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HP Pro Tablet 608 G1 review: Compact and well-built, but expensive

hp-pro-tab-608-main.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    7.9 Very good
  • $479.00

Pros

  • Excellent 7.9-inch screen
  • Exemplary build quality
  • Mobile broadband support

Cons

  • Only one USB port (USB-C)
  • Moderate performance
  • Disappointing audio quality
  • Higher-end configurations are expensive

Windows tablets don't enjoy the same popularity as Android tablets or Apple's iPad, but that doesn't stop the big players releasing them. When we looked at Lenovo's ThinkPad 10 recently, we found it somewhat over-priced and under-powered. Has HP got the mix right with its new Pro Tablet 608 G1?

hp-pro-tablet-608-main2.jpg

HP's Pro Tablet 608 G1 has a 7.9-inch screen and weighs from 420g.

Image: HP Inc

The Pro Tablet 608 G1 is a relatively compact device with a 7.9-inch screen nestling in a chassis measuring 137mm by 207mm by 8.35mm. It's not the lightest small-format tablet around, though, with a starting weight of 420g (0.92lb). By contrast, Apple's 7.9-inch iPad mini 4 measures 134.8mm by 203.2mm by 6.1mm and weighs 298.8g (0.65lb).

For the record, there are eight iterations of this tablet available at HP's UK website, starting at £368 (ex. VAT, or about $526). We were sent the H9X64EA model, which costs £446 (ex. VAT, or about $637).

Build quality is solid, with a Gorilla Glass-protected screen and a metal frame that resisted our attempts to bend it. The tablet's plastic backplate might be liable to scratches, though. A silver frame around the front edge is the only 'design' feature on an otherwise sober black chassis.

The short edges house grilles for the tablet's stereo speakers. Sadly the sound quality that emerges from these is not impressive -- certainly not as good as the lengthy grilles lead one to expect. The audio is tinny and maximum volume is not very loud. You'd struggle to use the Pro Tablet 608 G1 for workplace presentations.

hp-pro-tablet-608-tablet.jpg

The Pro Tablet 608's 2,048-by-1,536-pixel screen has a pixel density of 326ppi. Some models come with an active stylus.

Image: HP Inc

Sound may be disappointing, but vision certainly is not. The Pro Tablet 608's 7.9-inch screen is one of its most impressive features, delivering sharp images with good viewing angles. The screen resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels is high, its 326ppi pixel density matching the 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4 and the 8.9-inch Nexus 9. This resolution means text is rather small, and you may need to change some Windows 10 settings to avoid struggling with fingertip accuracy and text size in some situations.

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The only downside is the screen's reflectivity, although this is less of an issue with a tablet than it is with a laptop because it's easier to adjust the screen angle to compensate. We also felt that the maximum brightness level could be brighter.

The screen has a digitizer layer, which means you can use a stylus -- but this only comes as standard with the two most expensive models, which cost £483 and £497 (ex. VAT) respectively.

The screen's 4:3 aspect ratio will suit anyone who spends time browsing the web or reading text in portrait mode. We also found it ideal for holding the tablet in two hands and tapping away at the on-screen keyboard -- something that would be harder on a wider 16:9 screen.

There's a minimal selection of port and buttons, including a single USB port -- although it is USB-C. This handles charging as well as supporting external devices. It's nice to see USB-C supported, but given its relatively new status HP arguably should have provided a USB 3.0 converter in the box.

Two caddies cater for MicroSD card and Micro-SIM cards. Mobile broadband with GPS is supported on all but the entry-level model. There's also a headset jack.

hp-pro-tab-608-dock.jpg

The Pro Tablet 608 has a single USB-C port and a docking connector for the optional Portable Tablet Dock.

Image: HP Inc

The bottom long edge has a docking connector, which you can use to accommodate the £157 (ex. VAT) Portable Tablet Dock. This adds HDMI, Ethernet (RJ-45), USB and audio ports to the setup.

Wi-fi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0 are supported across all eight models, and most also support NFC.

Internal storage may prove problematical. You can have up to 128GB of internal eMMC storage, but that configuration is only available in the two most expensive models. You'll have to settle for 64GB in the remaining configurations.

The same quad-core Intel Atom x5-Z8500 processor is used across the board. Running at clock speeds between 1.44GHz and 2.24GHz (via Turbo Boost), it supports a maximum of 8GB of RAM, although HP provides 4GB in all but the entry-level model, which comes with 2GB.

