. The Slate 7 is a hair thicker than the Nexus 7 and weighs a smidge over an ounce more (13.05 oz vs. 12 oz), but somehow it feels much heavier than that (at least until you compare each one flat in both hands). The apparent difference comes down the the build - where the Nexus 7 is nicely tapered and rounded right from the edge of the display, the Slate 7 has a squared-off lip around the screen that drops vertically for about a quarter of an inch before angling back to a slightly-rounded backside.

The design feels and looks more like a cheap laptop than a tablet. At least the Slate 7's back plate is coated in a nice soft-touch material, and it comes in both red and gray (though the front will continue to be black glass and the sides a ring of matte-finish metal regardless of the back color you choose). Those square sides also give the Slate 7 a thick appearance, which certainly isn't going to help its shelf appeal when its set up next to an iPad Mini or Nexus 7.

HP Slate 7 edge-on

Giving the tablet a tour, the front is as so many tablets are these days: a sheet of glass over a screen and rimmed in a black bezel (here about half an inch on the sides and three-quarters on the top and bottom). A lone VGA camera sits at the top center of the screen. The screen itself is a 1024x600 affair. It's close to 16:9 in landscape, though a little taller than the favored widescreen cinema format. To be accurate, it's 16:9.375. But we'll touch more on this screen later on in the review. The black glass of the screen is ringed by a thin black plastic band that both protects and holds in this front panel.

HP Slate 7

The top of the Slate 7 plays host to a 3.5mm headphone jack, which in accordance with its Beats Audio designation is physically isolated from the rest of the tablet's internals, as well as the single pinhole microphone, an exposed microSD card slot, and a rectangular power button. There's a silk-screened power symbol next to the requisite button, but oddly HP opted not to put one next to the microSD slot, which is far more ambivalent in appearance than the power button. Contrary to the usual unibody-style design of modern tablets, the Slate 7 also sports a pair of small Torx screws holding down the discrete metal top plate, and presumably also holding together most of the rest of the tablet. The ends of the metal ring that wraps around the other three sides actually curve in slightly at the top, one of the few fit-and-finish issues we've had with the Slate 7.

HP Slate 7 top

The right side holds a one-piece volume rocker with silk screened + and - icons. The rocker and the power button both have a good feel to them, depressing distinctly with our pushes but not making noticeable noise in the process. Towards the bottom of the left side one finds the product number and serial number, again silkscreened onto the metal band along with a tiny scannable code of unclear purpose. Their location and size here on the metal band makes us think more of an internal prototype than a production device.

HP Slate 7 volume rocker HP Slate 7 numbers

The bottom of the Slate 7 is punctuated by three openings. In the center is a Micro USB port (inverted). It is flanked by a pair of slots that comprise the extent of the openings for the Slate 7's speakers. A fine mesh sits between the outside world and the speakers inside, which are frankly of just poor quality.

HP Slate 7 bottom

The back of our Slate 7 is a soft touch medium gray. It's a welcome change of pace compared to the typical raw metal or slick plastic that so many other manufacturers build their tablets out of these days. Under that soft coating is plastic, which flexes in the middle of the back with barely a push. A reflective silver HP logo sits towards the top of the back, ready to receive a fine brush coating from real world use. At the top right (with the screen facing towards you) on the back is the Slate 7's rear-facing camera. It's a 3 megapixel unit and is set down inside a raised ring - something like a crater - on the sloped edges of the back. Moved half an inch towards the center of the tablet and all that would have been required would be a simple circular hole instead of a raised protective ring, but we're not the hardware designers here.

HP Slate 7 bacl

Display

While the build quality of the HP Slate 7 seems decent for its pricing, the same cannot be said for the screen. At 1024x600, the Slate 7's screen is one of the lowest resolution screens we've ever reviewed on a tablet. In fact, it's the same resolution as the original Samsung Galaxy Tab… from 2010. The Slate 7's screen is decently bright, but the contrast it provides is so poor that ramping up the brightness results in blacks become a noticeable gray. On the subject of brightness, the Slate 7 does not have an ambient illumination sensor, so there's no automatic brightness control available. At lower brightness levels the screen exhibits a visible and distracting flicker.

