HP Slate prototype from an iPad user's perspective

HP Slate Prototype vs iPad

Since a couple videos have started floating around on YouTube I figured it was about time I spoke up a little about my brief experience with the HP Slate. I had an opportunity to play with one about 3 months ago. HP apparently has a couple of these prototype devices they ship off to customers to tinker with and get feedback.

Now, my impressions have to be taken with a grain of salt since I am comparing a prototype, non-production device to the iPad, but I think certain truths will remain. For starters, the device is rather bulky, about 2-3 times thicker than the iPad. Once you get past the difference in physical thickness, your hands start to hurt, not because of the weight, but because the thing runs so hot your hands are burning after holding it for a few minutes.

Let's talk features. I was curious to get the camera working. So, I looked for a physical hardware button to take a picture (because just about everyone other than Apple does that). Well, no photo button to be found. I was in the Windows 7 interface and could not find an camera app to launch. So I had to hunt for an alternative. HP has apparently built a custom skin for Windows 7 that gives the device a much more mobile feel with big buttons to launch apps and services. So, I launched that skin and found the camera app. The camera seemed to work well based on the fluorescently lite cubical environment, but hey, what can ya do. I now know why spy cam shots are always blurry and video is shaky.

I did not see the physical keyboard button when I had my time with the device, though I am sure it works fine. I did have the same difficult time scrolling (actually in this video, I don't think he actually got it to scroll, but kept saying how fast it was. No comment there). Overall it was very lethargic and a challenge to use. Speaking of which, when in Windows 7 mode, it is impossible to do anything on screen as it is still using the mouse metaphor and there is a cursor on the screen; you don't get the ease of use or speediness you get with iOS on iPad.

Again, these are my impressions of the prototype from a few months ago. Hardware changes, software changes and who knows what the final product will look like if it ever ships, but HP sure doesn't appear like they are going to let this one go...

Video after the break.


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Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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Reader comments

HP Slate prototype from an iPad user's perspective


The scrolling looks terrible. And why require the user to manually bring up the keyboard every time they need it? Click a text box, I'll need a keyboard; how hard is that?

Just wait for the Palm O/S model....much better user experience.....
or how about the Galaxy S Tab model......
Apple has competition, stop being herded cows.

At least they arn't firing up their photocopiers and just copying 99% of stuff like the other manufacturers. Use to be a Mac joke when Apple bought out something new "Redmond start your photocopiers) Now it seems to be smart phone manufacturers. Apple comes up with a great product and instead of innovating others copy most of it. I really wonder if Apple didnt exist what the computer phone space would look like.

I didn't buy the iPad bc of some basic features it was lacking. With that said I think that the recent flurry of slates will make apple step up their game on the next model of the iPad. If apple doesn't step up then I will spend my dollars with some one else.

Looks like crap. I'd like to see a side-by-side startup and browsing comparison between the iPad and this HP thing. I can guarantee you the iPad starts up faster... And you can scroll on it! Amazing!
Sarcasm aside I'm glad to see possible competition for the iPad at least so the price can be driven down. But the competition have a long way to go.

LoL, how does it look like crap? It pretty much looks like an iPad, but a bit thicker. It's a different product too, so meh..
I'm honestly more interested in a slat running Windows 7 than I am an iPad. I wonder if I can install Photoshop CS3 on it and use most of my Windows based programs on it? I really hope it'll have an SSD storage device instead of just 64Gigs of RAM or something like that. If I could find a slat that I can connect to my Nikon to download images, do some photoshopping and word processing on the road, maybe play a few RTS games, and be able to use the front facing camera with Yahoo Messenger, Skype, etc. I will definitely buy one IMMEDIATELY!!

I'd prefer this HP Slate over the iPad.
This is a lot more functional. The iPad is like something that shares most of the functions that a computer has but not all. That works with a phone, but not with a big ass iPad. The purpose of a phone isn't to be computer, so when you make give it almost all of a computer's functions, it's awesome. Same with an iPod. But when you try to carry that same concept over to the iPad, it falls flat considering the iPad doesn't have a main function to justify the fact that it can't do what this thing can do. It's not like it's supposed to be an MP3 Player like the iPod Touch, and it's not like it's supposed to be a phone like the iPhone. With it having no real purpose other than to be big, it's like "What is it?"
The HP Slate, however, is apparently a computer.

Can't Microsoft do what Apple did, and make a new user friendly mobile OS? The idea of Windows 7 as a table OS doesn't seem appealing to me, with the fact that you have to concern yourself with a lot of maintenance to keep it in peak performance, such as firewall configuration, anti virus software, printer setup, network setup, etc. The thing that makes Apples iPad so appealing is it's ridiculous ease of use. Microsoft could try, as they have more cash and could toss a few dollars to a team of developers. Maybe.

