HP Slate 7 evaluate: HP’s price range Android pill is much less of successful, extra of a miss
It is no secret that HP has struggled relating to tablets. The corporate has confronted (and crashed into) its share of cellular gadget hurdles in recent times — most notably, with the ailing-fated and costly TouchPad. With its newest foray into the pill world, HP is hoping to hit one out of the park with the Slate 7, a price range pill that retails for $one hundred seventy within the US ($one hundred forty with immediate financial savings). We got down to uncover how the Slate 7 would fare within the aggressive Android pill market, particularly in comparison with its present rival, the Nexus 7, and the forthcoming ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7. So, is the Slate 7 HP’s little pill that would? Learn on to seek out out.
HP Slate 7
- Sturdy design
- Washed-out, low-res show
- Latency and stuttering throughout routine duties
- Disappointing battery life
HP is dipping its toe again into the pill market with the price range-pleasant Slate 7, however the pill’s underperforming processor and lackluster show depart a lot to be desired.
For a pill of its measurement (7.eight x four.6 x zero.forty two inches), the Slate 7 feels fairly heavy. In contrast to a few of its ilk, HP elected to not pursue a sleeker, unibody design, and the outcome makes for a tool that is just a little bulkier than you may want it to be. The Slate 7 has a stainless-metal body surrounding a glass show with an ordinary black bezel. On the prime of the pill, two small screws maintain the entire shebang collectively. The shiny HP emblem emblazoned on the delicate-contact backing (obtainable in darkish grey or shiny purple) is joined by comparatively small, however nonetheless very noticeable Beats Audio branding (extra on that later). The gadget’s serial quantity could be discovered awkwardly squished on the metal accent on the aspect.
The facility button is situated on the prime, together with an unmarked microSD card slot and a three.5mm headphone jack. The quantity rocker on the correct-hand aspect (with the gadget dealing with you) is manufactured from the identical sturdy metal as these aforementioned elements, and it is one place the place HP did not reduce corners. Clearly, a finances pill will not be made from one hundred pc premium supplies, however it’s good that HP used them for these buttons that we incessantly deal with. Flanking the micro-USB socket on the backside are two small audio system, whose efficiency we’ll get into shortly. That port feels a bit of flimsy, and the wire wobbles fairly a bit when jostled.
That being stated, some decrease-priced tablets really feel like they’ve all the steadiness of a field of Kleenex, so the Slate 7 truly appears fairly sturdy by comparability. At thirteen.05 ounces, the little additional weight the Slate 7’s carrying round is a testomony to its solidity. The mushy-contact backing feels luxe at first contact, however the chalky texture may grate after some time, even whether it is decently scratch resistant. It additionally hides a somewhat flimsy plastic backing. Urgent down on the HP emblem on the again of the pill causes a noticeable (and audible) melancholy within the system’s rear panel. The metal body grants the Slate 7 some a lot-wanted stability on the edges, however what’s beneath the hood may be extra fragile than it initially appears.
Out of the field, the pill packs eight gigs of space for storing (almost six of which are literally usable), plus a microSD card slot. When you’re hoping to beef up your space for storing, know that you’re going to be restricted to a 32GB card. The Slate 7 does not pack an entire bunch of bells and whistles — there is no GPS or Bluetooth three.zero or four.zero. Out of the field, it comes with Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, 802.11b/g/n and an accelerometer. The latter proved to be fairly responsive, although we did discover the occasional stutter because the show shifted orientation.Show and sound
Utilizing the Slate 7 is an intensely vertical expertise. The pill is constructed in accordance with a barely narrower-than-regular type issue, and resulting from an uncommon facet ratio, all the things is simply… off sufficient to be noticeable. The 1,024 x 600 display is not nice to start with, particularly when in comparison with the Nexus 7’s 1,280 x 800 IPS show (at present $30 extra, however a a lot better purchase). At 169 pixels per inch, that decision would have labored on a barely much less rectangular type-issue (a 5.86-inch show would have labored with the pill’s four.forty four-inch width). Contemplating that the Slate 7 comes with inventory Android four.1.1, the flatness of the UI makes the stretch particularly apparent. Even spherical icons are extra oval than circle.
