First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

Summary: After months of waiting, the HP Slate is finally here. I was fortunate enough to get a hands-on look at the Windows 7 Professional-based tablet, and here's what I found.

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After months of waiting, the HP Slate is finally here. I was fortunate enough to get a hands-on look at the Windows 7 Professional-based tablet, and here's what I found.

SET-UP

When I tried out the HP Slate 500, it was well out of the box and already set-up entirely. Being that I only got a chance to play with this 8.9-inch tablet for about 15-20 minutes, this is a first look, first impression review.

The HP Slate definitely felt heavier and sturdier than I imagined before picking it up. One and a half pounds isn't astronomical, but when so compact, it certainly feels a bit like an ultra-slim brick.

Gallery: First look at HP Slate 500

Powered by an Intel Atom Z540 processor, the HP Slate 500 powers up like any other notebook or desktop running Windows 7 by hitting the button pictured above. There aren't many buttons or ports around surrounding the edges, leaving most of the controls to the touch screen. But here is what you will find on the sides: an on/off switch, a power connector, an SD card slot, a USB port, a Home screen button, an onscreen keyboard tab, a headphones jack and volume controls. (Additional connectivity options can be found on the back of the included docking station, which includes another two USB ports, HDMI and a headphones jack.)

USE

The LED-backlit, WSVGA display supports both pen-touch and multi-touch operation. Users can write on the screen with the included (and pictured below) digital pen, which sports a button near the tip that acts as a right-click control. If your handwriting is good enough for a touch screen, then this might be the tablet for you. Mine, not so much. It was a bit like how when I sign my name on those little machines where you slide your credit cards at stores. Messy and illegible. Perhaps that's me and I just need to take more time to practice my handwriting on a touch screen, but I'd rather not bother.

Thus, there is a digital keyboard. I'm not a big fan of these on anything bigger than a smartphone, but that's a personal preference.

However, I do see many potential and likely successful uses for such a portable device. The HP Slate is currently only pre-loaded with Windows 7 because HP expects that most companies will wipe the device clear and install its own software relevant to the particular business. For example, checking up and monitoring inventory of a stall room in a clothing and/or shoe store. Without having to call on a walkie-talkie or walk to the storage room, a sales associate can inform the customer right on the sales floor by looking up the product stock on the Slate.

HP also offered me the example of insurance agents who could use this to photograph and even record a car accident site using the 3-megapixel camera on the back and the webcam on the front. Then the details could be jotted down using the digital pen and also implemented into whatever software program the insurance company decided to install to file the claim immediately via built-in Wi-Fi or an attached 3G USB dongle.

This is definitely not a competitor for the iPad. It might look like one (but just a bit smaller), yet this is not an entertainment or personal device whatsoever. It is geared towards productivity, and it certainly seems that HP made the right decision by going business-friendly with this one. HP and Microsoft seemed a bit lost when the device was first unloaded at CES 2010 earlier this year, meeting poor reception from mostly everyone who saw it. Now, I think this gadget has a much better chance.

AVAILABILITY

Available through HP's direct sales force, the HP Slate 500 is shipping now for $799. The bundle includes a digital pen, a docking station and a portfolio case. If you are an individual consumer but you still want your hands on one of these, you should be able to find it on HP.com

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Topics: Software, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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159 comments
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  • So pay more for a lesser quality device?

    Sorry but I don't see this having that much of a demand .... specially when the specs aren't that good and the OS is not good for a touch screen.

    To make matters worst, it is way overpriced for a device that will have to be WIPE-OUT and an additional license for the OS must be purchased and installed (based on TFA) before it would be useful to anybody.
    wackoae
    • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

      @wackoae That's not how it works. When you're a corporate Windows customer you typically have to buy Windows for every system. It doesn't matter if it's already got an OS, doesn't run Windows or even can't run Windows. I remember talking to a rep (when I did this) and being told that I had to buy licenses for our PowerMacs even though they couldn't run Windows and we had no intention of running Windows on them! You do get very preferential pricing... but yeah, first time you hear it, it's a bit hard to swallow.<br><br>So wanting to blast the machines and install a custom image isn't the problem it might seem.
      Jeremy-UK
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Jeremy-UK

        I think that you have misunderstood what the "rep" told you. You definitely do NOT have to buy new licenses for every machine that you have (even if they came with a license). If you bought a machine that was delivered with a license for Win XP Pro (as an exemple), you don't need to buy a NEW license this machine. You only have to buy a CAL for it. Likewise, you don't need to buy licenses for machines that cannot/aren't going to run windows (such as MAC machines). If these machines are going to connect to a Windows Server, then you have to by CALs for these machine, but these are NOT full licenses!!
        nebc100
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Jeremy-UK : Although I see your point (my company does that and has standby images ready to be installed on a CAL basis), I also think this computer falls in mostly the same category as most other Windows-based tablets, that is a "solution looking for a problem".<br><br>The problem's that, in the past, companies had no other options. Right now they could save $200 and go the Galaxy Tab route or pony $300 less, leverage any upcoming App Store garden variety solution and go the iPad route.<br><br>Tragically, this new tablet does not showcase the Windows 7 and Intel's Atom duo, but rather just serve as evidence of how back they trail, in this horse race.
        cosuna
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Jeremy-UK
        Just remember, in the end, Microsoft will always get paid.
        mgaul
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Jeremy-UK
        Well in the US we call that an antitrust violation and predatory pricing - both illegal. That is only one of the reasons the US Gov sued Microsoft in Supreme Court of Delaware. Reult: Microsoft violated antitrust laws - stop and desist orders for requiring just as you described.
        Dalece
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @nebc100 Yes, you do not need to buy a new license to new machines. No, corporations still do it as it is faster and effective way and they do not care about the license cost as it is less in big upgrades than what would use the licenses in stickers.

