The Bottom Line
- Excellent Multitasking
- Touch To Share Feature
- Better Sounding Audio
- Limited Software
- Only Front Facing Camera With Limited Use
- 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (Cortex-A8) Dual Core Processor
- 1GB Memory
- 16GB Storage Space
- 9.7-inxh XGA (1024x768) IPS Multitouch Display
- Adreno 220 Graphics
- 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- 1.3 Megapixel Front Camera
- mirco-USB, 3.5mm Audio Jack
- 9.5" x 7.5" x .54" @ 1.6 lbs.
Guide Review - HP TouchPad 9.7-inch 16GB Tablet Computer
Jul 20 2011 - One has to wonder why it took so long for HP to eventually release their TouchPad tablet. It is based around the webOS software originally developed by Palm for their smartphones. In fact, there is little change to the base operating system that anyone who has used a webOS based phone will feel at home with the TouchPad tablet. There have been changes though as not all of the software for webOS currently available will run on the TouchPad. In fact, finding applications is going to be a major problem as it pales in comparison to what is available for iOS or even Android.
Overall, the experience of the TouchPad is very hit or miss. The multitasking environment with the card system works extremely well. Flipping through cards and tossing them is very intuitive and much easier than Android's or iOS's implementation. The problem is that at times there seems to be significant lag when pulling up or switching applications. This is likely due to the use of a dual core Cortex A8 based processor compared to the Cortex A9;s found in most other tablets.
One unique feature to the webOS is the ability to share information between devices (either other tablets or phones currently) simply by touching the two together. This is actually a form of Bluetooth networking between the devices that will require pairing. Once that is done, the transfer of information is quick and seamless. Now they just need to find a way to integrate such a feature with a laptop or other device that does not run the webOS software.
Probably the most disappointing aspect of the HP Touch is the size and weight. The tablet is one of the thicker on the market at just over an inch in thickness. It even is ever so slightly larger than the more affordable Acer Iconia or the Motorola XOOM. It is tapered well along the edges so it isn't too difficult to hold but the bulk is still noticeable. The weight comes in at a very hefty 1.6 pounds and it is very evident when you try to hold the tablet in one hand for an extended period of time. With all the delays that HP had in getting this to market, you think they would have had the time to do a redesign similar to what Samsung did with the Galaxy Tab to make it much more compact.
The display of the TouchPad is much more reminiscent of that found on Apple's iPad 2. It uses the same IPS display technology and has the same 9.7-inch viewing area with 1024x768 resolution. It offers a very good level of color, brightness and contrast on par with Apple's display. It can be difficult to use at times outdoors with the highly reflective glass coating but that is common to most tablet's these days. What it does have over other tablets is audio quality. The Beats Audio definitely seems to put out a fuller audio experience than found in other tablets.
While many of the companies offer both a front and read facing camera on their tablets, HP has elected to only include a single forward facing camera. This isn't necessarily a bad thing on its own as most rear facing cameras on tablets have left much to be desired in terms of photographic quality, the front facing camera is only a 1.3 megapixel model and the software essentially only allows it to be used with Skype video calling. So if you hope to use the video features frequently, this is certainly not the tablet to choose.
In terms of running time, HP claims that the TouchPad will last upwards of nine hours with video playback. During video playback testing, the TouchPad was only able to achieve eight and a quarter hours before turning off. This is below the estimates from HP but not by a huge margin. The more disappointing aspect though is that the TouchPad's running time falls well short of Apple's iPad2 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, both of which are thinner and lighter than HP's entry tablet.