HP TouchPad 32 GB 9.7-Inch
The HP TouchPad—the latest contestant in an increasingly crowded tablet field—brings yet another new mobile operating system (OS) into the tablet OS arena.
With its glossy black plastic chassis and nicely rounded corners, the TouchPad looks relatively attractive from the front, but the back of this tablet smudges up quickly with fingerprints.
Weighing 1.6 pounds and measuring 0.54 inches thick, the TouchPad is heavier and thicker than the original iPad (1.5 pounds, 0.5 inches), nevermind the super-slim iPad 2 (1.3 pounds, 0.34 inches) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab (1.25 pounds, 0.34 inches). We felt the strain on our arm when trying to use the slate one-handed after several minutes.
The front of the TouchPad houses a 1.3-megapixel camera above the display and a physical Home button, similar to the iPad.
Display and Audio
Just like the iPad 2, HP equipped the TouchPad with a 9.7-inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. We prefer the resolution of Android Honeycomb tablets (1280 x 800) because they fit more info on the screen at once, but the 4:3 ratio of the TouchPad makes using the device in portrait mode feel less cramped when reading.
The TouchPad’s screen delivered crisp and bright images, whether we were surfing the web, flicking through pictures in the photos and videos app, or watching YouTube videos. Viewing angles are also plenty wide. However, the iPad 2’s screen looked brighter when we put the two tablets side by side. Also, HP’s screen picks up fingerprints more quickly than Apple’s device.
Main Features and Specs
It’s important first of all to realize some of the advantages that the HP WebOS has. Personally, I found it to be quite intuitive and easy to use, and while I can’t necessarily determine whether or not it can compete with the best Android tablet, the HP TouchPad does give you the power to browse the entire web without any limitation, downloading all the movies, music, books or photos that you want.
Regarding hardware, the HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 32 GB 9.7-Inch Tablet Computer provides you with a high-quality LCD with a screen resolution of 1024 x 768, a 1.2 GHz dual core processor that works very well with the lightweight operating system, and one of the best audio systems that you will find on any tablet.
Just as with webOS phones, you can either press the Home button or swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to minimize apps and launch the home screen, which presents all your open apps as cards. From there you can close apps by flicking them up. On this screen, you can also customize the launch bar at the bottom of the display, so your five favorite apps are always just a tap away.
Tapping the top-right corner of the TouchPad’s screen lets you tweak various settings without having to open the settings menu. A drop-down list enables you to adjust the brightness, toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, mute the sound, engage the rotation lock and more.
When you touch the launcher button, you’ll be greeted with a clean tabbed interface that shows pre-loaded apps first, then downloads, then favorites, then settings. You can tap and hold any app to drag it to another page.
One of the features we like most in webOS 3.0 is that it automatically stacks related cards/apps on top of each other. For example, when we clicked a web link in an e-mail, the TouchPad placed the browser window on top of our inbox in the card view. To get back to the Email app, we just tapped that card, which peeked out from behind the browser card.
One entirely new interface element for webOS 3.0 handle, which allows users to see more options for a panel-style treatment. For example, in the Email app, the left pane lists your accounts (Google, Yahoo, etc.), but when you slide the handle left, those disappear, and you’ll just see your list of messages and the content of whichever message you’ve selected. Push the handle once more, and you can see just the message contents. We like the handle concept in general, but it requires a slight learning curve.
The TouchPad handles notifications elegantly, presenting them in the top-right corner of the screen using a drop-down interface. In this area, you’ll see incoming e-mail and message alerts, upcoming appointments, and other goodies such as music playback controls (when tunes are playing). Our favorite feature here is the ability to swipe through e-mails right in the notification area, so you can decide what’s worth opening. You can also see notifications on the lock screen.
-I enjoyed the multitasking and syncing options that the HP TouchPad provides. Managing my Google and Facebook accounts easily is critical for me, both for work and my personal life, so in this regard, the tablet was a breath of fresh air.
-Also, the notifications that the TouchPad provides you with when you get an email, for example, are far less disturbing than in the case of most iPads. The notification simply appears at the top of the screen, so it doesn’t bother me while I’m reading a book, for example.
-The charging system is another thing I liked about the HP. It’s quite easy to work with, as you just have to slide it into the dock, and you’re all set. You don’t have to work with jacks or complicated wiring, and this can save a lot of time.
-Perhaps the most significant disadvantage that I found was that the app store simply did not have the same amount of applications that you can find for most tablets. This can be a little bothersome if you are used to the thousands of apps you get with an iPad, for instance. However, it isn’t a deal breaker.
-Also, while I was quite pleased with the overall quality of the screen, the touchscreen feature takes a little time getting used to.
To sum it up, depending on what you need from a device of this type, you may still want to continue searching for the best Android tablet; however, if, like me, you are looking for something different, the HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 32 GB 9.7-Inch Tablet Computer can be quite a good alternative.