The viewing angles on the Slate 7 are also poor, with colors starting to wash out the instant you get more than a few degrees off center. Supposedly the LCD display here comes with an IPS-based tech called "Fringe Field Switching" that's meant to help viewing angles, but we struggled to find the benefits in real world use.

HP Slate 7 viewing angle

Text on the Slate 7 is generally rendered as well as it could be for the low resolution. By throwing Android 4.1 onto the tablet with minimal alterations, in many places the out-of-the-box text size is too small to be rendered cleanly. This is especially evident in the launcher (again, it's stock Android 4.1 here), where the labels on app icons are inscrutably tiny and pixely. It might be our poor eyesight here, but things were markedly improved by ticking off the 'Large text' option under Accessibility in Settings. Of course, that means that then all your text (or at least in apps that obey the large text accessibility command) is going to be bigger.

The poor quality of the LCD means it's also susceptible to burn-in. The first signs of this showed during the initial set-up, when the Slate 7 displayed the on-screen keyboard for account log-in, and when it was dismissed the ghost of it remained for several seconds on the medium gray background while our log-in was processed. After getting everything set-up we hopped online to test if what we had seen was an anomaly, and sure enough after trying out a set of web-based burn-in tests we were repeatedly greeted by the ghosts of burn-in. Considering the static aspects of the Android interface, namely the top bar with your notifications and status icons, having burn-in kick in after just a few minutes doesn't bode well for the long-term viability of the display.

HP Slate 7 burn-in test  HP Slate 7 burn-in results

But low resolution, poor contrast, narrow viewing angles, burn-in, and no auto brightness are far from the worst sins committed by the HP Slate 7's display. No, the Slate 7 commits a sin so unforgivable with its display that we simply can't recommend anybody purchase it: the pixel grid isn't square.

The Slate 7's display is a 7-inch number that is 600 pixels wide and 1024 pixels tall, a ratio of 1:7.066. But the actual real-world dimensions of the Slate 7's display are 4.4375" (112.7 mm) wide and 6.0625" (154 mm) tall, giving an aspect ratio of 1:7.636.

What this works out to is a screen that's been stretched by 4% along the vertical axis. Instead of filling the space with more pixels (or, you know, just making the device fit the 5.86" inch-tall screen that the 4.4375" width would dictate at that resolution), the screen seems to have been stretched to fit the available space. Given the flat 'Holo' nature of the Android 4.1 user interface, the stretched pixels of the Slate 7 screen immediately become obvious when one looks at a circle or square or other shape that should have predictable or constant ratios.

HP Slate 7 burn-in test aspect ratio

When the Slate 7 is held vertically, everything is 4% taller than it should be, and when in landscape it's all 4% wider than it should be. While 4% might not seem like a huge deal, it means that everything displayed on the Slate 7 isn't true to reality. Photos are skewed, text is stretched, and circles are ovals. It stood out to us from the instant we booted the Slate 7 - HP's circular logo was noticeably stretched taller in its boot animation. While testing the Slate 7 we tried to ignore it, swore that it must be our eyes playing tricks on us (even if they never had with the Nexus 7 or any other device we've tested), but in the end we found ourselves busting out a ruler to measure the display and on-screen elements. Sure enough, everything was distorted.

Mock-up of what the HP Slate 7's screen displays

This is a tablet being produced in 2013 by a company that comes to us with decades and decades of experience in consumer electronics. We can forgive poor contrast ratios and viewing angles as simply the compromises one has to make in order to buy a tablet for as little as the Slate 7 costs. We can deal with inaccurate color and dim backlights. But to ship a tablet with a display so poorly thought out as to have pixels that aren't arranged in a square grid, well, that's not something we can forgive. You might think it unimportant, but know that you're not going to want to use the Slate 7 to show off any photos from Google Plus or Facebook, as they're going to make faces like yours and your friends' look all fat. Yeah, we thought you wouldn't like that.

For $169.99 we expected the Slate 7 to not have a fantastic display. But we didn't expect that we would be scraping the bottom of the discount reject barrel with this display. It's just plain awful.

