Hewlett-Packard can’t be left out of the tablet market, and in 2010 they came up with their first attempt which was the HP Slate which came stock with Windows 7. The main focus of this market was to provide a product for people who enjoy and long for the Windows operating system within a tablet. Hewlett-Packard did pretty well with their first Slate model, and they didn’t change a whole lot with the addition of the Slate 2.
The HP Slate 2 doesn’t have a very large screen at only 8.9 inches, and it comes in at a weight of around 1 1/2 pounds. You can pick up one of these HP tablets for around $635-$850 depending on which version you get, and you can get them with either Windows 7 professional or home premium installed, but you only get the option of the 32-bit version. They power the Slate two with an Intel atom CPU which provides 1.5 GHz and 2 GB. The 1.5 GHz is little bit less than the original Slates processing power, but that’s only because the 1.8 GHz processor cut down on the life of the battery. Depending on the amount of storage you need, you can buy either a 32 GB version, or 64 GB version.
Some of the ports that the HP tablet comes with includes a Bluetooth, a USB 2.0 port, and obviously Wi-Fi capabilities. It also has a couple of cameras in the unit, one which is a 3.0 megapixel camera which faces outward, and a VGA WebCam which points directly at the user. Either of these cameras can be used for videos, or for the taking of still photos. If you need the option of more ports so you can add on different accessories, you can buy an optional dock for around $110.
Hewlett-Packard did a good job designing the Slate 2, and it’s all fit together nice featuring a sharp finish. The construction of it feels nice and solid since it doesn’t give it all when you try to flex it, and it doesn’t creak or make any noises either. As with all of the other tablets, you will find the ports and switches all located on the edges. When you put the tablet in landscape mode, you’ll find over on the right edge the mic headphone, Jack, and the switch for turning the machine on and off. Over on the left you’ll find the SD card slot, and a button which will allow you to turn a virtual keyboard on and off. At the top of the unit, you will find the single USB port, as well as the buttons for the volume. It also has the addition of a home button, and another one which performs the function of control alt delete. At the bottom of the unit, you’ll find the location where you can set up the optional Slate dock. If you get this option, you will be able to make use of its two additional USB ports, another headphone jack, and a full-size HDMI port. Since this unit is completely Wi-Fi, there is no option of a ethernet port on the device, or on the optional dock, and you also don’t have the availability of a keyboard on the dock which comes on so many other tablet docks. You can however make use of one of the USB ports in order to hook up keyboard if you wanted.
This isn’t a serious powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination, and even on the Windows experience Index it scored low at 2.1 out of a possible 7.9. Whenever we attempted to run more than a couple of common applications at a time, we noticed that it bogged down quite a bit. If you just need it to stream videos, then it will work well for that since we found that it did really well streaming over the Wi-Fi connection, but when it came to surfing the Internet, it was a bit slower. If you’re going to buy this unit, it’s recommended to get the 64 GB version since just the loading up of all the apps which are preloaded on the machine uses of 15 GB. That’s nearly half of what’s available in the 32 GB machine. While you can obviously do a little bit of expansion with the SD card reader, since you don’t have a lot of stock storage space, you’re not really going to be a able to use this for anything but light use.
This was a really good attempt by Microsoft to make use of Windows 7 and a touch screen, but when it comes to competing against the android tablet alternatives, it comes up a little bit lacking. It can be difficult to accurately choose the different icons because they’re so small, and if it wasn’t for the nice stylus that it sports, it would be very difficult to work with the machine. The cool thing about the stylus is that it works really great for drawing pictures, and using standard handwriting if you use some of the applications like sticky notes, or is evernote. It’s really kind of sad that the Slate didn’t provide any area on the device to actually store the stylus however, because it is such a handy option to have with it.
HP did a really good job of constructing the Slate 2, and if you implement the stylus and the docking station you can have a pretty nice little machine. One of the most probable uses for the HP Slate would be within a company or organization that bases all their operations on the Windows platform, and is looking for a way to pack all of those operations with them in the form of a mobile device.
If anybody was looking to use this product as an alternative to a laptop, they would be left wanting since it’s not going to be able to do all of the things that a laptop can, but where it will do well is to function as a nice mobile computer for those that don’t have any significantly demanding tasks that they need to do within the Windows platform.