I just bought an HP Slate and I'm happy about it

I just bought an HP Slate and I'm happy about it

Summary: The HP Slate is HP's answer to the Post PC tablet device trend and it's a good one. My HP Slate is as cool as an iPad mini at half the cost.

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I just bought an HP Slate and I'm HaPpy about it

Yes, I have a full-size iPad 4 but I decided to jump on an HP Slate when I saw it on Amazon for $159*. My wife loves her iPad mini. My daughter loves her iPad mini. Once I used my wife's iPad mini for a few hours and I changed my mind about the diminuitive device. It's small and portable and awesome. I was jealous. I had tablet envy. I was now on a quest to acquire my very own small tablet computer.

I didn't want to spend another $350 or more on a small tablet, so I searched for an Android-based one. If you recall from a previous post, I wanted an Android tablet before I ever got my first iPad. But, at the time, my Android choices just didn't measure up, so I opted for the iPad.

All that has changed.

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There are a lot of good Android choices now: The Samsung, the Lenovo, the Dell, but the HP Slate was the best deal for me. For $159 (Amazon Prime Price), I was buying the best available product for the money. 

My HP Slate is the Slate 7 Plus with the following specs:

  • Android - Jelly Bean 4.2.2
  • Kernel - 3.1.10-g26301e2
  • CPU - NVIDIA Tegra 3
  • Screen - 7-inch diagonal WVA HD multitouch-enabled screen (1280 x 800)
  • Memory - 1 GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage - 8 GB eMMC

What's not to love with those specs?

Sure, I checked out tablets ranging from $59 up to $359 but the Slate has everything I want, including HP quality at a price that I really liked. And, yes, I do work for HP but my employer had nothing to do with my choice of tablet. I selected the tablet that had the right price and specifications for me. I'm sorry if that puts you off but it's true. I made the choice on getting the most bang for the buck—not based on who signs my paycheck.

One of the very cool, and unexpected things, about having an Android tablet is that as soon as I logged into my Google account, all the apps that I'd installed to my Android-based phone appeared on my tablet. That's a bonus. It's especially a bonus since I've recently abandoned my Android-based phone in favor of a Windows-based one**.

I didn't have many personal apps on my Android phone because I didn't own it but I had three or four that I wanted to keep. Sure, I could have downloaded them again, if I'd remembered what they were—but I didn't have to remember or even fret over them because there they were waiting for me like old friends.

The Slate 7 Plus is responsive and nimble. It feels good in my hands. It's very light and has good balance. I really like that I've never had to tap twice to get my app of choice to launch. There are other tablets that I've tried that seem to have problems with that. And not just Android ones. I've had a bit of trouble launching apps on the iPad.

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The screen is bright and clear. The graphics are excellent and very sharp.

The Slate 7 Plus has very good sound too. Even cranked all the way up, music and voice both sound perfect on it. The cameras are good and well placed for ease of use. I really like the auto focus and manual focus features. The 'face finder' feature is excellent and fast. The quality is 5MP for the rear-facing camera with 720p video. Not fantastic but pretty good.

It has a micro SD slot (expandable up to 32GB) and a standard 3.5mm earbud port. The charger is an industry standard USB type. The USB/mini USB interface doubles as a USB interface for other devices as well as your charger interface.

Unlike most tech gadgetry that I buy, I haven't had any buyer's remorse. I genuinely like the Slate 7 Plus.

If I were to pick out any flaws with my HP Slate 7 Plus it would be that the charger plugs in at the top of the device and not at the bottom where I would expect the charger interface to be. That's a pretty minor complaint but it does feel awkward in my hands when I use it while it's plugged in. Perhaps it's not meant to be used while plugged in. With up to 7.5 hours of battery life, maybe it isn't usually necessary to do it. My bad.

While this isn't a formal product review, it is a product spotlight. If you're in the market for an Android tablet, I suggest that you check out the HP Slate 7 Plus before you decide. At $159, you can buy a lot of accessories, hundreds of hours of music, a few movies, a nice case, and have money left over for dinner compared to that of the iPad mini.