HP Slate 7 and Asus Nexus 7

Radios and battery life

The Slate 7 has a handful of sensors and radios available to customers. There's an accelerometer, and that's all you're getting in the form of sensors. Radio-wise you get two: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1. No GPS, no Bluetooth 4.0 or even 3.0. Both radios performed up to the standards we expect in this day and age, with nothing standing out about their performance. Which is all well and good. The accelerometer also works as expected, rotating the tablet from landscape to portrait and coming into play in a handful of games.

The Slate 7 packs a 3500 mAh lithium polymer battery into its chunky case, which HP quotes as good for five hours of video playback. We saw no reason to doubt that number - watching some videos on YouTube and playing some light games like Fruit Ninja for two hours lopped off about half our battery life. Of course, your results will vary based on your use - just reading stuff off the web won't kill the battery as quickly as streaming music from Play Music while blasting through racing circuits in the latest installment of Need for Speed. Just know that if you plan on using the Slate 7 all day, the battery simply isn't going to make it.

Beats Audio

While HTC has secured the rights for Beats Audio on smartphones, HP has for several years held the rights to Beats Audio enhancements for laptops. By some quirk of the contract, that means that HP also holds the rights to Beats Audio for tablets. The HP TouchPad two years ago sported Beats Audio integration and a pair of the best speakers we've ever heard from a tablet, even today. The gist of Beats Audio is a special bit of audio processing that ends with both volume and bass getting boosted (there are people that like that, and you might be one of them, though we tend to prefer more true-to-life audio output) and the headphone jack being electronically isolated from the rest of the system.

The Slate 7 carries on the tradition of Beats Audio integration, but unlike the TouchPad, it's hardly noticeable. The speakers on the Slate 7 are no better than the Nexus 7's. And yes, that is plural - the Slate 7 does have two speakers. But since they're separated by less than two inches on the bottom of the tablet, there's absolutely no discernible stereo separation between the two drivers.

HP Slate 7 Beats Audio

The 3.5mm audio jack on the top of the Slate 7 is supposed to be where the real Beats Audio magic happens. After all, it's got a special equalization going for it, and it shouldn't have any static or distortion induced by interfering electronics (because that's suuuuuch a problem with other smartphones and tablets). But, in our testing with everything from basic headphones to home theater speakers, the only noticeable difference from the Slate 7 to the other Android tablets out there was a tiny bit of a boost to the bass ranges in music and videos. Supposedly you get the best benefit from pairing the Slate 7 up with a set of Beats Audio headphones, but we're not going to spend the hundred-plus dollars for just earbuds with even more trumped up bass, let alone the $200 or more that a pair of full-on Beats headphones will cost you. If you're listening to music with a pair of headphones that cost more than the device that's outputting said music, you might be doing something wrong.

Thankfully, Beats on the Slate 7 is easy enough to turn off. In one of the handful of modifications HP's made to Android 4.1 on the Slate 7, a Beats Audio page has been added to Settings under Device (nestled between Sound and Display). It gives you the option to toggle Beats Audio on or off, as well as select your style of headphones: Beats On-Ear, Beats In-Ear, or Beats Passive. Being the purists that we are, we'd say "Turn it off!", but honestly you're not likely to notice a difference. For the one logo other than their own that HP put on the front of the box for the Slate 7 and the tablet itself, Beats here turns out to be a massive letdown.

HP Slate 7

HP Slate 7 specs

  • Android 4.1.1
  • 7-inch 1024x600 LCD display
  • Dual-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9
  • 1 GB DDR3 RAM
  • microSD slot
  • 8GB internal storage
  • 3MP rear camera
  • VGA front camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR
  • Micro USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio port with Beats Audio
  • Accelerometer
  • 3500 mAh lithium polymer battery
  • 7.76 inches (197.1mm) x 4.6 inches (116.07mm) x 0.42 inches (10.66 mm)
  • 13.05 oz (369.96 g)

HP Slate 7 Software

Launcher and interface

HP Slate 7 launcher

When we say that Android 4.1.1 on the Slate 7 is almost entirely unadulterated Android 4.1.1, we mean it. There's no skinning of the launcher, the on-screen navigation buttons are just as they are from Google, and the app launcher works just as it would on a Nexus device.