Once more, for a finances pill, we weren’t anticipating a lot from the show, however the Slate did not stay as much as even our modest expectations. The colours aren’t notably vibrant to start with, however any viewing angle aside from straight-on triggered them to be considerably washed out. The know-how HP used for indirect viewing angles — “Fringe Area Switching” versus IPS — does little for the LCD show when the gadget is angled even just a little bit away from the viewer.
With regards to sound high quality, HP is placing all its eggs in a single Beats Audio-branded basket — because it’s accomplished with many of its merchandise. From the Beats emblem on the again of the pill, to the Beats-particular tab on the settings menu, HP is aggressively pushing the connection at shoppers.
The twin audio system situated on the underside of the pill are enough within the truest sense of the phrase, which is to say: they work. As a result of they’re so shut collectively, there isn’t any actual stereo sound regardless of there being two of them. Do they sound like $one hundred seventy audio system? Not likely. Performed at fairly loud volumes, the audio is strained and tinny, as is the case with many a cellular gadget. With the Beats Audio function toggled on, vocals on most songs had a noticeable echo not current when it was turned off.
Relating to headset use, we should admit there is a sure degree of cognitive dissonance required to make use of — and even worse, purchase — a pair of headphones costlier than the gadget you plan to couple them with. However in case you’re a Beats fanatic (we all know you are on the market), then maybe the Slate 7 will tickle your fancy. For these of you who aren’t instantly charmed by the promise of Beats Audio’s potential (and thus far, we see no purpose why you have to be), the precise function is fairly lackluster.
Beats Audio could be toggled on or off, however it’s principally nothing greater than a jazzed-up EQ setting. We tried out the Slate 7 with a couple of several types of headphones — admittedly, not Beats — and there did not appear to be something particular about Beats Audio’s efficiency apart from barely deeper bass (an impact achieved with common ol’ EQ settings). HP guarantees that the sound setting is “optimized” for Beats Audio headsets, however there appears to be little proof to help that the declare is greater than a mutually useful advertising technique.Software program
Along with the usual Google suite of apps (Gmail, Chrome, Google+, Search, Maps, et cetera), HP has made solely two modifications to the Slate 7’s inventory Android four.1: Beats Audio and HP ePrint. We have already mentioned the efficacy of Beats Audio at size, so we’ll keep away from the rehash right here. HP ePrint is a neat concept, however not essentially one with a great deal of sensible software. The app (which can be discovered within the Google Play Retailer) is simply suitable with choose wi-fi HP printers – in case you’ve obtained one, you are all set. For those who do not, HP ePrint shall be ineffective to you.
We’re completely happy to notice that the Slate 7 is in any other case freed from any pointless Android skinning, and the inventory four.1.1 Jelly Bean expertise is as streamlined and consumer-pleasant as one may anticipate. Relating to software program, HP evidently prescribed to the much less-is-extra faculty of thought, and the choice to not overburden the Slate 7 with an array of bundled apps pays off.Digital camera
The Slate 7 comes armed with a three-megapixel rear digital camera, in addition to a entrance-dealing with VGA shooter. In brightly lit outside settings, the digital camera performs fairly properly, and the colours are vibrant contemplating the low-finish specs. The absence of an autofocus function meant that stabilizing our photographic experiments proved harder than maybe it ought to have. Additionally, the pill lacks each a flash and publicity adjustment, so you will just about should hope for respectable lighting wherever you’re.
Video recording on the Slate 7 is not good for a lot past grainy Skype chatting. In decently lit environments, the video we took — with a decision of 640 x 480 — was pretty blocky, and the colours have been excessively washed out. Admittedly, you in all probability do not need to be that individual with the pill digital camera in public (that individual is obnoxious), however for those who completely should, know that you’re going to be getting low-high quality pictures with poor distinction and a whole lot of ISO noise. May as properly simply use your telephone.Efficiency and battery life
The Slate 7’s no-frills 1.6GHz twin-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and 1GB of RAM put in an honest effort — in concept. Based on our benchmark checks, the Slate 7 scored inside an inexpensive distance from its present rivals, however the numbers do not paint probably the most correct image. Primarily, the specs look good on paper, however in actual-world use, they’ve extra inadequacies than rival units.