As a side note, I even like the name "Slate" for a tablet computer. It gives me the impression that I'm going to use it for writing (and can because it features Bluetooth for a keyboard for example) and it gives me the feeling that there's no limit to what I can do with it, as in it being a blank slate, kind of like a blank canvas. Slate is a well thought out name. I like it. Yes, I know it's just a name but still. There's nothing embarrassing about saying, "Just a sec, let me grab my Slate". It sounds more masculine than saying, "Hang on, while I grab my iPad". Yeesh. That's even hard to write. 

In a few weeks, I'll let you know what kind of success I have with the Slate 7 Plus. Right now, I'm Happy, but you never know how I'll be when the wind changes. Stay tuned.

*I should have looked at HP's consumer products site first. The Slate 7 Plus sells for $149 with free standard shipping. Live and learn. I'm sure I also could have gotten an employee discount but didn't. I am not a smart shopper.

**Corporate phone. My personal phone is still the iPhone 5. Just an FYI so that you don't get confused.

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Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Tablets

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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17 comments
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  • I have one as well....

    And I cant complain about it.
    Koymik
    • Yes but...

      It's real price is not $159.00 on Amazon. You have to pay $79.00 to become a member of Prime. A better place to buy it is Walmart. $149.00 with no member fees. Walmart - where all the best products are sold...bwahahaha!
      DontUseMicrosoftAtAll
      • Uh no....

        .... you don't "have to" buy into Prime, only if you buy lots of stuff over the course of a year and want two-day shipping at no cost at the time of purchase. It works out to be a good deal, depending on how often you use Amazon.
        dencarlson
  • I have one as well....

    And I cant complain about it.
    Koymik
  • My wife works for HP too....

    When this came out HP offered the employees a whopping $10 off. You did better with Amazon depending where you live because HP's site charges Tax in all 50 states. The Slate had some missing items that other tabs do not. No HDMI out, only a dual core, but a 7in android is a very good way to go. You should feel good about your iphone HP gives my wife a 12 key flip phone.
    joe@...
    • smart shopping

      I have both too. the employee discount was not huge, but rarely is. the fire-sale for touchpads, was a notable example, and now there appears to be a huge graymarket for those because they are RELIABLE and HP stands behind the hardware if not the webOS. I dual booted my touchpad with cyanogen 10 (not a lot of apps but it works good). You can't dual-boot a slate 7 as far as I know but I mostly use both of them on android anyhow. The touchpad died and HP replaced it, no questions asked, within about five days. never had any trouble with the slate 7 and although I paid about full price for it, it's yards better than the cheapie 7 inchers at about a third of the price. Just would have liked batteries that last longer and perhaps a faster wifi connection. huge apps available for the slate7 android load, of course. most of which it turns out I do not need, but i would have liked more browser choices for the webos touchpad and better streaming video drivers for the android loads.
      tavent
  • I had the Amazon Kindle

    I bought the older Amazon Kindle HD because it was so cheap after they upgraded to the latest one. I thought it was a terrific tablet. So easy to hold. Did everything well. My iPad sat unused. But then I got an Asus Windows 8.1 tablet on a ten inch screen because it too was so cheap and so svelte. I have to say I gave the Kindle to my sister. The Asus tablet is just amazing. With the option of full Windows, I just never use anything else, including my laptop. A Bluetooth keyboard (a nice Apple one I had, thank you very much) and mouse, and I'm good to go. 8.1 on a tablet is just awesome, it really is.
    Steve Pugliese
  • HP Slate

    It, like most other Android products, is a 16:9 aspect ratio device, which means that it has somewhat less screen area than the iPad mini. I bought an Android tablet with a 4:3 aspect ratio and 8" diagonal, and in spite of not being a real competitor in quality, or ease of use, to the iPad mini, it serves the intended niche use I had in mind for it. I have two major complaints, and one of those is that the Android interface is just not as responsive as the iOS interface, and the much bragged about customizeablity I have read about seems absent. So far, I have found it less easy to change things to my preference than on iOS. Maybe when I am higher up the learning curve...
    rphunter1242
    • the thing is, its not really the "android interface" isn't as responsive

      its the particular tablet's cheap hardware makes any software not as responsive.