HP's made so few modifications to Android for the Slate 7 that we can count them on one hand. There's (1) the Beats Audio control panel, (2) switching to an annoying (but still easily-disabled) typewriter-derived set of sounds for the keyboard, (3) a default background image of a hot air balloon over a body of water in front of a setting sun with lens flare (oh, the poor Photoshopping at work here), and (4), well, that's it.

HP took basic hardware and threw Android 4.1.1 on it with minimal changes. Why they had to change the keyboard sounds to something so grating is beyond us. Guess HP had to put their mark on this one way or another. We won't say anything about what using the sound of an extinct technology like a typewriter says about HP.

Bundled apps

HP Slate 7 ePrint app

Like the light modifications to Android itself (and if we're being honest, a default background hardly counts as one), HP's taking it easy the bundled apps. If we discount the standard set of Google apps (Gmail, Calendar, Chrome, Play, etc), there's just one: HP ePrint. If you happen to have a networked HP printer or one that supports HP ePrint, then you're in business for wireless printing. If you don't, then you'll have to figure out how to put words and images onto dead trees like every other schmuck.

Performance and usability

With a full gigabyte of RAM and two 1.6GHz Cortex A9 processing cores rocking away between the awful screen and plastic back and pushing Android that's not carrying the overhead that comes with a custom skinning job, you might think the HP Slate 7 would rock right along. If you thought that, then we've got bad news for you, for it most certainly does not. The no-name processor in the Slate 7 can't seem to keep up with the demands of Android 4.1.1. Even with the high frame rates of Project Butter working behind the scenes, the Slate 7 randomly stutters on even simple things like rotating while in the launcher.

While the 1GB of RAM in the Nexus 7 seems to usually be up to the task of doing what needs to be done, somehow that same RAM on the Slate 7 doesn't seem to be enough. Apps constantly need to reload when switching, even if you've only been gone for a short time. Lag is evident in games as simple as Fruit Ninja, and while more intensive ventures like Need For Speed were functional, playability suffered horribly as soon as too much started to happen on the screen. The same happened when trying to play back video - it was watchable whether from YouTube or locally loaded, but as soon as things got crazy on the screen (as it happens to do in the new Man of Steel trailer), visible stuttering reared its jaggy head.

HP Slate 7 task switcher

For as good as the specs seem to be on paper for how little the Slate 7 costs, those savings come at the cost of actual performance. The Slate 7 just isn't up to the task of anything beyond basic gaming, web browsing, and media playback.

We also encountered a handful of odd visual artifacts just in using the Slate 7 as we normally would. The Gallery app exhibited a weird flicker along the top of the screen whenever we tapped to bring back the controls. But more grating was the app switcher, which vertically squished the app previews of must every app as if they're overcompensating for the inexcusably-stretched screen.

HP Slate 7 Cameras

Rear camera

HP Slate 7 rear camera

The HP Slate 7 has two cameras, which is one area where it stands above the Nexus 7. The rear-facing camera is a 3 megapixel shooter with a decent field of view. As much as we have low expectations for tablet cameras, when they're affixed to tablets as cheap as the Slate 7, our expectations are even lower. HP did nothing in their sensor selection for the Slate 7 to change our minds.

The 3MP camera on the back is of expectedly poor quality, though it surprised us in even lacking autofocus. The images it produces are grainy, blurry, low contrast, and dim. The only way we'd use it is if it were the only camera you had on you, and chances are you've got a better camera in your smartphone, especially if it was made any time in the last four years.

HP Slate 7 rear camera HP Slate 7 rear camera HP Slate 7 rear camera

Front camera

HP Slate 7 front camera

For all the disappointment of the rear camera, the tiny front camera is even worse. The field of view is standard, though the VGA - that's 640x480 - resolution is… well, it just is what it is. It'll do in a pinch for a Skype or Google Talk video chat, but it certainly isn't going to look good. We wouldn't use it for anything other than that - it's not even good enough for checking if you've got something stuck in your teeth.

HP Slate 7 front camera

The bottom line

For $169.99, the HP Slate 7 would appear to offer a great value in the smaller Android tablet space. At $30 less than the older Nexus 7, on paper the Slate 7 looks like it's not a bad deal. It doesn't have GPS, is a tad heavier and bulkier, has a lower resolution screen, and runs an older version of Android, but everything else technically should be able to keep pace with the small Nexus tablet.

