HP’s Slate tablet: The early reviews

October 22, 2010

Hewlett-Packard, at long last, has released the tablet computer first glimpsed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January, and it is a decidedly different take than what we’ve seen so far in the tablet space. Basically a business netbook sans a keyboard. That’s a far cry from Apple’s iPad — and maybe that’s the point.

The initial reviews of the HP Slatslate2e 500 are starting to trickle in and they are something of a mixed bag. There is plenty to debate, to be sure. The device sports Windows 7, Wi-Fi but no 3G, and has no app store link-up. But it features a digital stylus pen, has a relatively fast processor and plenty of room for storage. And then there is the little matter of that hefty $799 price tag, which has surprised more than a few people, given that the iPad starts at $499.

HP is not even pretending to be targeting the same buyers as the iPad. And a more interesting HP vs Apple showdown is likely to come next year, when HP releases the webOS tablet that everyone is curious to get a peek at.

With that in mind, a sampling of some early critiques on the Slate 500:

PCWorld: “Put alongside other tablets, the HP Slate could disappoint you, again.”

The Inquirer: “As a tablet device to rival the iPad or the Galaxy S, the price, weight and operating system of the Slate 500 make alternative devices seem far more attractive. However viewing the HP Slate 500 as a touch sensitive netbook makes it look slightly more palatable.”

CrunchGear: The Slate 500 is a very nice tablet. In fact I’d say the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the 500 are close cousins in terms of style and usability. The iPad may be the gold standard, but someone needs to think of the legacy applications! That’s what the 500 is here for. This thing runs Windows 7. It runs it just well enough to make it a compelling device for point-of service and other niche markets. It doesn’t run it well enough to, say, convince me to get rid of my laptop.”

CNet:  “We got a chance to sit down with the HP Slate 500 recently, and found it to be a lightweight, sturdy device, with a slick industrial design and several hardware advantages over the iPad, especially when it comes to ports and connections.”

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