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Hands On: HP Slate 7 review

Another 7-inch tablet joins the party

Our Early Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1024 x 600
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 3 Megapixel

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After its aborted efforts with WebOS and the TouchPad two years ago, it appears that HP thinks now is the time to get involved with tablets. Here is the Slate 7 - a 7-inch tablet running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

And why not? After all, though we think of tablets as a market that's 'Apple plus others', it's worth remembering that it's actually in its infancy both in terms of the technology itself and the number of people globally that actually have a tablet - think how complex or widespead the PC or a mobile phone were after only a few years. And, of course, it's only been three years since the first iPad emerged.

HP Slate 7

So what about the HP Slate 7? Where does it fit in? Well the first thing to note is the price. The Slate 7 will be available in the United States in April with a starting price of $169. That's pretty cheap, although it doesn't quite match the Kindle Fire's $159 pricing.

HP Slate 7

The Kindle Fire is probably its closest competitor, not least as the Slate 7 features the same screen resolution - 1,024 x 600 as well as a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9-based processor (HP hasn't been more specific than that). The screen is the Slate 7's first issue - it isn't as polished as slightly more expensive 7-inch contenders such as the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7.

HP Slate 7

Up against those slightly more expensive models this screen looks decidedly old-school.

HP Slate 7

The Slate 7 is the industry's first tablet to offer embedded Beats Audio, while software settings are also available on the device. HP reckons it hasn't done a lot to the Slate in terms of software development, but says that this is merely its first step into Android - it will offer more differentiation in the future.

Sound quality is undoubtedly given a bit of beef by the addition, and it's a good selling point for the device. But HP must be careful that it's not over reliant on Beats to separate it from the tablet pack.

HP Slate 7

As for look and feel, it's a pleasant device in the hand, even if the large black bezel is a little off-putting (we'd expect it at this price point, though). The Slate 7 weighs in at 13 ounces (around 370g). It has front and rear-facing cameras, though the rear is 3 megapixels only. Still, it's a reason to buy the HP Slate over the original Kindle Fire, which doesn't have cameras.

HP Slate 7

The Slate 7 is quite good looking from the back and side - there's a stainless-steel frame and soft black paint in grey or striking red. As you can see, there's a microSD slot on the top of the device as well as a headphone jack and the sleep/wake button.

HP

Charging and data transfer is via a micro USB port on the bottom of the device, where there are also two speakers as you can see.

HP

The Slate 7 is the first offering from HP's newly formed Mobility Global Business Unit, established in September 2012 with the hiring of Alberto Torres. Torres joined HP from Nokia, where he was executive vice president and oversaw the MeeGo products and platform. Hopefully HP's new tablets will be more successful than MeeGo.

HP Slate 7

Early verdict

The HP Slate 7 does just enough to differentiate itself from the competition because of the cameras and Beats Audio support. But it isn't a hugely impressive tablet. While it's good enough for very basic pootling about in Android, using email and browsing the web, it's not the tablet you want if you want to watch video (get a better screen). The Nexus 7 remains our 7-inch choice.

HP Slate 7

HP Slate 7

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity8 GB
Processor ManufacturerARM
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Product FamilySlate 7 2801
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
ColourRed
Operating SystemAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Brand NameHP
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeCortex A9
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Number of Cells1-cell
Screen Resolution1024 x 600
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)370 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyHFFS
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution3 Megapixel
Height116 mm
Width10.7 mm
Depth197 mm
Screen ModeWSVGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Series2801
ManufacturerHewlett-Packard
Product NameSlate 7 2801 Tablet
Product LineSlate 7
Aspect Ratio128:75
Manufacturer Part NumberE0P94AA#ABB
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hp.com/uk
Marketing Information

Experience amazing.

Carry your world in the palm of your hand. Think smaller with the HP Slate 7 featuring Android 4.1. Keep your photos, documents, music, games, and apps with you every step of the day. And, access and manage it all on the go with a fully-featured, 7-inch diagonal tablet that brings everything down to size --including price.

Package Contents
  • Slate 7 2801 Tablet
  • AC Adapter
  • USB Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Limited Warranty1 Year