HP Slate 7 is an inexpensive Android Tablet PC, presented by the Hewlett-Packard company in April 2013. The price of that cost-effective device on a developed market is less than $150, the gadget possesses good beats audio sound and gives its respond to Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7. Still what are the chances for the device in our region, the region, where sellers are going to use the famous brand in order to increase their profit, while the low-price market segment for which Slate 7 is meant is occupied with a great deal of Chinese devices with almost the same specs?
The 7-inch cost-effective Android tablet PCs have already changed the situation on the market for such kind of devices. After the success of the Kindle Fire and the Nexus even Apple had to go against Steve Job’s traditions and release the iPad mini.
HP, as well as Dell, is getting to that market segment comparatively late. It is interesting whether this giant managed to learn by its competitors’ experience and whether Slate 7 offers any advantageous solutions that are able to attract the buyer. Moreover, HP Slate 7 is being promoted as a cost-effective model from a renowned brand. What is going to win – the image or the price?
HP Slate 7 has quite a usual tablet PC design. The industry has already worked out a silent standard, emerging from the initial purpose of the device. The manufacturers do not take risks to change it limiting oneself just to playing with colors, materials and control elements.
Eventually, we get quite a regular rectangle with rounded angles, mirrored front panel and matt plastic back cover. The tablet PC shape doesn’t arouse any special emotions. Yet, it is worth mentioning that the manufacturer selected quite an appropriate width for the devise – it fits conveniently in an average-sized man’s hand.
One may definitely attribute the device’s matt steel edges to an advantageous solution of HP designers.
The back cover is made from red color soft touch plastic. A grey color model is also available on sale. Both of the variants create favorable impression, still we find that the grey one looks better. The device back cover has stylish sparkling HP logo.
Unfortunately, although the designers offer quite interesting suggestions one may not say that the eventual result is breathtaking.
Controls and Connectors
Same as all the recent Android devices, the tablet PC is not equipped with any physical buttons. It is difficult to attribute the buttons to touch-sensitive ones as well. It is just that the system interface bottom is designed to have them. Quite logically then that one is not able to see the buttons if the screen is turned off. Moreover, in some cases, when the application takes the whole screen place, the buttons may get hidden. It is exactly what happened when the Tablet PC was turned on for the first time. Directly after the start-up the device suggested to get connected to Wi-Fi and the buttons got hidden. As there appeared to be no proper access point the downloading process was unsuccessful – there was no possibility to skip that step initializing the Tablet PC.
The front panel doesn’t have any hardware elements. The only object one may see is the “eye” of the front camera.
The only hardware object on the back side is the camera lens as well. To our mind, it is located too close to the device’s edge, and is going to get dirty rather quickly. There are also big chances of covering the lens with a hand when filming.
The upper side of the tablet PC has the display ON/OFF button, microSD card connector and 3.5 mm audio jack.
The left side has no connectors.
The right side has volume regulator, located close to the device’s upper side which is quite convenient when used.
The lower side has the microSD connector and openings of the stereo stereo speakers.
In general the tablet PC is rather convenient. The control elements are easy reached even if adjusted with one hand.
To get better idea about HP Slate 7 tablet PC one may watch our video review.
The Tablet PC has stylish blue-sided box. The front side has the image of the Tablet PC on the white background, as well, as the company’s logo. There is also a logo of the beats audio software on the box. The marketing specialists promote that sound improving system as one of the tablet PC’s advantages. In general the packing’s design is quite simple.
Inside the box there is a cardboard-made compartment for the device, the gadget itself is packed into the sack from fabric, not the cellophane overwrap, as usual.
Under the tablet PC compartment there is one more compartment for the manual and other documentation. The charger and the USB-cable are packed on the left from the tablet PC in the compartment consisting of two sections.
As it is expected from a budget device the packaging is unpretentious.
The HP Slate 7 brand case can only be bought separately, it is called HP Slate 7 Folio. It costs around $40. It is quite a lot, on the other hand, when did the brand accessories were cheap? Among the case’s distinctive features one may mention the soft lining and hard textured outer surface. The Folio cover creates an impression of closing the Tablet PC as a book. It can also be used as a stand for the Slate 7, it allows position the device at a convenient angle. There are several case colors available, including the black and the red ones.
The tablet PC has the 7-inch display with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels, the pixel density is 170 ppi, which is not much for a modern device. The display quality is quite good, still one cannot call it ideal.
The LCD matrix display with HFFS technology offers better screen characteristics, especially when it comes to the viewing angles’ characteristics. On the other hand that advantage is diminished by a bad choice of the device plastic protection. The screen gets a little bit dim, the colors should be richer and the brightness – better. Moreover, the protection creates quite of a glare which makes it impossible to see the image when looking at a large angle.
Now let’s consider actual measurements.
