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MWC: HP Slate 7 hands-on review

We put HP's first Android tablet through its paces in Barcelona
Thu Feb 28 2013, 14:51

BARCELONA: MAKER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP showed off its budget HP Slate 7 tablet at MWC this week, the firm's first device to arrive running Android.

While there was little hype surrounding HP's Slate 7 announcement, it marks a huge step for the company. Having previously struggled in the tablet market, HP is avoiding Microsoft Windows RT/8 in favour of Google's Android mobile operating system, perhaps hoping that it can replicate the success of the similarly priced Google Nexus 7.

The Slate is certainly not a bad looking device, although we weren't too keen on the red casing of the unit we managed to get our hands on. It's a departure from HP's previous mobile efforts, and sees the firm setting its sights on a different audience altogether - youngsters.

The HP Slate 8 is available in red

It's also available in a toned-down grey model, which will certainly appeal to more buyers.

Looking past the crimson back cover, the device is comfortable to hold, measuring just 10.7mm thick. It's slightly heavier than the Nexus 7 with a weight of 372g, but this wasn't all that noticeable when holding the device.

Another thing we weren't too keen on was the thick bezel surrounding the 7in 1024x600 screen on the Slate 7 tablet, space that we think could have been better used by producing either a smaller device or a larger, higher-resolution screen. However, this might have caused the price of the tablet to increase, and we're certainly fans of the tablet's $169 price tag.

The screen itself is plenty bright enough, albeit not as crisp as some of its similarly sized rivals such as the Asus Fonepad. Web pages looked crisp and apps looked bright and colourful, and the screen also proved responsive during our hands-on time at MWC.

MWC HP Slate 7 front

That's thanks to the tablet's processor, a dual-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 chip. Although on paper this doesn't sound too impressive, it proved extremely nippy during our testing. Apps loaded in an instant, for example, and swiping through home screens was pretty slick.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is HP's mobile operating system of choice for the Slate 7, giving the device all of the latest Android features such as Google Now and Project Butter, and adding further to the tablet's all-around nippy experience. HP has left the operating system relatively untouched.

Beyond this, we were unable to test any of the tablet's other specifications. The 3.15MP rear-facing camera was inaccessible on our review unit, and we were unable to test the VGA front-facing snapper either. We were also hoping to test the onboard Beats Audio sound technology, but this was near impossible in the noisy showroom.

However, we'll be sure to test these features out shortly, so check back soon for our full review of the HP Slate 7. µ


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