MWC 2013: HP's $169 Slate 7 Android tablet hands-on

MWC 2013: HP's $169 Slate 7 Android tablet hands-on

Summary: HP has announced its first Android-powered tablet and it will cost just $169, but does it have the skills to go up against the best of the rest at the lower end of the market?

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  • HP's Slate 7 runs the 4.1 build of Android Jelly Bean rather than the slightly newer 4.2 version found on a number of well-specced smartphones from manufacturers such as Samsung.

    Unlike other vendors, the OS is stock Android meaning HP decided to avoid the manufacturer customisations found elsewhere. While it means there are no HP-specific features that we know of, standard builds of Android tend to receive software updates sooner than manufacturer or operator-customised versions.

    It does, however, come with HP's ePrint application.

  • Under the bonnet there is a 1.6GHz dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor and 8GB of internal memory, which can be expanded using a microSD card.

    At first glance, the Slate 7 is not unlike the Galaxy Tab or Tab 2, although it is a little thinner than the original Galaxy Tab and the chassis is stainless steel.

  • Other notable specs of the Slate 7 include a 3-megapixel camera on the rear and a VGA quality front-facing camera for video calling.

    Perhaps the most compelling spec on the device is the $169 price tag, which pits it in direct competition with rival Android-based devices like the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire.

    In addition to mid-range specs for a low-end asking price, the HP Slate 7 also offers Beats Audio integration and promises five hours of video playback from one full charge, according to HP.

    While it will likely appeal to some consumers and small-to-medium sized businesses as an inexpensive way to get their first tablet, it is likely to see stiff competition in an increasingly crowded market place, particularly from the likes of Google's own-branded Nexus devices.

    All images: Ben Woods/ZDNet

Topics: Tablets, Hewlett-Packard, Mobility, MWC

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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19 comments
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  • Two smart decisions

    Two smart decisions:

    1. Using bog standard Android
    2. SD card slot

    For people whose main use is storage intensive, rather than speed-demanding, say showing off family photos and videos, the SD slot is a winner. Google take note: Cloud storage is a crock for 90% of the population.
    splatman
  • Meh....

    This tablet is a "you get what you pay for" kind of device. These are basically throwaway devices.
    gud2seau
    • Every piece of electronics .....

      becomes a "throw away" device.

      I do not get your point. If it meets someone's needs and budget, it is a good solution for them, even if you ignorantly hold your nose.

      Astounding mindlessness.
      D.T.Long
    • Throw away?

      I highly doubt the majority of the people who buy this would consider $169 to be throw away money.
      Would you please throw $169 my way?
      dangeorges
    • It's only a "throwaway" device if...

      you are careless enough to drop it and smash it. If someone buys one in April when they are
      released and uses it carefully they may very well still be using it two or three years down the line, especially since it won't require rooting to get rid of all the OEM crapware that comes on other devices.
      bunkport
      bunkport
  • Hands on?

    Not as much a hands on article as it is a clumsy rundown of the specs (and an incomplete one to boot).
    dangeorges
  • Touchpad competitor?

    I wonder if this will compare favorably to my $150 Touchpad running CM9.
    RandiTrollop
    • Yeah, I would

      I would trade in my Touchpad cm9 with this in a heartbeat.
      Aliephe
  • A picture of a hand next to a device is not a "hands-on" the device

    Neither is regurgitating the same crappy specs everybody else has being posting for the past few days.
    wackoae
  • solid device

    Pretty solid device for it's price...great decision to have an almost stock android OS.....I might get one of these as a secondary tablet....
    oaba10
  • Who would buy this vs a Nexus7

    HP was once a great engineering company but now they can't even do a simple tablet. The Nexus7 came out nearly a year ago, an eternity in mobile device time, yet this HP thing isn't remotely competitive. The most important spec on a tablet is the screen, the N7 has a 1280x800 display, this has a useless 1024x600 display. The other really important thing is the software, while I'm happy that HP has chosen not to mess up Andoid with their own variant there is no excuse for a tablet that isn't even shipping yet to already be a revision behind, that doesn't bode well for the future.

    The other stupid decision is to put a rear facing camera in it. Tablet's don't need a rear facing camera. Almost everybody who owns a tablet also owns a smartphone. The phone is much better form factor for a camera then a tablet. They should have left the rear facing camera out and put the money into the screen or if they really belive that they had to have a camera they should have put a decent sensor into it, 3Mpixels in 2013? what were they thinking.
    bjrosen
    • Really? 1024x600?

      1024 x 600 seems ridiculously low res. There are 4.3" hand sets with better. Granted, I'm probably not in the device's target market, but if this is HP's idea of taking the Google device market by storm, they should have just mailed it in.
      Njia1
    • rear facing camera

      is an absolute must for me as I use it for barcode scanning and receipt scanning which would not be practical with front camera only.
      warboat
  • A throw away budget

    They would have been better off recreating the Touchpad with up to date specs and running Android or Win RT than putting out a product that can't compete. It's hard to believe they actually pay someone to come up with something like this. They need to clean house and while sill able, do a 360, and like GenMotors start innovating.
    primartcloud
  • Another Failure

    Going with Android is a common user death march. HP needed to come strong with an enterprise device, but they failed again. They need an enterprise OS that supports PKI/Smart Card login... and the hardware. If HP can manage to integrate card readers on their keyboards and laptops, why can they not manage to implement the same for a tablet...
    tomxfoolery
  • did the people who complain notice the price?

    For $169 the device is a good deal. I hate people who try to compare a $169 device to a $299 device.Why not just rip it apart because it is not a iiPad.. .. for the money I would buy one just for travel or a kid . At that price when it gets broken or stolen it is not such a big deal. I do agree the rear camera may not be needed but for kids who do not have a smart phone , they would disagree. Just because a device is not for you it does not make it a bad idea.
    dave0420
    • That assumes you can do anything with cheap crap

      And history has shown that cheap crap is usually useless or has a very short lifespan.
      wackoae
      • all tablets ARE cheap crap

        except some manufacturers charge double for the cheap crap.
        I'm pretty sure this tablet runs most games and 99% of android apps so it is not useless.
        warboat
        • Used to Agree

          As I used computers for business and not personal things until not long ago, I tended to agree with you. But then I wound own the business and shelved my desktops and 17" laptops for a netbook that originally I could not figure out why anyone would want only tofind out they had a use. Finally decoded to spring for a tablet but for the prices asked for Apple and others could not justify it mentally. The Android based units seemed too dependent on the Internet and Google. Finally went with a BB Playbook and it has replaced the netbook. It is neither spec challenged nor cheap feeling. I easily expect to use it for 3-4 years so pee year cost will be about the same as my desktops and laptops. It is not a matter of initial cost but the annual cost per year until end of life that matters.
          BrianLevyEsq