        Corporations bought almost always a 2x more licenses what they really use. They do not care about the preinstalled Windows as they format the drive and they push their own image to them, where is their licenses preconfigured. Every computer what came with the Windows license is just for nothing. And workers can not even use those licenses in their home computer as they are OEM licenses and tied to that machine.

        Microsoft makes billions just by that OEM preinstalled windows systems gets formated and corporation image gets in.

        Smaller companies (1-9 computers) in other hand do it by hand and they use the OEM licenses mostly of the times. As they do not need automatic system installation with custom media installation.

        Still, even that you do not need to buy volume licenses, they are cheap as water for corporations and it just makes their times faster and they even saves money by doing so. Microsoft gets just higer rate for the Windows sale rate and the market share, even that 30-50% of the market share is just air.
        Fri13
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Jeremy-UK That looks awesome! Looks so much better than the ipad 2 but I just want to know how usable it is? How does windows 7 actually run on the HP slate?
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      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Jeremy-UK
        You definitely don't need a windows machine to be compatible with your current system. Furthermore If you bought a machine that was delivered with a license for Win XP Pro (as an exemple), you don't need to buy a NEW license this machine
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    • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

      @wackoae You don't HAVE to wipe out the OS. But most corporations want to install a customized Windows image with their applications installed.
      Windows 7 has touchscreen support.
      Spatha
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Spatha
        "Windows 7 has touchscreen support."
        So did Windows 95 with the ELO serial device driver.
        kenift
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @kenift Are you trying to be funny or merely ignorant??

        Win95 did NOT have touchscreen support with or without an ELO - the ELO was just a stupid mouse surrogate - the device sent data to the OS impersonating a mouse

        Win7 has full multitouch support built into the OS - there's no comparison
        archangel9999
      • Unless...

        @Spatha I want to install the same set of software over and over again 55 (55 is the number of PC's in the organization) times.
        cornpie
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Spatha Windows 7 does have a touchscreen support like any other software system out there (the OS does not make difference is the input coming from mouse, pen or from touchscreen). But Windows 7 still isn't designed to work well with touch screens. The superpanel does have one nice small function (what you get when you swipe your finger up) but the whole Windows 7 GUI is still WIMP by design. It just does not work on touch screens. The whole GUI in Windows (all applications, desktop etc) would demand full re-designing to get it touch screen compatible. That is one reason why Apple does not bring touch screens in iMac or Mac Pro line as Mac OS X interface is not compatible for it because WIMP design. Thats why Apple made iOS, a totally different software system with same OS as in Mac OS X for the touchscreen devices like iPhone and iPad. The iOS GUI is not WIMP by design and it makes Apple mobile devices so great.

        Microsoft got this in their Windows Phone 7 -series and in Zune. Even that they use CE as operating system in them and not the NT (MS use two different OS, Apple use just one) the GUI is totally different in the system. Thats why WP7 will work better way as it was designed for touch screens.

        There are few F/OSS GUI's for other OS's like Linux what are designed for touch screens. One of them is the Android's GUI, Bada's, MeeGo and so on. Then there are Netbook GUI's what are designed as well for the touch screens. They work with other OS's as well than just with Linux. You can actually use HURD or FreeBSD as the OS with them. But the point is, the GUI needs to be designed for the touch screen, OS supporting it is not enough.
        That is might be the biggest reason why Microsoft can not ever challenge competitors in tablets unless it use the dominant market position in corporation servers.
        Fri13
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Spatha Thanks for sharing. i really appreciate it that you shared with us such a informative post..
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    • A very useful device indeed.

      @wackoae From cash register to mobile payment or inventory system. The docking interface will be used by third party to entend and connect the tablet to countless devices and extend it's useability. Don't worry it is not an ipad killer nor is it supposed to be. But it may make it even harder for ipad to get inside the enterprise. And you can be sure that Apple's hater will use it as an alternative to an ipad.
      provincialplace@...
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @provincialplace@... : Are you sure or just speculating.

        It seems to me, that Enterprise, when shown the options will give the fact that iPad can only go down in price (as witnessed by the iPhone and also given the component count which is identical to the $99 Apple TV) and this baby will only drop a notch or two to avoid cannibalizing on Laptop and Netbook sales.
        cosuna
    • Does not compete

      I find it amusing that a month ago, anything that was flat and battery-powered was hailed as "the iPad killer," but now as these devices actually appear for sale, their manufacturers are all trying to hide from the iPad by ducking into niche markets. "Compete with the iPad? Not us! Ours is for the enterprise! We at Asymptote sell only to vertical markets! The Songsung is only for people who want the world's biggest cellphone. Don't compare us to iPad!"

      I think these guys have looked at Android, looked at the supply situation for touch-screen displays and so on, and realized that Apple has 'em by the horns. The smartest thing to do is what HP did: appeal to the people who think they want a Windows machine in an iPad form factor. There will be some of those; Apple can't touch them; and they will expect to pay more. But an "iPad killer"? Not even close. If they sell 1/10th as many units, they'll consider it the best they could have done under the circumstances.
      Robert Hahn
      • RE: First look: HP Slate 500 with Windows 7 Professional

        @Robert Hahn Absolutely correct, I see you agree with the author, it is not competing with the ipad. This device not a toy. Though, it is friggin' expensive.
        chinese.bookie
      • None of these devices "compete"

        @Robert Hahn When I iPad came out I thought it was way over priced for what it was. The Android and Windows based tablets coming out are even worse...yet my opinion of the iPad has not changed: too expensive for what it is. I won't be buying any of them.
        cornpie