HP Slate vs. iPad vs. Galaxy Tab vs. Playbook

HP stirs up the tablet market; check out the trade-offs.

Remember that disappointing HP tablet with Windows 7 from January everyone thought it was scrapped? Well, it's called the HP Slate and it's out now for a whopping $799. Before you get click-happy on HP's website, though, you might want to have a look at this: put alongside other tablets, the HP Slate could disappoint you, again.

See how the HP Slate compares to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the iPad and the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook in our smackdown chart (click to enlarge).

The HP Slate 500 is smaller than the iPad, sporting an 8.9-inch screen versus the iPad's 9.7-inch display, while resolutions are almost identical. Although it's smaller, the Slate is just as heavy as Apple's tablet, and packs only half of the battery life of the iPad. Actually, besides PlayBook's unspecified battery life, the Slate has the shortest battery lifespan on a single charge. So what justifies the $799 price tag?

The Slate comes with a 1.86GHz Intel Atom processor, and a whopping 2GB of RAM, which is probably the minimal amount of memory to run Windows 7, the OS powering the Slate, at a decent speed. The other tablets in the comparison run on a 1GHz processor, while the PlayBook would have a 1GHz dual-core chip. In terms of RAM, the Slate has eight times the memory of the iPad, four times that of the Galaxy Tab, and twice of the PlayBook.

As with all the tablets, the HP Slate comes with Bluetooth and WiFi, but there's no 3G chip or GPS. It does come, however, with 64GB or on-board storage, but at $799, it's still $100 more than the 64Gb WiFi iPad. What the Slate has over the iPad is an USB port, and two cameras (one 3-Megapixel at the back, plus a VGA camera for video calling). The Slate can also take SD cards for storage expansion, something that the iPad or the PlayBook can't.

Besides a high retail price, the Slate will have to pass the speed test once reviewers get their hands on it. Even with eight times the amount of RAM on the iPad, we have yet to see whether simple tasks such as browsing the Web or checking your e-mail are faster than on Apple and Android tablets, which also have the advantage of "instant on" capabilities.

But, hey, at least the HP Slate has a Ctrl+Alt+Del button, something that I have yet to see on other tablets.

Is the HP Slate the killer tablet to rule them all? Sound off in the comments.

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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