The reality is that the HP Slate 7 is disappointing in practically every manner. The build quality is good, but the design feels old and does nothing to minimize its bulk. It has Beats Audio, but it comes across as more of a gimmick intended to be used with headphones that cost more than the tablet itself. The cameras are a joke, the battery life is mediocre, and the performance is perplexingly glitchy.

HP Slate 7

Most frustrating is the screen. That HP - a company with more consumer electronics expertise than just about every other corporation on the planet - would dare to release a tablet with a display as appallingly poor as that on the Slate 7 is not a good sign. Four years ago, late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs said in reference to the then ongoing netbook craze, "We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk, and our DNA won't let us ship that."

HP was one of many companies flooding Best Buy and Circuit City and Wal-Mart with junk netbooks at that time. What they didn't see coming was the tablet revolution, which in just a few short years completely demolished the netbook market. HP was caught flat-footed by tablets, and botched the purchase and roll-out of Palm and webOS through 2010 and 2011. The company has been a financial and organizational disaster ever since, having lost the faith of investors, partners, customers, and even its own employees.

HP Slate 7 and HP TouchPad

Their current CEO - former eBay chief Meg Whitman - has made it clear that mobile will play a role in HP's consumer products future. But if the Slate 7 is how HP plans to express that future, they'd be better off stepping away from the abyss and just leaving the consumer hardware space. It's a harsh judgement, but it's the reality of the situation HP finds itself in. The company cannot sustain itself on cheap low-quality Android tablets.

When I was growing up, my grandparents owned a chain of musical instrument stores. They believed in customer service, quality product, and good pricing. It was my grandmother that taught me the difference between cheap and inexpensive. The Nexus 7 is inexpensive. It's well-built, decently-specced, can handle just about anything you throw at it, and is supremely affordable. The HP Slate 7 is cheap. On paper it seems like it should be okay, but in reality its an amalgamation of miscalculations that come out as a disaster of a device and a waste of silicon and dollars. Bill and Dave must be spinning in their graves.

If you have $169.99 to spend on an Android tablet today, don't spend it on the HP Slate 7; find another $30 and buy a Nexus 7. And if you can wait, Google I/O 2013 is coming up soon, and we're expecting an updated and improved Nexus 7 to be revealed there. You should wait. Spend your money wisely on the inexpensive, not the cheap.

 

Reader comments

HP Slate 7 Review

59 Comments

Crazy how my HP touchpad is running 4.2.2 and probably runs it better than this tablet, and I only paid $99 for it. They might as well not even attempted to launch this thing.

This is a GREAT review. Upfront summary: "this device sucks" followed by a detailed explanation of every reason why it sucks. Reading it made me a little bit sad though because I got the feeling that you really wanted this to be a great device.

Very well said Dan. I also get the feeling that Derick wanted to have a reason to like HP again. Sadly, looks like that's not the case.

I actually almost "hope" this device fails.

This is exactly the device that hp was always going to produce after they dropped webOS and the TouchPad. I don’t herald the TouchPad as being the most amazing device ever, as it has been documented in many places, it was a bit “plastic feeling” and built on internals from the Apple reject bin (largely due to supply chain issues). But I am not surprised that this tablet is so completely “m’eh”, they clearly and publicly showed the world how simply incapable they were to be innovative, possibly further than that, how fearful they were of trying to do anything amazing when they dropped WebOS and the TouchPad.

But as soon as they got into Android devices it was clear what they were going to do, in short this, produce a boring unspectacular middle of the road device. I do applaud them for “trying” to price it reasonably, but it is still too expensive for what it is. What we have ended up with from hp is just an addition to the noise that describes the number of low spec tablets running “out of date” versions of android.

wait...:THE GOOD: "better sound quality thanks to Beats Audio integration" THE BAD: "The screen is just awful. And so are the speakers." so the sound is good and bad?

Bit harsh on it's 1024x600-ness, that's pretty much what all 7" tablets are (bar the N7) including the Galaxy Tab 3.