Even with the 4GB in our review sample, we found the Pro Tablet 608 a little sluggish: in everyday use we became a little frustrated with the (short) waits for the screen to reorient as we changed the device's orientation or opened up apps. Our review unit ran Windows 10 Pro.

HP rates this tablet's 21Wh Li-polymer battery as good for up to eight hours' life. Using the tablet for mainstream tasks like document creation/editing and web browsing, we found that the battery indicator reduced from 93 percent to 79 percent over a two-hour period. Given that this tablet is most likely to be used as a secondary device, you should feel confident that it'll last through a working day without requiring a recharge.

Conclusion

HP's Pro Tablet 608 G1 is a compact and well-built Windows tablet with a high-resolution (326ppi) 7.9-inch screen. The entry-level price (£368 ex. VAT for 2GB RAM, 64GB of storage, wi-fi-only) is on the high side (an equivalent-spec iPad mini 4 costs £332.50, for example); adding memory, storage, mobile broadband and a docking station will quickly boost that price.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit Edition - English
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Atom x5 Z8500 / 1.44 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 2.24 GHz
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Cache 2 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Features Intel Burst Technology
Display
Resolution 2048 x 1536 (QXGA)
Touchscreen Yes (10-point multi-touch)
LCD Backlight Technology WLED backlight
Diagonal Size 7.86 in
Diagonal Size (metric) 20.06 cm
Native Resolution 2048 x 1536
Widescreen Display No
Image Aspect Ratio 4:3
Monitor Features BrightView, Corning Gorilla glass 4, anti-smudge
RAM
Memory Speed 1600 MHz
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Installed Size 2 GB
Memory
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Speed 1600 MHz
RAM 2 GB
Processor
Type Atom x5
64-bit Computing Yes
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Processor Number Z8500
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 1.44 GHz
Environmental Parameters
Humidity Range Operating 10 - 90% (non-condensing)
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics
Integrated Webcam Yes
Sound Stereo speakers, stereo microphone
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Wireless Controller Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265
Features Intel Wireless Display (WiDi)
Card Reader
Type card reader
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 15 Watt
Connections & Expansion
Slots 1 x ZIF
Interfaces USB-C
Dock
Headphone/microphone combo jack
Memory Card Reader Yes (microSDXC)
Power
Run Time (Up To) 8 hour(s)
Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
Max Operating Temperature 104 °F
Header
Brand HP
Product Line HP Pro Tablet
Model 608 G1
Localization English
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Monitor
Diagonal Size 7.86 in
Image Brightness 450 cd/m2
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 4.0, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, NFC
Compliant Standards Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
Wireless NIC Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265
System
Platform Windows
Miscellaneous
Color gray
Integrated Options Ambient light sensor, hall sensor
Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Features Accelerometer, HP Drive Encryption, Haptics, Measured Boot, SecureBoot, digital compass, gyroscope
Compliant Standards CB, CSA, EMC, EN 300 328, EN 300.440, EN 301 489, EN 301 893, EN 301.908, EN 60950-1, EN 62311, EN 62479:2010, FCC CFR47 Part 15, FCC CFR47 Part 2, ICES-003, RSS-102, UL
Included Accessories power adapter
Color Category gray
Pricing Type promo
Dimensions & Weight
Width 8.1 in
Depth 5.4 in
Height 0.3 in
Audio Output
Compliant Standards DTS Studio Sound, High Definition Audio
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 1 year warranty
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Audio Input
Type stereo microphone
Physical Characteristics
Weight 12.7 oz
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit Edition
Type Bing Toolbar, HP Client Security, HP Mobile Connect, HP Registration, HP Roaming Alert, HP Secure Erase, HP Security Manager, HP Touchpoint Manager, HP ePrint, Skype, Windows Defender
Battery
Capacity 21 Wh
Cells 2-cell
Technology lithium polymer
Run Time (Up To) 8 hour(s)
Expansion Slots
Type ZIF
Total Qty 1
OS Provided
Type Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit Edition
Language English
Power Device
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V
Frequency Required 50/60 Hz
Battery Life Details
Usage Mode video playback
Run Time (Up To) 8 hour(s)
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Component battery
Location on-site
Full Contract Period 1 year