HP ElitePad 900 Windows 8 tablet (preview)

The ElitePad 900 is a Windows 8 tablet designed for business users

HP ElitePad 900 Windows 8 tablet (preview)
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Pros

  • Plenty of expansion options
  • Light and well built
  • Removable battery and second battery option

Cons

  • Won't know until we test it.

Bottom Line

HP is targeting the business market with its ElitePad 900 Windows 8-based tablet. It runs an Intel Atom SoC processor and plenty of management, security and expansion options available.

Would you buy this?

The ElitePad 900 is a Windows 8 tablet that has been designed strictly with business users in mind. It puts a focus on security features and manageability, it conforms to military standards for drops, dust, vibration, temperature and altitude, and there is an array of 'jackets' available that can add features or battery life to the tablet. At the same time, it's a slender and lightweight device that feels comfortable in the hand.

A 10.1in diagonal size and a sub-10mm thickness make the ElitePad 900 easy to handle and it weighs a smidgin under 700g in its default state (that is, without any jackets). It has a machined body that is made out of aluminium, while Gorilla Glass 2 sits on the front to protect the screen. There isn't much to be seen around the edges of the tablet, except for the volume buttons on the right-hand side, the docking connector and speakers on the bottom, and the power button, rotation lock and headphone jack at the top. There are also concealed SIM and micro SD card slots. Cameras are located on the front and the back; the rear (out-facing) auto-focusing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and a flash, while the front (user-facing) camera has a resolution of 1080p.

More functionality can be added to the ElitePad 900 through the use of 'jackets'. These jackets cover the edges of the tablet entirely and can be used to supply extra features. One of the jackets, called the Expansion Jacket has two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and an SD card slot. This jacket also has a slot for an optional second battery, which can boost the tablets life to 20 hours. Another jacket is the Productivity Jacket, which includes an integrated, hard-wired keyboard along with USB and SD ports. The Jackets add a couple of millimetres to the tablet's width and thickness, with more bulk being added to the bottom to facilitate ports and other features.

The ElitePad 900 with its Expansion Jacket pieces. The jacket has two pieces that completely cover the tablet.
The ElitePad 900 with its Expansion Jacket pieces. The jacket has two pieces that completely cover the tablet.

The ports that are present on the Expansion Jacket.
The ports that are present on the Expansion Jacket.

Conveniently, the jackets can also work with the ElitePad's docking station — you don't have to take the jackets off if you want to dock the ElitePad 900 on your desk. The dock has a lot of mass and sits heavily on a desk. This means that you can lift the tablet out of the dock with one hand and the dock won't lift up off the table with it. This also means that heavy cables won't topple the unit when they are plugged in to the dock. Around the edges of this dock you get four USB 2.0 ports, an audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, power and a cable lock facility.

The ElitePad 900's desktop dock.
The ElitePad 900's desktop dock.

If you don't want to use a dock or a jacket, then you can make use of individual adapters instead.
If you don't want to use a dock or a jacket, then you can make use of individual adapters instead.

On the inside, the ElitePad 900 runs a 1.8GHz, Intel Atom Z2760 SoC (system on a chip) processor, 2GB of RAM, and storage is handled by a solid state drive up to 64GB. Along with the micro SD card slot, which can be used to install another 64GB of storage, and with the SD card slot located on the Expansion Jacket, the ElitePad 900 can be configured to supply up to 192GB of storage.

The screen is an IPS-based panel that is protected by Gorilla Glass 2 and it has a resolution of 1280x800. HP says that is has been designed with this resolution in order to cater for traditional business applications and says the fact that the screen won't support Windows 8's Snap feature for new-style apps shouldn't be an issue for business users. It's a multi-touch, capacitive display, but there is an option for a digitiser pen for users who need better handwriting support.

Security and management features are what should drive take up of this tablet and others like it in the business world. To this end, it features a trusted platform module, NFC with secure element tokens and its Gigabit Ethernet option features PXE, which allows the tablet to be booted and managed over the network when it's connected. Furthermore, the battery is removable and the unit is serviceable. Other features include data encryption, BIOS protection and optional anti-theft and tracing services.

You also get 802.11n, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and integrated mobile broadband. HP says that LTE will be available in the future, too.

Pricing for the ElitePad 900 will start at $899 and it will be available in early 2013.

ElitePad 900 docked with a keyboard.
ElitePad 900 docked with a keyboard.

ElitePad 900: rear view.
ElitePad 900: rear view.

ElitePad 900: top view.
ElitePad 900: top view.

ElitePad 900: bottom view.
ElitePad 900: bottom view.

ElitePad 900: left view.
ElitePad 900: left view.

ElitePad 900: right view.
ElitePad 900: right view.

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