.....Nice mature posts on this topic. GROW Up. How disrespectful of the guy named Leana*******.

But you have to remember, it is running a full desktop OS. of course its going to be slower and take longer to boot. It's windows for crying out loud. Its not even very fast on a powerful machine, let alone a tablet... Give them a break. But I tend to agree with Apple, that the simplified OS is better for a tablet, and that a simplified OS may eventually be the common OS.

You people really don't know what the he'll you are talking about.
Windows in a tablet? Come on look how many problems windows has In a regular desktop or laptop and now look and Mac os and the IOS is based on the Mac OS.
Dude I change my windows 7 laptop for a MacBook pro and let me tell you IT IS THE BEST. THERE IS NO WAY I WOULD EVER COME BACK TO WINDOWS.
The only one reason why I didn't by an iPad was cuz I think its missing some features right now and knowing apple next year there will be another iPad and it's goin to brin a lot more features. That's when I will bulky the iPad. That's what I did when I got my 3G. The 3GS came out and there wasn't a lot new features only a little bit of speed and a little bit of battery bu now this year the iPhone 4 came out and I said hell yeah let me get it and now I have the iPhone 4 and I love it.
So people just forget abou windows and get into the new era cuz apple product is the only thing I see in the future

Prototype or not, that thing fails...hard. I seriously lmao at the ctr-alt-del button, that was ridiculous! I play with the iPad, and just laugh while all these other companies struggle (and fail for that matter) to catch up. Almost reminds me of another touch screen Apple product from a few years ago....

A while back I was thinking, when Apple introduced the iPad and other manufacturers were introducing their own tablets (Courier, among a few others that were cancelled), is it possible that those companies only introduced their products with the intent on canceling them in the future, while at th same time attempting to decrease mind share toasted the iPad? Just a wild thought....

I think we're all missing something fundamental here... Competition breeds innovation.
In the past, tablets haven't worked because the technology simply wasn't there - manufacturers tried to cram desktop technologies into smaller spaces. Just think about the way that mobile phones have changed - they've certainly evolved since the military style brick with an antenna that were around in the 80s. Manufacturers tweak and develop products to appeal to consumers, so we now have a vast array of choice.
Apple came into an existing market and grabbed armfuls of market share because their products work beautifully - now, they've revived (or created!) a market for the iPad and there will be copies. This isn't a bad thing. There are winners and losers in the mobile industry - innovation or death.
Apple will always remain a company that innovates - I saw an advert from the 80s that said that Apple's new Mac would change the world - I like to think that this is still their philosophy.

I think this and the upcoming releases from other companies are not going to be nearly successful as the iPad.
My wife had an android based phone for awhile and I hated it. I have no desire to even try any tablet running android. I have a laptop running windows 7 & and I could never imagine trying to use that on a tablet.
I am actually waiting to see the tablet that hp releases running webOS. I have a palm Pre and even though there was some hardware issues at it was a first generation device the OS is very nice and easy to use. Great Multitasking. I am interested to put that device and the iPad next to each other.

Well, well, well..if it isn't the return of Tebow........and you changed your name to Timbo? C'mon, you can do better than that. A douchbag like yourself could be way more creative.
Anyway, it's been a joy that you disappeared for a while. So, now you are back. And it took a devise like the HP Slate to do it. I know, the iPad is not a computer, no Flash, blah, blah, blah. For you to even comment on it without OWNING one lends to, can I say, your "doughiness".
That felt pretty good. Now, One Love.

Wow, that thing is complicated, clumsy and slow. You have to press a button for the keyboard!?! That will get VERY old very quickly. Half of the time there was no response when scrolling.
I predict it will fail because of it's massive user unfriendliness.

I cannot find the article, but I thought HP had problems with a windows platform due to it being such a power hog, and hence the heating up of the product. That is on smaller products like a phone, or slate. That is why they want to develop the web os into some type of "pad" device to compete with iPad.

Seriously?? Have any of you done ANY research or at the minimum taken the time to realize that the two products are not in the same category. They both have a place in the market. I currently run Windows 7 on an older HP Tablet (TC1100) and it works great! Yes, I own an iPad... and I WILL be buying a Slate (Windows 7 Version)... Do some research... Then please give it all a little adult thought and realize that the HP Slate is going to be a great device for the business world. (Yes, for personal day to day... The iPad rocks... And I can't wait to get my Slate!)

HP slate is for enterprise use. If youdont know what that means, then don't even read this article.
I agree with IPodOwner, it's in 2 completely different markets.