In general the display offers enough brightness even for the outside use on sunny weather. It reaches 414.81 cd/m2, which is quite a good result. The black color brightness makes 0.41 cd/m2, which eventually gives the contrast of 857:1. That is an average result for mobile devices. On the other hand, the protection makes it worth. When outside and the illumination is off, on sunny weather one may easily use the device instead of a mirror. Still even after putting of the illumination to the maximum level one will have to look for a text through the reflection of the own face on the screen.
The color temperature graph, the same as for the majority of mobile devices, is uneven. It is quite stable for 30% illumination, but begins to grow from the 70% level. The temperature changes within the range of 7400-8000K. Analysing the white balance one may see the tendency to the blue tint, but it is not critical. By the way, the manufacturer by default offers warm desktop in red tones.
The deviation from the reference value of the gamma curve is not significant. Some tones from the average brightness level are a bit darker, yet it can’t be seen without special equipment, as well as the deviations in the color temperature.
The gamut is even wider than that of the sRGB, except for the blue part of the spectrum. In general that is a really acceptable result, characteristic of an inexpensive good quality matrix.
The touch sensitive surface provides suitable reaction to touching. The Tablet PC responds quickly after touching. According to the tests data the surface recognizes maximum 5 touches.
The tablet PC offers modest camera characteristics. The main camera has resolution of 3.15 megapixels, and is able to record the VGA video. The front camera is 0.3 MP (VGA as well).
What is really surprising is the restricted amount of camera settings. For instance, the only available settings for the main camera are the white balance settings, scene mode (night, day), storage location, picture size. While shooting the video one cannot even choose the size, just the white balance, delay in seconds and the storage location.
Considering the above mentioned it becomes quite of a surprise that the device still possesses the panoramic mode option, that option was successfully applied in the recent Android devises.
The quality of recording with the main camera is tolerable, still it is better to withhold from digital zoom use. The captioning of complicated high-contrast scenes is a real challenge for the camera.
The front camera can only be used for video connections. We do not recommend trying to make the picture of oneself.
The main camera offers rather acceptable video quality, yet, only when the zoom option is not used.
The front camera recording quality is mediocre. There are artefacts, on the other hand the quality is good enough for video connection – the result is better when working with the stable picture.
For the present time HP Slate 7 is available in four variants – 2800, 2801, 4600 and 4601. However, it is the support page that describes the variants of the device not the Slate 7 specifications site. It is not surprising that we didn’t manage to find any noticeable difference between the above mentioned variants. The PDF-manual below, which available for download, as well as Slate 7 the firmware, the links to it are placed under the Specifications Table, do not give any information either.
A glance is enough to understand that dealing with the HP Slate 7 one should not expect to get a business class device. It is not only the mobile communication module, that the device lacks, that shortage at least could be forgiven, the tablet PC has no GPS (one of course may try to accept it), and, what is after all strange, no FM-receiver. It is evident that without GPS and mobile communication module the device is going to be used instead of an electronic book, for example, on the road. Assuming that, it is logically to expect that the device should be equipped with a radio receiver. The unpleasant impression is completed by the 2nd version Bluetooth, not the 3rd or 4th one. The only merit here is that Wi-Fi supports 802.11n speed standard.
It is quite demonstrative as well that HP didn’t get enough courage to give the tablet PC processor brand name. All the available information about it is the core architecture (Cortex-A9), the number of cores (two) and the frequency (1.6 GHz). There is a great possibility that some little-known processor brand was used, otherwise what is the point of hiding its name? All in all the device performance should be enough for Android, thanks to 1 GB RAM as well, but the tablet PC is really not the sharpest tool in the shed.
On the other hand, the processor has Mali-400 MP video core, the same as a 2012 winner Samsung Galaxy S III. Having that in mind, one should expect good games performance. May be the device is “no great shakes”, yet promises quite stable operation.
The internal storage capacity is not big. The device has a microSD slot and supports the card with the memory up to 32 GB memory, which is definitely a merit. HP highlights that Slate 7, moreover, has good sound characteristics claiming that the tablet PC is equipped with the special beats audio sound chip. We are going to tell more about that while describing the software.
HP Slate 7 battery capacity is 13.4 Wh, which is less than that of the ASUS Nexus 7, of the year 2012, and the latter has the quad-core, not the dual-core, processor. It is interesting to see the autonomous operation tests. HP promises that Slate 7 will be able to operate in the video playback mode for 5 hours, which is not bad at all.
Generally, one may say that the HP Slate 7 characteristics are far from those of the lower business class devices. To become a business class it should have GPS, 3G, the manufacturer could at least has offered the device variants equipped with these modules. One may sooner attribute the device to an advanced electronic book, the device for internet roaming and an interesting solution for games. On the whole, it is sooner a consumer device.
HP Slate 7 offers quite modest characteristics, close to the chinese devices within the price range of $150-200 or such prominent brands as the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 (of the year 2012). Yet HP claims to offer a device of high quality, close to a business-class one. That’s why we decided to compare it to the previous year release tablet PC, Fujitsu STYLISTIC M532. This is the youngest model in the range of expensive models, a budget business class, so to say. What is the difference between the device of 2013, claiming to be in the same range, and the previous season’s average quality device? By the way the Fujitsu Tablet PC has the same platform as the ASUS Nexus 7 of 2012.
