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.

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Don't forget your jacket -- Unique expansion accessories

In addition to the ruggedized construction, HP has developed a couple of accessories it calls jackets to make the ElitePad 900 work in various environments.

Battery Expansion Jacket

The first accessory is a small shell that the tablet is popped into that adds an additional 5 hours of battery life through a small battery in the jacket. The jacket is constructed of durable plastic and protects the ElitePad 900 all around with the exception of the screen. The tablet's proprietary charging connector can charge both the jacket battery and the tablet.

Expansion jacket w battery
Expansion Jacket with battery installed

In addition to adding the extra battery life, the jacket has the following ports on the bottom: 2-USB, HDMI, and a full-sized SD slot. The tablet's volume rocker control is replicated on the back of the jacket since it covers the tablet back, as is the power button on top.

The Expansion Jacket with battery adds 0.86lb to the 1.36lb of the tablet alone.

This Expansion Jacket is available from HP for $79 which doesn't include the pop-out battery pack which is sold separately for a whopping $149.

Productivity Jacket

Some tablet owners need a keyboard and HP has produced the Productivity Jacket for them. This is a full case the has a very good keyboard inside. 

KB Jacket closed
Productivity jacket closed with ElitePad 900 inside

Once the tablet is popped into the jacket it becomes more like a laptop than a tablet with a keyboard. The case holds the tablet at three different viewing angles to handle most any use case. The three slots that prop the tablet use magnets to hold the tablet sturdily in place.

It is a full keyboard that is one of the best I've tested on models designed for tablets. The top row of function keys double as tablet controls for one-finger operation.

KB Jacket side

This keyboard has an advantage over most models designed for use with tablets as it uses a physical connection to the ElitePad 900 instead of a Bluetooth connection. The tablet plugs into the jacket through the charging/docking connector. This connection eliminates the short lag before the keyboard can be used as is common with Bluetooth models.

There are two USB ports and a full-sized SD card slot on the back of the Productivity Jacket. There is also a power jack for plugging in the tablet power adapter for operation/charging.

The keyboard does not have any kind of touchpad which would be very useful for Windows 8 operation. All UI interaction must be via the tablet touch screen. While using the case the lack of a touchpad is sorely felt. Even an optical trackstick would have been welcome like that on the ThinkPad Tablet 2 keyboard.

The Productivity Jacket weighs a significant 1.87lb not counting the tablet.

The HP Productivity Jacket is available for a staggering $199 at the time of this review.

Conclusion

HP has produced a solid tablet in the ElitePad 900 that while designed for the enterprise could easily meet consumers' demands. The high price of the tablet and accessories will likely leave consumers behind.

The two jackets provide useful features to the tablet that can handle virtually any environment and work scenario. It is easy to envision the tablet used in the field, especially in warehouse environments.

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

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27 comments
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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.
    dsf3g
    • Yes...

      ...i think you are right. I am surprised that James didn't point that out.
      toph36
      • 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.
        Sacr
    • Right

      I did mention snap view but neglected to mention it's coming. Updating it now, thanks.
      JamesKendrick
      • 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
          • 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.
    miralles
  • 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.
    Jean-Pierre-
  • 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.
    jacksonjohn
    • 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.
    Hemo2
  • 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.
    MichaelInMA
    • 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.
      dcowsky@...
      • 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.
        MichaelInMA
  • Anyone who

    finds a tablet "sexy" needs to get a life! They definitely need to get out more ...
    Unusual1
  • 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.
    jaykayess
    • 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.
      AreV
    • 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.
      CageySee
  • I BEG YOU

    Get Rid of Donald Trumps Ugly face from "You May Also Like"
    sightsandsounds