The success of the Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and iPad mini has been massive. So it’s no surprise to see other hardware manufacturers starting to make their own 7-inch tablets. This is exactly what the HP Slate 7 is, it’s not ground breaking or hugely original attempt, the Slate 7 is just HP looking to take up as much of a growing market as possible.
In terms of hardware, the HP Slate 7 shapes up pretty well with its spec. It boasts an ARM Dual Core Cortex-A9 1.6 GHz processor, 1GB RAM and comes with 8GB of internal storage. Importantly the Slate 7 comes with a microSD slot which can expand the memory by up to 32GB, so this makes up for the slightly small storage spec.
While there is a bit of a big gap between where the screen finishes and the edge of the tablet, the overall design of the Slate 7 is pretty good. It sports a nice stainless steel frame, and the device we saw had a metallic grey looking finish to the back (it’s also available in red), the result is an aesthetically impressive tablet. It weighs a pretty reasonable 370g and measures in at 197.1 x 116.1 x 10.7 mm.
The 7-inch screen (which as mentioned above, doesn’t come anywhere close to the edge of the tablet) isn't going to dazzle you at all. But that’s not what you expect from a cheap entry-level device. It has a screen res of 600 x 1024 pixels, and a pixel density of 170ppi, this lags someway behind its two main rivals the Nexus 4 and Kindle Fire HD, which both have a pixel densities of 216ppi. It didn’t look that bad in real life though, to be fair to the Slate 7.
One of the tablet’s USPs is the integrated Beats Audio that comes built in with it. The background noise at MWC is incredible so we can’t really comment on the actually clarity of these speakers. But we did briefly whack it up to full volume, and can report that you can rest assured it has enough oomph to be able to annoy commuters on trains and buses around the world.
A very unremarkable part of the HP Slate 7 is its cameras. The first is a front-facing VGA camera, which is fit for Skype and little else. The second is the 3MP rear-facing camera, which is better than nothing, but is hardly capable of capturing images in any great detail. But you need to put this into perspective, HP’s aim here was to keep costs as low as possible and sticking a decent camera in an entry-level tablet is very low down the list of spec priorities.
The Slate 7 comes with Jelly Bean preloaded, with when you think about it is a big plus point. Some expensive and so called high-end tablets from not so long ago still don’t have this luxury, so this really needs to be considered as a good attribute. From our time with the device, we found it surprisingly nippy and responsive and we were genuinely impressed with it. That was until the camera stopped working for us and wouldn’t reopen it. So there are definitely a few glitches that still need ironing out by HP, if the device we used is anything to go by.
There’s no official UK price for the HP Slate 7 yet, but going by the $169 US price you can be pretty sure that it’s not going to break the bank. Expect it to be priced competitively with the Nexus 7...our gut is telling us that it will be slightly more expensive, but that’s based on nothingmore than our opinion.