1440x900 = Nook HD

1280x800 = Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, Toshiba Excite7.7

1024x600 = Archos Gamepad, Fuhu Nabi, Galaxy Tab2, HP Slate7

So, yeah, HP is clearly showing the target market for this device.

this is what is going to happen to Samsung if they leave android and go to tizen. they will come back like pussy cats begging for android

I guess I'm still salty about the horrifically botched acquisition and murder of Palm. I'm one of those guys who will need a really really really great product to support HP.

I still miss webOS.

nb

I felt like a list puppy going from platform to platform after my Pre. Settled now but not 100% happy. Extreme?

WebOS was it.

yup

they had the touch pad in the back of a few of the images, and even 2 years old it looks and is the better device

oh well

One clarification: pixels don't have to be square in order to have a proper, viable display. My previous Samsung plasma was 16:9 with a 1024x768 resolution. It reproduced perfect squares and circles because the pixels were not square.

The issue here is that the display is stretched out of focus, not that the pixels aren't square.

Not quite. Plasmas have less sharp, or more accurately, less harsh pixels than LCDs anyway and are displaying a moving image that you view from a distance. On a tablet the pixels need to be square because you are viewing a mostly static image from close proximity.

The display controller on a plasma is converting to its native resolution, that doesnt happen on a tablet. this unit isnt trying to display an HD image on an SD screen its just displaying a distorted image.

Well, I'm glad to finally see a review that agrees with mine. Prior to May 1st, everyone thought this tablet was amazing.

Oh Derek, how I've missed your writing of reviews on actual real-world products. Great review. I just installed CM9 on my Touchpad last night, and it's nice (and sad) to see my 2 year old tablet blows away this one.

Great review. Or I'm guessing. After the Good/Bad/Conclusion, I wasn't sure if I wanted to press on but I tried. The opening of the review with the packaging was too much detail about ... packaging! It did bring to mind the Christmas with my two year old when he opened a really nice toy and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day playing with the box! Would that go in the "Good" section?

Good writing Derek! just go to hell hp! TouchPad is the last and legacy tablet that hp ever made, and now they produce trash for consumers. This Slate 7 shows us how bad hp is now. hp recent CEO as bad as Leo. No Vision at all! hp will continue to go down hill, and hope someday, another company 'eat' it and kill it, same as they kill Palm & WebOS. They earned this bad karma. hp have lots of bad records when buy another company. so someday in future they will have the same faith.

Super detailed review. Kudos on thoroughness to the author. HP just keeps faltering, there doesn't appear to be any end in sight ..

The Slate 7 is a tablet that should have never been released. It seems HP didn't even "play it safe" by releasing a cheap Android tablet, as in not investing in adding high-end features. It's as if some of the big chiefs in HP intentionally wanted Android to fail so they released it in the crappiest product they could build.

Even the price isn't that low or attractive anyways. For a little more you can get a Nexus 7 and even if you do value the expandable storage, A Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 will cost you about as much as a Slate 7, it works with 64 GB memory cards (as long as you can format the card somewhere else) and it even has GPS and a slightly better front-facing camera.

Let's face it. People these days hear HP and think Harry Potter, not Hewlett-Packard. I don't think Hewlett-Packard can recover consumer mindshare anymore; they're dead.

I'm a former HP employee and I had high hopes when hearing HP(one of the biggest long time Microsoft partner) was going to release an Android device. It is quite disappointing to see this review. HP has many very talented employees but the organization is so big that it is very hard to move fast enough to catch up with changes in the market. When they announced the product, a $169 price tag was actually somewhat competitive if the device is well-designed. But this week Barnes and Noble just offered it's flagship Nook HD+ 8.9" with 1920x1280 display for $179 while Amazon has lowered it's Kindle Fire HD 7" to $179. I would also be surprised that Google would not offer more for less on the Nexus 7 in the near future when new models come out. Android tablet market is just a very tough one to go in right now. Dell also tried earlier with Streak 7 but has now pulled out of the Android market completely.

I don't ever buy anything HP. The webOS debacle further solidified my stance. Everything that company spews out is garbage. So I read this review simply to see how bad this Slate 7 was going to suck, and boy, Derek, you didn't disappoint. Loved your review!

