HP Slate 7 review
HP has crafted a solid, attractive tablet for a superb price, but the Slate 7 simply cuts too many corners to earn a recommendation
Review Date: 6 Aug 2013
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £108 (£130 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
HP may have been late to the compact tablet party, but its Slate 7 has the likes of the Nexus 7 and the Asus Fonepad firmly in its sights. Someone has obviously been taking notes, too, as the Slate 7 attempts to get one up on the competition by cramming in both front- and rear-facing cameras, a microSD slot and HP's proprietary Beats Audio for only £130.
Physically, the Slate 7 looks and feels like a premium piece of kit. At 370g, it's marginally heavier than some of its rivals, but despite a little flex in the silvery plastic rear, the solid, sturdy chassis feels built to last. And although it might look a little chunkier than the Asus and Nexus tablets, it's just a trick of the light – the HP Slate 7 is the same thickness as the Nexus 7, with only a few extra grams and thicker, flattened edges to differentiate it.
The Slate 7 doesn't look or feel like a budget device, then, but its display gives the game away. The 600 x 1,024 resolution screen is far less crisp than those of rival devices, and it feels narrow and cramped.
Brightness is adequate, with the panel reaching a maximum of 369cd/m2, but the poor black level results in a distinctly washed-out appearance. Colour reproduction is subdued, and an ever-present graininess leaves images and blocks of colour looking dirty and mottled.
With a 1.6GHz dual-core ARM A9 processor and 1GB of RAM under the hood, we were hoping performance would buoy the HP's appeal. However, the Slate 7 proved disappointing even in everyday use. Whether we were flicking between homescreens or scrolling and zooming into web pages, the HP was noticeably juddery – it's a far cry from the silky smooth feel of Asus' Fonepad, and not what we've come to expect in recent times, even from budget tablets.
The Slate put in a mixed performance in our suite of benchmarks. Despite a decent score of 656 in the HTML5 Peacekeeper benchmark, the A9 processor dropped right back in the Geekbench test, finishing with a modest 1,008. The Slate 7 struggled in the GFXBench test, too, scoring an underwhelming average of 4.9fps. Given the 600 x 1,024 screen, we'd have expected better.
Battery life is below par, too. Despite the chunky feel of the chassis, the Slate 7's 3,500mAh battery is small and lasted only 6hrs 37mins in our video rundown test.
HP has had to perform something of a juggling act to squeeze in so many features for the money. The Slate 7 has only 8GB of onboard storage, although it compensates for that with the inclusion of a microSD slot on the top edge. HP has also opted for single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 to keep costs down.
We were initially impressed to see that HP has managed to include both a 0.3-megapixel front camera and a 3-megapixel rear camera, but neither works particularly well. The front camera captures smeary, heavily compressed, low-resolution images, and the rear camera struggles to produce decent snaps even in good light, with photos dogged by noise and severely lacking in detail.
Given the attractive hardware and the low price, we'll admit that HP's Slate 7 had us excited. Unfortunately, HP has had to cut too many corners to whittle the price down. With rival devices putting in a far more competent all-round performance, we'd advise you to look elsewhere.
Author: Sasha Muller
- Europol warns: public Wi-Fi isn't safe
- Privacy groups challenge Facebook's WhatsApp buy
- IDC: iPad intertia opens door for Windows tablets
- Chip breakthrough to eliminate checkout queues
- Rivals put on notice as Spotify snaps up The Echo Nest
- Windows 8.1 Update 1 leaks via Microsoft's website
- Bitcoin "founder" says: you've got the wrong man
- Has bitcoin creator been found?
- HTC Desire 310: more competition for the Moto G
- Mozilla questions why Dell charges £16 to install Firefox
- Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight
- Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Nokia XL review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy S5 review: first look
- Nokia X review: first look
- Make the most of your mobile data
- Old-school internet scams: five that just won't die
- Bitcoin believers not worried by Mt. Gox disarray
- How to hack your car
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- Block party: why do millions play Minecraft?
- What to do if you’re still on Windows XP
- Microsoft Word: top 20 secret features
- Measuring me: is your body the future of security?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly
- Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: the best phone for avoiding screen burn
- How much is a social user worth?
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Thunderbolt Bridge: a fast Mac migration tool
- Should you advertise on Twitter?
- How to track a lost smartphone
- Self-publishing success: the best way to sell your book
- 1.6TB SSD: why would you need one?