HP TouchPad webOS tablet

HP TouchPad review: The HP TouchPad has plenty of potential, but suffers from a bulky, uninspiring design, a lack of third-party apps and questionable performance

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  • User Reviews (11)
  • Buy Now 4
HP TouchPad
  • HP TouchPad
  • HP TouchPad
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    3.00 / 5 (of 2 Reviews)

Pros

  • webOS UI suits tablet form factor
  • Core apps are well designed
  • Account support is impressive

Cons

  • Bulky and thick design
  • Sluggish performance
  • Limited third-party apps

Bottom Line

It's a shame the HP TouchPad has so many issues in its current form, because it's an impressive device to use on the whole. It does boast some class leading features, and its interface is in our opinion the best we've seen on a tablet device. But a chunky design, sluggish performance, a lack of dedicated apps and software that is still very much a work in progress makes it tough to pick over competitors.

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The TouchPad's standard apps like e-mail are well designed and use a handy panel feature that makes use of the whole screen. However, opening and extending panels is achieved by tapping a tiny control at the button of the screen, a strange design choice given the fact you are working with a 9.7in sized display. HP's Synergy feature groups contacts from multiple sources in a single application, and out of the box the TouchPad impressively supports Dropbox, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft Exchange, MobileMe, Photobucket, Skype, Snapfish and Yahoo accounts. However, you can only view documents — you can't edit or create Office files on the TouchPad, which makes it unsatisfactory as a business tool. Though we expect features like this to come with software updates, the fact remains that the TouchPad is currently well behind its competition.

The HP TouchPad has two of the best sounding speakers we've heard on a tablet, and the device is easily able to fill a small room with decent quality sound. However, its syncronising software (HP Play) is still in beta, doesn’t support photos and videos, and is clunky to use. The HP TouchPad is also slow to mount as a USB drive when connected to a PC or Mac.

Without a doubt the biggest hindrance to the HP TouchPad's effectiveness is performance. Despite boasting hefty specifications — a dual core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor being the highlight — the HP TouchPad is sluggish to open apps, often takes a few seconds to respond to presses on the screen and generally feels much slower than most other tablets currently on the market. Its accelerometer is also way too touchy, so much so that even the slightest tilt will rotate the screen when you don't want it to.

HP TouchPad: Other features

The HP TouchPad has a front facing, 1.3-megapixel camera, and with built-in Skype support, you can make video calls over the service directly from the TouchPad's messaging application. However, the TouchPad does not have a rear facing camera. Though we suspect most tablet users would not be too fussed with the absence of a rear camera (after all, does anyone really want to take photos, or record video with a 9.7in tablet?), but the fact remains that almost all of the HP TouchPad's competitors have dual cameras.

One very cool feature of the HP TouchPad is exhibition mode, which is basically a fancy name for a big digital clock. In addition to a clock, exhibition mode can display photos in your gallery as a slideshow, your calendar agendas and Facebook. The Facebook mode shows your friends’ latest status updates, with a tiled background of profile pictures. The HP TouchPad also has "Touch-to-share" technology, which enables users to share content, read text messages and even answer phone calls from a compatible HP smartphone by simply tapping the devices together — however given that HP is yet to release these phones in Australia, we weren’t able to test this feature.

Disappointingly, the HP TouchPad is a Wi-Fi only device with no 3G connectivity option, though a 3G model is likely to be released at a later date. Curiously, what looks like a pop-out SIM card slot on the right side of the TouchPad is actually where HP has chosen to print the serial number of the device.

HP claims the TouchPad's battery is good for eight hours of Web browsing, and nine hours of video playback. In reality, the numbers we achieved were a little less than that, but still quite respectable. We managed roughly seven hours of sporadic use before the battery ran out on most occasions. No, it's not good enough to hold a candle to the iPad 2's impressive battery, but it's about on par or better than many Android tablets on the market.

The HP TouchPad will be sold through Harvey Norman in Australia from 15 August, but it can be purchased now from online store MobiCity.

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Read more on these topics: webOS, hp touchpad, tablets

Seth Cecil

1

as far as editing documents, Google docs works great on the touchpad, and you can connect it directly to your printer, if you have a wireless HP Printer that is. this makes it great for business; I use mine at work everyday!

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Sharyn Polce

1.0

1

Pros
loved it while it workd
Cons
wont turn on anymore
• • •

Only had it 5 days and i put it on charge left it came back to turn it on and it wont turn on anymore at all ???? Now i have to go back tomoro and take it back and be without it i assume while it gets fixed - i am just asking for my money back ....

Grant

4.0

2

Pros
great screen, does everything I want
Cons
nothing really
• • •

I bought this today for $148. I have to say it only took an hour or two of exploring to decided that really this is a very nice unit. Sure I probably wouldn't pay the retail $699 for it, the original retail price but it is a damned nice unit to use. It might be slightly slow opening some apps but not so much so it is a problem. I'm just loading up Kindle now and I might try a book tonight. I even downloaded photos from my computer and was watching some as a slide show. Very nice. It is a shame that really this quite wonderful tablet was a case of just too little too late. It really is almost there but you can't make mistakes in this ultra competitive market, there is no room for error and even if they had done everything perfectly, I doubt if they would have been successful long term without spending a lot of money. I'm happy though and I would rather be able to download my own music and photos and not have to use itunes, described by one person as a 'hideous binary turd'.

Seth Cecil

5.0

3

Pros
Webos,
Cons
all the bad review for this wonderful tab!
• • •

This is by far the best tablet I have ever used; the extra bulk that everybody hates on is so that it can use the inductive charging doc, something that no other tab can do! I have had no lag; this thing is fast and fun to sue even for everyday activities!

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