HP ElitePad 900: Sexy but pricey tablet for the enterprise (review)

Summary:The tablet market may be driven by the consumer but this Windows tablet from HP is looking to get into the enterprise with unique features.

Tablet alone
HP ElitePad 900 -- ruggedized but as svelte as the iPad

When you think of tablets you probably don't think of the workplace, although some are trying to embrace the technology. Even the ads for Microsoft's Surface tablet, while showing workers using them, are filled with dancing and acrobatics that don't really bring the workplace to mind.

Tablet thinness
Thin as the iPad

The HP ElitePad 900 is aimed squarely at the enterprise with some unique features that the company believes will make the tablet right at home there. On the surface the ElitePad 900 is an attractive 10.1-inch tablet that rivals the competition in looks and form.

The sleek form of the 900 is slightly lighter than the iPad and about as thin. It is comfortable to use in the hand for extended periods and doesn't particularly look like a work system.

See related:  ThinkPad Tablet 2: Best Windows tablet  | ThinkPad Tablet 2: First look | ThinkPad Tablet 2: Inking in Windows 8 |  ThinkPad Tablet 2: First impressions

That's because the biggest enterprise-class feature of the ElitePad 900 is hidden under the surface. HP has designed the tablet to handle the bumps of the workplace as it meets the strict military MIL-spec standards. It is a big achievement for HP to meet these standards in such a thin, light form. Impressively, the 900 is slightly smaller than HP's own Envy x2 tablet which isn't ruggedized.

Hardware specs as reviewed:

  • Processor: Intel Atom, 1.8GHz
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 8MP- rear; 1080p- front
  • Communications: Wi-fi 802.11a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; NFC
  • Display: 10.1-inch, 1280x800, Corning Gorilla Glass 2 cover
  • Dimensions: 10.28x7.0x0.36in; 1.36lb
  • Ports: Combo microSDHC/SIM slot
  • Mobile broadband: HSPA+ (not tested)
  • Battery: 25WHr (10.25 hours)

Tablet use

Tablet back

The ElitePad 900 is a nice Windows 8 tablet due to its svelte form. The 10.1-inch size is ideal for typical tablet functions as it feels comfortable in the hands for long periods. The 900 handles most functions of Windows 8 with ease and style.

Strangely, HP decided to use a display in the ElitePad 900 that only handles a screen resolution of 1280x800. This means that until Windows 8.1 comes out later this year, the 900 cannot do the nice function of Windows 8 that allows displaying two apps side-by-side, This decision by HP is odd as snap view is particularly suited for work tasks and the lack of it is clearly felt. HP should have used a display with 1366x768 which works fine on a 10-inch screen as demonstrated on other tablets (e.g. ThinkPad Tablet 2). The display is otherwise quite bright and vivid.

Screen resolution aside, the ElitePad 900 is a typical Atom-based tablet running Windows 8. The performance doesn't set the world on fire but it handles most tasks with ease. Most things run handily with occasional hesitation if lots of apps are running.

The HP ElitePad 900 is a solid tablet for the enterprise that can stand up to rough handling. It is attractive enough to be comfortable in the board room yet solid enough to go to work in the field or warehouse. Field work could be particularly useful with proprietary uses for the integrated NFC in the tablet.

The enterprise focus is apparent in the pricing of the 900. At the time of this review the ElitePad 900 was priced at various online retailers at around $700. There is an optional pen (not reviewed) that HP sells for $49. This pen does not use Wacom technology and thus doesn't support the hover feature that some Windows 8 functions require.

Next: Don't forget your jacket -- Unique expansion accessories

Topics: Mobility, Bring Your Own Device, Reviews, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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