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

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, Reviews, Tablets, Bring Your Own Device

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  • Snap view

    If I recall correctly, the side-by-side view you mention is called Snap View by Microsoft, and I believe that one of the changes that Windows 8.1 brings to the table is that it enables snap-view on smaller screens also. I suspect, then that this machine will be snap-view capable before too long.
    • Yes...

      ...i think you are right. I am surprised that James didn't point that out.
      • Soon

        Let's also point out that 8.1 should hit RTM in about 3 weeks, and will likely be released to the public any time between the end of this and end of next month.
    • Right

      I did mention snap view but neglected to mention it's coming. Updating it now, thanks.
      • JamesKendrick....in my opinion the Surface RT was a better choice

        as a plain tablets are to limited to really do anything meaningful.

        Thats why I'll stay with a full powered laptop.
        Over and Out
        • Atom tablets are more functional.

          Most enterprises have some sorts of proprietary programs.

          It's easier adding touch support than it is porting it for another platform.

          Additionally, professional-grade software is pretty expensive.

          Why would I re-buy an inferior version of Photoshop for Android/iOS/RT when I can run it with one of my volume licenses on an Atom tablet?

          It's also easier to sync an 8 tablet to network features than an RT one.

          Servers for example, can be discovered without problems, so long as the proper software is installed.

          Some drivers won't work with mobile operating systems.
          • ForeverCookie...And who in their right mind runs a full version

            of Photoshop on any tablet.

            Photoshop will always be BEST served on a Desktop or Laptop.

            End Of Story
            Over and Out
  • It is a nice tablet indeed, but...

    Actually, I think the 1280 x 800 (16:10) resolution on this tablet is great, since it allows it to be used comfortably in portrait mode (this is very subpar on the 16:9 resolution of most other tablets out there). I wish there were more Windows 8 tablet options with 16:10 (let alone the 4:3).

    The weakest point I found in this tablet was the digitizer and pen. It is very bad compared to other options, and the main reason I decided to sell this tablet a few weeks after I got it.
  • expansion jacket

    We have some of these and the expansion jackets are not well made at all.

    The hole for the audio jack is too small and not well centered. Some (I want to say most) of the headphones we tried on them don't fit.

    Also the jacket is real slippery which makes the 2lbs tablet+jacket awkward to hold.
  • Sexy? no. Pricey? And then some ...

    1280x800 sexy? Where you been man?
    $700 without accessories, pricey? And then some ...

    Let's just tell MSFT and these OEM's to have a look at the iPad ... and then do better ... and then we might just be interested.

    Asis? Dead duck.
    • There is more to a screen than resolution

      But I assume you knew that.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Too costly

    It's just too costly to equip it with accessories and a decent warranty. You end up with a $900+ underpowered ATOM device that just doesn't make any sense.
  • ZDNet Kickbacks

    I think ZDNet must be getting a kickback from HP. I think this is the 3rd article about this HP tablet. If was a really great product that advanced the features / cost ratio I could understand. This is high cost pixelated ho-hum product. The only thing going for it is the HP logo.
    • Flag

      Notice how you get flagged when speaking against Microsoft and there connection with this site. I only come to this site for comic relief anymore.
      • As I expected

        I figured the title would get flagged but I wonder if they read the rest of the post to see the logic behind the title? I still find it amazing how many articles there have been on this one ho-hum product.
  • Anyone who

    finds a tablet "sexy" needs to get a life! They definitely need to get out more ...
  • USB ports issue

    There is no mention of USB ports in the tablet. And the article doesn't state whether the USB ports in the jackets are 3.0 or not. Without both these, it's a show,stopper,as,far as I'm concerned.
    • I own the X2, this looks like a good concept too!

      But I agree about USB 3 ports. That is the only place I fault my X2. It is slower by a small bit than my desktops, but much faster than my Samsung original Tab 10.1 was. I rarely use the keyboard but for trips it is great. I would love to find a molded rubber skin for the X2 like the jacket without the extra battery. I had one on my Tab 10.1 and am still looking for one for this one. If more folks bought the X2, perhaps we'd see more positive comments than only ones from those who never owned any of them, yet pretend to expertise. Mr. Kendrick got my attention by writing about what he owns and bought out of pocket.

      None of the 11.6 Windows 8 Tablets I have seen have USB 3 from any brand. They are all obviously using the same motherboard for all of these. Time to upgrade. They need to hang in there until the ignorant ones try them too. I had no idea how much I liked Windows 8 until this touch tablet X2. We've seen only one touch Windows 8 tablet owner other than me and Mr. Kendrick. I don't use a pen, have a Lynx 11.6"Windows tablet for the wife, and very recent desktops as we don't share computers well. I use the Tablet all day. I use my desktop several times a week now, rarely turning it on.

      When HP comes out with a new model, plastic backed and slightly lighter, with USB 3.0 ports, and maybe Four GBs of RAM, I'll upgrade. Love the form factor and build quality. USB 3.0 and a bit more RAM would be just about perfect.
    • Not likely to be USB 3

      I don't think the current generation Atom chipset supports USB 3. I suspect that if you want the performance of USB 3, you are not really in the market for an Atom-based machine anyway.

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