Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
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
- webOS UI suits tablet form factor
- Core apps are well designed
- Account support is impressive
- Bulky and thick design
- Sluggish performance
- Limited third-party apps
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.
The HP TouchPad is HP's answer to Apple's ever-conquering iPad 2. It's the first tablet to run the company's webOS operating system — software HP acquired from Palm when it bought the struggling company for US$1.2 billion in 2010. Although we love the TouchPad's intuitive software, great audio performance and ease of use, its design does little to stand out amongst slimmer and lighter competitors, and the lack of dedicated tablet apps make it a tough sell.
Check out our guide to the best upcoming tablets in 2011.
HP TouchPad: Design and display
At first glance, the HP TouchPad looks like a very attractive tablet. The gloss black bezel, rounded edges and a physical home button that pulses to show notifications are all nice touches. A lot of work seems to have gone into the packaging, too — the HP TouchPad's box slides out like a drawer on the right side, giving it a very Apple-like feel. This extends right down to the box housing the documentation, USB cable and AC charger, which is labelled with, "Now comes the fun part."
Sadly, fun can be short-lived and that's the exact impression you're left with once you get your hands on the HP TouchPad. At 740g, it's not exactly lightweight. In fact, of all tablets currently sold in Australia, only the hefty Toshiba Tablet (771g) is heavier than the thick and bulky TouchPad. Though its rounded design makes it comfortable to hold, the TouchPad looks like an oversized paper weight when placed next to an iPad 2 or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Adding to the mess is the rear of the tablet, which is amongst the best fingerprint magnets we've ever come across. The HP TouchPad turns even the slightest touch into a grubby masterpiece, and is therefore impossible to keep clean.
The HP TouchPad has a 9.7in capacitive touchscreen. Although there's nothing remarkable about this display, it is comparable to most other tablets on the market, including the iPad. The HP TouchPad's screen is bright, responsive to touch and produces vibrant colours, though its glossy surface means it reflects too much light. Sadly, the TouchPad's touch accuracy could be improved; the "ripple" effect that displays on the screen when you touch it often appears slightly below where you have actually touched the screen. Though not a huge issue, it's mostly evident when tapping the thin notifications bar at the top of the screen, and can cause some minor frustration.
HP TouchPad: webOS software and performance
The HP TouchPad's webOS operating system instantly seems like a natural fit for tablets. It's much easier to pick up and use than Google Android's Honeycomb UI, and handles multitasking infinitely better than Apple's iOS platform.
The key feature of the TouchPad is the card system — a unique way of swiping through multiple, open applications. You simply press the physical home button, or swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen (regardless of the orientation of the TouchPad) to display all current open applications, called cards. From here, you can close apps simply be swiping the cards up and off the screen, or launch new apps from the menu below. You can also group any open cards into "stacks" by dragging them on top of each other. Combined with an intuitive and elegant notifications system, the HP TouchPad handles multitasking with effortless ease.
Using the TouchPad on a day-to-day basis just feels natural. Whether it's opening or closing apps, swiping between open apps, and even basic tasks like unlocking the display, the entire process seems to suit the larger tablet form factor.
Unfortunately, the more we used the TouchPad and its webOS software, the more we found things we didn't like. For every thing the TouchPad does well, it does something poorly. For instance, the lock screen shows handy notifications, but there is no way to unlock directly into these, and considering the large display, their small size seems like a very odd design choice. The Web browser displays Flash, but our experience was less than satisfactory — sometimes it worked, other times it did not. The browser renders pages well, and each new window opening as a card is handy, but performance is sluggish compared to most of the competition.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel 3a review: Less is more
- 2 Huawei P30 Pro review: A photography powerhouse that leans into and elevates its natural strengths
- 3 Samsung Galaxy S10 review: Messy decisions mar smart evolutions
- 4 Dell G7 review: Growing pains
- 5 Nokia 8.1 review: The more things change, the more they stay the same
Latest News Articles
- Samsung launches new Galaxy A smartphones in Australia
- Samsung upgrade their Australian tablet range
- Dell launches its Rugged range
- Sony launches three new 4K HDR Home Cinema Projectors
- HP launches Omen by HP Challenger Series Tournament
PCW Evaluation Team
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
- Huawei P30 Pro: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic Lumix S1 review
- Google Pixel 3a review: Less is more
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?