Thank YOU for an objective review, criticisms & all! Usually all we get are cheap shots from Apple Fanbois.
I have an iPad but find it to be of little use, except for RDP'ing back to my desktop PC (and for games).
But I'm waiting for the HP Slate. I don't expect anything more than a modest Netbook with touchscreen capabilities, but that's what I want for getting work done!
And most importantly -- what about the Pen/Stylus. Can you use it while the end of your palm is touching the screen? (i.e., an active digitizer).. What's your experience with it?

This is what happens when you fall behind the curve. Apple is leading, so they only need to go as fast as necessary to keep ahead. They can test their next-gen and next-next-gen products very carefully and polish them before release. Everyone else, especially Microsoft, needs to go as fast as possible to try to catch up. And this is what happens. Beta-quality products get shipped, they suck, and only Apple looks good. Apple keeps winning the race.

@ A.J. - "But Iā€™m waiting for the HP Slate." You should buy one the minute it's released. Instant classic, as in "collectors item." Could be worth money if you sell it to a technology museum in, like, 5 years. (Is that enough of a cheap shot for you? Or does it cut too close to the truth?) Oh, and one more thing. If you want to "get work done," just get a MacBook. Make us all proud.

Calgon, take me awayyyy.
Anyway, comment section madness aside, this product looks seems to have certain really important traits that I want. I wonder if it will also have some traits that are deal-breakers for me like the overheating that Chad mentioned. Long battery life is a must.
I'm already considering alternatives that might complement my existing tech but leave a smaller footprint (physically and financially).
In the end, I want to be able to view a Flash website quickly and easily. I want to be able to use convenient and FREE software without having to BUY an expensive app to run it...or worry about that app disappearing into the ether.
The idea of having Grooveshark, for instance, on a super small, portable, full pc that can do it all sounds damned good to me. What form-factor that might take is still up in the air, but I'm very open - even to the iPad, since I'm grandfathered into unlimited data.

I never cease being amazed at the emotional immaturity on both sides of the Apple vs Microsoft war, whatever the platform being discussed. I've owned an iPad for three months as well as a tablet PC (HP 2730p) and they are two very different camps with a little overlap. My iPad can do a fair amount of content creation with the right Apps and work-arounds, but that's just it, you have to do a lot of "bending" in an enterprise environment. Likewise, my tablet it much larger (3x in size and weight) and there is no touch navigation at all, but OneNote and complete MS Office compatibility trump the iPad in an enterprise network environment. I suspect the HP Slate, albeit slower, will provide the same functionality in the enterprise.
Do I like the iPad interface, speed, and long battery life - more than you will ever imagine. However, I get 80% of the same usablity out of my iPhone, while still having my full office experience at hand with the HP 2730p. Hopefully the Slate will help shed a few extra pounds and inches on that travel premium.
PS - every iFan dissing the ctrl-alt-del button HAS NEVER used Windows 7 - besides the essential need for logging on to a corporate network, it affords fast user switching, logging off, as well as the reset function you are laughing at. It is an essential in a corporate environment; something you'd know if you ever worked in one.

@dksmidtx - Thanks! I don't think I have ever read a more accurate description of the Apple Vs Microsoft camps! I am also a user of both and have always been amazed at as you said the "emotional immaturity" from people. I just hope every day that people will open their minds and realize that "their choice of platform" is not necessarily the "right one"... I make my living supporting both platforms and it has never ceased to amaze me when someone becomes a "convert" to one side or the other...The "ye doth protest too much" has always come to mind for me... There really is a place for both platforms and I do agree on everything you said. I must point out that for those Apple users out there who do exist in a corporate environment (Yes, there are a LOT!) A Citrix environment provides any functionality needed to turn the iPad into a powerhouse. From running a browser with Flash to even a full desktop if needed... BTW to Chad Garrett... Thank You very much for an honest and to the point review of a prototype of the HP Slate... Really no hidden agenda... Up front review of the device!!! Why oh why can't we all live in peace together:)

For the record, and I'm a little surprised by this comment in the article - but the Slate is 5.91" x 8.99" x 0.58" and weighs 1.5lbs. The iPad is 7.47" x 9.56" x 0.5" and weighs 1.5lbs.
That means that the Slate is 0.08" thicker than the iPad - not 2-3 times thicker and exactly the same weight.
As for hairstyles' comment on the number of buttons - seriously - 2 more buttons, that are flush with the sides that you don't really need to use - freaks you out that much?
jfelipe - I used to be a Mac developer - my stuff was even promoted on Apple's website - then I got tired of the crappy tools and weird attitudes and switched to Windows. Haven't regretted it a single day since. It's like moving out of your parents' basement into the real world.

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