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.