Product Type: Hewlett-Packard Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... but they also lacked the certain amount of professional quality, design, and performance I required. When I found this, I decided to fil... more
An iPad on the cheap....
HP TouchPad 16 GB
Member Name: kylemonahan
HP TouchPad 16 GB
Advantages: Price, Appearance, Sze
Disadvantages: No 3G connectivity, No expansion slots for storage, Poor camera/No rear-facing camera.
Like the others who have reviewed this product already, I snatched one of these HP Touchpads on the cheap when HP announced that they were being discontinued. I hadn't really been looking for a tablet at that point in time but as they were selling for £89, it was an opportunity too good to miss.
So, the Touchpad arrived and I carefully unpacked it from the well presented packaging. The glossy black appearance on both the back and front of the Touchpad give it a classy look and the feel of the device gives the impression of good build quality. One of the first things I noticed when lifting up the device for the first time was the weight. It was an is heavier than I anticipated although you soon get used to this - it's not so heavy that you can't hold it comfortably. In terms of size, it's around the same as an iPad and the 9.7 inch screen is about the perfect size for a tablet. You'll find little in the way of physical buttons on the Touchpad - one on the top for the Power/Standby, two on the side for controlling the volume and one on the front for on-screen navigation. The result is a sleek but functional product.
After gleefully examining my new purchase, I put together the charger supplied with the device, plugged it in and found a little note on-screen to say that my device wasn't charging fully using the current charger. A bit perplexed, I looked online to find out what was wrong and soon found that it was a common problem with the charger. In most cases, it seems the problem is the USB lead that connects between the device and the charging plug itself. I quickly swapped it for my phone charger lead and the problem was solved. Apparently, you can write to HP and they'll send out a replacement lead - although for the sake of a lead that would cost less than a pound on ebay, I really don't think it's worth the hassle. Anyhow, a full-charge will take around 3-4 hours and will give a reasonably good return in terms of life. I've left my touchpad on standby for well over a week and returned to find that it still had a reasonable charge. Use the internet and battery-hungry sites/applications like YouTube and you'll find the battery life shortens considerably - expect a couple of evening's worth of use if surfing and listening to music.
If you can't live without apps however, there is an alternative option. A group of software developers working under the name of 'CyanogenMod' have 'ported' a 90% working version of Android across to the device and you can download and install it on your Touchpad. What's more, it's installed in a 'dual-boot' format, meaning that you can keep WebOS and choose which one you want to use. The group are also planning to release the latest version of the Android software for the device in the near future - which will be an even bigger improvement.
If you're not that bothered about apps, and all you want from your tablet is a small, handy, web-surfing device on the cheap, then WebOS will meet all your needs.
The device itself if reasonably fast and smooth. This is thanks to a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor which makes multi-tasking a breeze. The processor is one of the best available on any current generation tablet device and easily matches that offered in the iPad.
There is, however, some drawbacks on the hardware side of things. Firstly, there is no option for adding a sim card. While this may not bother most people who don't want to use it as a phone - it does limit the device in terms of internet connectivity as WiFi will be your only means of connection to the internet. Still, nowadays that's not too big a disadvantage as most cafes, hotels and other public places provide WiFi.
Secondly, while there is a camera function....there is only one front-facing camera. What's more, at only 1.3MP, it's hardly world beating and not something that you're really going to be taking high quality pictures with. As the camera is front-facing, it's real use is for video-calling and that's about it. Although that may not be of importance to some people - it will limit the functionality/usability of some popular apps (e.g. barcode scanners, Google Goggles etc)
And thirdly, there's no expansion slots for storage - you can't slot any memory cards in to boost your memory. While 16GB is enough for a tablet like this - who knows what the future holds and what size future apps may be? It would have been nice to have had that option.
Despite these drawbacks, this tablet packs a pretty big punch for the price. Also, with the latest Android 4.0 software due to be ported soon, it will only get better!
Summary: Good tablet for those not wanting to spend a fortune on something they'll only use for surfing...
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