After what they did with WebOs I would not touch one of their products if it was the last one on earth!! There are too many other choices out there I do not trust HP!!

"HP was one of many companies flooding Best Buy and Circuit City and Wal-Mart with junk netbooks at that time. What they didn't see coming was the tablet revolution, which in just a few short years completely demolished the netbook market. HP was caught flat-footed by tablets, and botched the purchase and roll-out of Palm and webOS through 2010 and 2011. The company has been a financial and organizational disaster ever since, having lost the faith of investors, partners, customers, and even its own employees."

You Nailed that one Derek! Especially the last Sentence!!

I have an HP laptop that I got 2 years ago and it's awesome. I'm amazed the same company would release this piece of crap.

Excellent review. Very informative, lots of info, lots of photos, lots of detail, lots of explanation. WELL DONE.

Hp is unable to make one good solid product and I won't be purchasing anything from them in the future. After they ruined Palm I can't support them any more not to mention my hp printer sounds like every plastic part inside of it is breaking in half every time I print. I used Palm products for 6 years in a row and now they are done for good.

Awesome review. I hope to win this if you stick it in a contest, purely to whack cyanogenmod onto it and fix the distortion so people will be able to have a slightly better device

Maybe I should take a stab at making a 7" Tablet. With my limited knowledge and spare parts, I may even be able to compete with this thing.

HP, already has a horrible name in the mobile department, continues to taint itself with more horrendous devices.
Great way to enter the era of mobility, HP.

Ugh. Another low-end tablet that can't compete with the Nexus 7, Nook HD, or Kindle Fire HD.

How can Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Google make these high-quality tablets and sell them for $200, but when other manufacturers try the same thing we get shitty specs and poor screens?

Case in point: The Nook HD has an amazing screen, and it sells for $200.

I disagree with blatant bias of this post
I bought a slate and couldn't be happier with what it does.
Price wasn't a determining factor in purchase of slate.
What I needed was something that could be used at work and home for testing beta android apps,displaying images accurately and text.
Using office and emails as well as a speedy WiFi and internet browsing capability.All the basic criteria for a low cost android tablet has been met.
That said the cameras are crap.
Screen resolution is fine with no hint of ghosting.
No problems screen resolution or ghosting either.
Your issue and bias based more on buying something that didn,t suit your needs .
You should have spent more time and money buying something that suited your view of what suits your needs.

seems like HP doesn't know how to stay down for the 10 count (maybe things were FIXED)
it for sure does not know how to getup up (this isn't even a contender)
this will lower the price of the others in its price range (once the competition if you can call it that STOPS LAUGHING!!! at this thing

i am a lover of my TP and WEB OS
all you Apple users will notice the new Web OS style of cards and swipe to close being added to iOS

I'm so glad that I read your review. As if it wasn't awful enough, the fact that Meg Whitman is in charge is enough to make me run the other way. She destroyed ebay and now she will do the same with HP.

Thank you so much. Just purchased an ipad mini and can't wait to get it.

I am surprised. It appears that I am the only one who is happy with my HP Slate 7. After 2 months of use I can still do all what I need: email, internet surfing, Google Drive, creating/editing/storing/sending my documents, on the occasion, taking some pictures and playing videos and movies, etc . . ., Skype, Twitter, and Kindle . . .
Good battery management, etc
Very good HP service: pre-sale, super delivery, and post-sale.
Am I in the middle of a gloomy anti-HP collusion?
Cheer up and all the best
Bernard

My take is that the Slate 7 tablet is good enough for its price. I have the gadget and am very happy with it, it does everything it's meant to do and no one expected anything out of the ordinary in that price range.

HP learned from the touchpad, "if you can't beat them, join them" ..

The writer should not consider this a balanced review, its very negative

bought HP Slate 7 voice tab... OTG cable not supported at all.. although company claims it and has been mentioned on papers too...main purpose of buying the tab defeated...totally harrassed by the company for two days...money and time wasted

The slate 7 is a frustrating piece of S***. I got one for my 8 year old kid and have been back in the shop 4 times. Memory problems. only addresses 0.98G memory instead of the meager 8G.