Easy video games ran high-quality (together with the present bane of our existence, Sweet Crush Saga), however titles like Temple Run 2 that requested extra of the Slate 7 confirmed a slight lag. Whereas searching in Chrome, we additionally observed a number of issues with efficiency, even with websites optimized for cellular use. The latency on non-cellular websites was dangerous sufficient to make searching almost unattainable. When zooming out and in, tiling turned a problem and it took some time for the Slate 7 to regulate. Likewise, we skilled a big delay when scrolling up and down on Engadget’s cellular website. Opening apps was a principally speedy affair, however holding them open was a tall order as a number of apps crashed repeatedly. Switching between apps on the launcher was pretty fast, however we observed some stuttering as we scrolled by means of our choices.
The Slate 7’s battery life is not precisely thoughts-blowing — the pill comes outfitted with a three,500mAh lithium polymer battery that is virtually sufficient to outlive a whole day of sunshine utilization. Ranging from a full cost, we looped a 1,280 x 720 video constantly till the battery sputtered and died, wheezing out its final, pained breath. With the brightness set at 50 %, the Slate 7 lasted seven hours and 36 minutes. With the identical video looping at most brightness and sound, the pill stored on trucking for 4 hours and forty seven minutes. Certainly, HP claims about 5 hours of video playback, so our outcomes match up properly. These numbers aren’t terribly spectacular, particularly when you think about that the Nexus 7 clocked 9:forty nine on the identical check.
In a barely much less scientific — however maybe extra related –- check of on a regular basis use, the Slate 7 chugged alongside adequately. After about three hours of constantly watching YouTube movies, enjoying video games, net searching and streaming music by way of Pandora, the Slate 7 had greater than half of its battery life left. That being stated, when you’re closely depending on a pill throughout your workday, you will in all probability have to recharge sooner or later.The competitors
HP is dealing with some fairly stiff competitors within the finances pill market, and the Slate 7 does not fairly stack up, even towards the quickly-to-be-outdated Nexus 7. With corporations like ASUS, Samsung and Acer debuting their newest equally sized choices, HP’s place is about to develop into much more precarious. Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab three will hit shops on July seventh with a sticker worth of $199, and the specs are fairly just like the Slate 7 — the pill comes with a twin-core 1.2GHz processor, a 1,024 x 600 show and eight gigs of storage (with as much as 64GB of microSD enlargement). However specs, as we have seen, do not all the time inform the entire story. Because the Slate 7 did not fairly reside as much as its potential, we’ll should see how the 2 units examine on efficiency exams.
Boasting even higher specs is the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7, set for an August launch. From the appears of it, you will get extra bang on your buck there. The 16GB model will retail within the US for $149, whereas rising markets will see an 8GB mannequin for $129. Contemplating that the MeMo Pad has a greater show, extra highly effective processor and elevated space for storing when in comparison with the Slate 7, it seems to be to be the higher purchase. Equally, Acer’s Iconia A1 pill — armed with a quad-core 1.2GHz MediaTek processor and seven.9-inch display — hits the Slate 7 the place it hurts probably the most: the display. The A1’s humble, but commendable 1,024 x 768 IPS show provides a a lot wider vary of viewing angles than the Slate 7.Wrap-up
For an off-the-cuff consumer, the Slate 7 may be a ok pill, however at this worth, ok simply does not reduce it. Merely put, the show is disappointing, even for a price range product, and the specs show higher in concept than in apply. It merely cannot maintain a candle to units presently (or quickly to be) available on the market. If this pill have been $forty cheaper, our verdict could be extra beneficiant, however because it stands, it is overpriced for the standard you get. HP appears to have gotten the memo, because it’s now providing a $30 prompt rebate on each the 8GB and 16GB fashions (bringing the previous right down to $one hundred forty and the latter to $one hundred seventy). There are different price range tablets on the market which are higher, quicker and stronger than the Slate 7, and also you may be higher served by wanting elsewhere.
Edgar Alvarez, Daniel Orren and Zach Honig contributed to this report.