When first comparing HP Slate 7 to the Fujitsu STYLISTIC M532 it seems that the Slate is going to lose in each and every test. Let’s have a look at the test results.
The results of the very first test become a surprise. Generally, it is HP Slate 7 which becomes a winner according to the results of AnTuTu System Review. The HP device showed worse results during memory, processor and drive tests, yet its two- and three dimensional graphics was faster.
Testing with Quadrant makes the Fujitsu the winner; on the other hand the gap between the results is not big. That is quite more than acceptable for such an inexpensive device like Slate 7!
The graphics deserves special attention. Synthetic benchmarks result gives the draw – during the RD3D testing the Fujitsu shows better results, while during the Nenamark 2 it is the HP device.
Electopia is not a synthetic, but a real game benchmark. The Fujitsu result during that test is only 4 FPS. We don’t know what kind of processor is used in the HP Slate 7, but its graphics core appears to be really powerful.
After the rest of the tests the Fujitsu device becomes the winner. All in all, the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 reveals itself when it comes to the tasks demanding high computing power of the central processing unit.
Apart from the Android 4.1.1. the HP Slate 7 almost doesn’t have any preinstalled applications.
The exception is the Google Chrome browser, which recently have become a part of the standard software package for many manufacturers.
Moreover, HP added the HP ePrint application. This is a mobile client for the HP ePrint Center cloud print service, supported by a number of new printer models of the company. A user will be able to send documents, images and web-pages to printer from a mobile device using his/her own account on the HP ePrint Center. The server then sends the documents to any of the user’s/organization’s/public service’s emails registered at the HP ePrint Center. Further the printer receives the document by email and prints it.
Thus, one doesn’t have to use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth while connecting the gadget to a printer. There is no need to install any drivers as well. The HP ePrint makes it possible to print using the equipment located in the same room with the user, as well as using remote, for instance, office equipment. There is only one condition that is to be observed – the printer that supports that kind of operation is to have constant internet connection.
The device has one software improvement – beats audio, which is meant to get better sound quality. The software amplifies the low frequencies, and makes the upper and the middle ranges clearer. The beats audio on and off modes are not really noticeable while listening to music using the device’s speakers. The difference becomes prominent when using the headphones.
HP Slate 7 produces loud and clear sound, yet it lacks bass sound. The bass sound can be received when turning the beats audio function on. The settings offer three modes: “Beats-in-Ears”, “beats-out-of-ears” and passive beats. It is the low frequencies’ focusing that makes the difference between the modes. The Beats-In-Ears technology creates the main impression. On the other hand the technology offers nothing new, the same effect can be easily reached by using equalizer in any of the players available on the Google Play Store.
Generally, that is all about the HP Slate 7 software peculiarities. All the rest is the standard Android 4.1, which is well-known among the great amount of users.
It is also worth mentioning that HP slate is connected to a computer as a media device, not a USB-device. As for Windows 7 and 8 that peculiarity creates no problems, while when used with Windows XP some difficulties while copying files using Explorer may appear.
HP Slate 7 creates favorable impression for a device of its class. It is compact, quite convenient, offers enough performance, and quite good sound characteristics. The HP ePrint option may be useful for those who have already bought a modern HP printer. On the other hand, the display glance, poor camera and lack of GPS and radio receiver are definitely the shortcomings of the device. HP Slate 7 wins thanks to powerful graphics and enough autonomous operation time.
Eventually, we get a budget tablet PC, which is mainly fit for use at home or in the office. The device fits best for watching movies or reading books in bed, it can be applied as a notebook or a reference book during the conference, of course if you are ready to acquire the office software.
The HP Slate 7’s life on the market greatly depends on its cost – the brand markup, the quality and the support for the device should be advantageous in comparison to its Chinese competitors of the same class. Judging from that standpoint the device prospects are not really clear.
HP Slate 7 price in the USA is $139. And that is a good offer. One should agree that is not much more expensive than Chinese gadgets, especially taking into consideration the brand markup, and the device’s characteristics have no significant difference; especially, if GPS is off the game. However, let’s first study the market leaders’ offers.
ASUS MeMO Pad HD ME173X
ASUS MeMO Pad HD ME173X costs $30 more. For that price one gets display resolution of 1280x800 pixels and Android 4.2 OS.
ASUS Nexus 7
And, of course, one shouldn’t forget about the ASUS Nexus 7. Given that the latter has no 3G-module, but still equipped with Tegra 3 and 8GB flash memory the total device price is going to be $110.
It is worth mentioning as well that these devices support GPS and has radio receivers.
- Good sound
- Remote print option
- Quite good display quality
- High assembly quality
- Good Performance
- Powerful graphics
- No GPS
- No FM-receiver
- Poor camera characteristics
- No 3G variant of the device
- Poor set of the pre-installed software, clean Android
- Glaring display