      Lets see how iOS runs on the same hardware. But, we can't.

      Unsuprisingly, an ipad at $2-300 more is going to be more responsive.


      If anything the complaint about *android* would be that the apps tend to be not as rich on a tablet and fewer of them. Case in point, spotify. Its really really nice on iOS, and on android I think its still only a blown up phone app.

      I also don't like the navigation bar in landscape mode on a 16:9 tablet wasting all that space. I wish there were more that had an iPad aspect ratio, but they are all afraid to violate apple's patent on that.

      Nevertheless I'm selling my ipad mini retina to get a lenovo tablet 10 and have some cash left over to get some other stuff.

      I think iOS on a smaller tablet is not appropriate, as steve jobs himself said. The controls are too small and I actually find navigating around to be unintuitive, particularly with iOS 7. I was also surprised to find that the keyboard changes color and styles. Apparently statically linked into each app. At the same time, I don't want to spend a lot of time on a 10" tablet.

      I find android to at least be more consistent and intuitive.
      drwong
  • It's a little light on disk space

    Can't imagine getting by on less than 16 gig....
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • He's running

      Android, so there isn't many apps that run on it other than stretched out smartphone apps. He probably doesn't do much than the basics. you know turning it on, browsing the internet.
      RichDavis1
      • Is that a joke or a troll?

        I have owned Android tablets for many years and have found no shortage of apps.. Googles market is bigger than Apples now and has been for a while.... Also Android apps scale way better with size than Apple because of the way the framework is designed.

        Also, since most Android phones in the western world are now over 4.7 inches in size and many well over 5 inches.. it doesn't take much to stretch that to 7 inches.. unlike apple which sometimes stretches apps for widescreen 3.5/4.0 inch phones to work on 4:3 tablets... there are no 4:3 android phones anymore if there ever were.. so it isn't an issue.
        frankieh
  • HP Slate 7HD

    I bought this model, not only for the brand but also because of the free 4G...and I am not in the least bit sorry. I've only had it since 2/7/2014 but I'm loving it. The only picky, picky complaints I have are: I can't see the time when I'm using Aldiko (for reading) and I there is no light or signal to let me know the battery is charged. No big deal for those, though, and it's possible that I may not have discovered the solutions, if any.
    horusbedhetys@...
  • 8GB of storage?

    I can't do much with 8GB of storage.

    Jelly Bean 4.2.2? Um, the latest version is KitKat 4.4.

    7 inch screen? The iPad mini has a 7.9 inch screen with a resolution of 2048x1536, not 1280x800.

    32bit processor vs 64 bit processor? You are aware that the iPad mini has a 64 bit processor.

    No wonder it's only $159, it's trying to compete against a Kindle, not an iPad mini.

    And how many Android apps are specifically developed for a tablet and not a stretched out smartphone? Sorry, but I call it how I see it.
    RichDavis1
    • Really?

      I hope u do understand that there's a huge price gap between those two devices first of all...

      Now onto your arguments..

      Resolution on that screen size doesn't matter that much because the human eye cannot distinguish after a certain point.. So you definitely don't need that much high res on something so small..

      32-bit vs 64-bit... Do u even know what are the advantages of a 64-bit processor? Pretty much the fact that the device can use more than 4GB of RAM... None of those devices have more than 4GB of RAM nor you need it... Also the apps need to be programmed in a way to take advantage of the 64-bit architecture... So the iPad having a 64-bit CPU is totally a gimmick.

      Also there a lot of apps that are made for a tablet in android... And fortunately the ones that aren't made for tablet scale extremely well.. Unlike your precious iOS that is horrid when it comes to scaling apps to tablet mode.
      bandora89
      • Oh and one more thing...

        Sure it has 8GB of storage but you can also expand it using a MicroSD... Another thing that iPad can't do...
        bandora89
  • About its battery...

    I'm thinking about to buy a Lumsing portable battery pack charger to keep this slate working all day...
    enjg115