back to article Review: HP ElitePad 900 Atom tablet

If HP’s ElitePad 900 is anything to go by, not everybody expects a business Windows 8 Pro Atom tablet to be a pocketable wafer. You only have to hold it in your hand to get the impression that this model has been built for endurance rather than designed as a fashion accessory. That’s not to say that it doesn’t look good, quite …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stylus !

    How quaint.

    Just goes to show W8 is still not suited to being a fully touch OS when you need a fall-back to overcome deficiencies in the GUI.

    1. Shades

      Re: Stylus !

      Could it be that Bob (and you, and others?) just have extraordinarily large sausage fingers (for desktop mode)? I used to operate the lighting in a nightclub with an 12" 1024x768 ELO touchscreen monitor attached to a box running WinXP and had no problems whatsoever.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Stylus !

        I think I have sausage fingers, I can't use touch screens very well even with my phones and tablets :(

        I dread to think what my typing would be like on a minority report style computer.

    2. 1Rafayal

      Re: Stylus !

      Or, as the article mentions, maybe the stylus is a better way to use the tablet in Desktop mode.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Stylus !

        and it is an optional extra to boot.

        Some of us do have large plates of meat for hands. Lots of stuff made by Sony over the years has been useless in my hand simply because the buttons etc are too close together.

        Touch U/I's are ok but for some of us, they are nowt more than a PITA (and finger, thumbs etc)

        1. Elmer Phud

          Re: Stylus !

          As a 'fat finger' owner I can sympathise but I like having the option of prodding where it seems a more natural way of doing things or you can configure the working area to one more favourable to a prod -- I'm playing with Chamsys MagicQ lighting software where I can configure it to operate lights, colour changes, sequences etc. with a robust fingering.

          It is also more gratifying when turning off this machine sometimes with a poke.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Stylus !

      Have you actually used an Android tablet or Windows 8 tablet with a Wacom stylus? It has nothing to do with whether the finger touch works or not.

      Have you tried doing handwriting recognition on an iPad with just your fingers? How about drawing programs, where those 1024 different levels of pressure make a huge difference, compared with the simple finger painting you can do on an iPad...

      I found the handwriting recognition was very good, about 98% accurate with my my scrawl. It is great, sitting in meetings and actually writing and drawing on the pad.

      Most iPad owners I know have bought the rubber-nipple type styluses for their iPads, but they are still pretty useless in comparison. A bit like comparing a Model T with Nissan Skyline, they both have 4 wheels and an engine, but that is about all they have in common...

      1. mmeier

        Re: Stylus !

        The two questions here are:

        a) Does this have an inductive digitizer and if yes: what type (Wacom, NTrig or Atmel)?

        b) Is the stylus finaly out?

        If a) is Wacom then b) is less important since I can order the styli from other sources.

        If a) is NTrig it gets more problematic (At least three versions are out, 3 / 3.5 / 4)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    for trying to install a linux on it - not sure this would be the tablet for me anyway, but if linux had gone OK I'd might have given it a second look.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A bit pricey. We are living in the days of £300 - £400 laptops, computers and tablets.

    £500 - £700 was nearly a decade ago.

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Overpriced

      Have you not shopped HP before? Overpriced is their business model.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overpriced

      You can buy a Novo 7 Android ICS Dual core tablet for £100. With batter life > 7 Hours.

      £300 left over for a Laptop.

      Why buy a device which does two things badly.

      You are going to struggle to write documents on it or prepare spreadsheets.

      1. Lyndon Hills 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: Overpriced

        With batter life > 7 Hours.

        This is a comparison to the screen damaging iPad-bashing mentioned in the main review?

  4. Sandpit
    Thumb Down

    So what's the point of this then?

    They can't be going for the "more money than sense" market, Apple already have that sown up!

    1. Martin

      Apple already have that SEWN up.


      You sew with needle and thread.

      You sow seeds.

      Nonetheless, I've upvoted you for the sentiment.

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Apple already have that SEWN up.


        (I upvoted your upvote as well)

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple already have that SEWN up.

        'Nevertheless', surely?

        "As ye rip, so shall ye sew". Wait a minute, that's not right either...

  5. Afflicted.John

    Win 8 Pro - good enough for real apps?

    Isn't the term "Atom" with the use of "Win 8 Pro" false advertising? It would lead me to think that this fondleslab could do virtually anything that a "Pro" would need to do but where is the line in the sand?

    I would not expect it to cope with a full scale Photoshop session but is running a MS SQL based application on the cards?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Win 8 Pro - good enough for real apps?

      The same chip being reviewed in a different convertablet:

      "Beyond our scripted test, we spent some time actually using Photoshop and found it to be impressively responsive, both with a mouse and the digitizer pen. It's really only when you tax the 500T's limited resources that they buckle.",3360-8.html

      >false advertising?

      'Pro' doesn't mean anything... the requirements of a video production professional differ from that of, say, an event organiser.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Win 8 Pro - good enough for real apps?

      Nonsense. Win8/Pro designates a certain version of Windows8 with a certain set of capabilities. Like Domain integration, a must for companies and not part of Win8 base version

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. big_D Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Win 8 Pro - good enough for real apps?

      @Afflicted_John A Mercedes A Class has the same logo on it as a Mercedes Actros, but you aren't going to get very far trying to lug a pair of shipping containers behind an A Class.

      The Atom is fast enough for general office work. I've been using the Samsung ATIV as a desktop replacement and it has been doing fine (Office 2013 and our ERP software, mainly). As you say, Photoshop isn't on the cards, but our ERP system uses Informix and it runs fast enough... But that is the thing with SQL servers, you put the SQL Server part on the server and the application runs locally and, yes, for that, the Atom is generally fast enough - depending on what sort of data sets you are pulling up and how much local processing you need to do on them.

  6. sabroni Silver badge

    I’d also prefer to speak "Stop"

    I'd also prefer to say "Stop".

  7. Chavdar Ivanov

    Micro-SD card

    worked fine on the pre-production one I've had since early December. The only problem I've had with this so far was that the HDMI port on the expansion jacket did not work (It showed as a second monitor, but never gave any signal; on the other hand, the one on the docking station worked fine).

    I also briefly tried to boot non-Windows 8 OS (NetBSD in my case), but couldn't.

    I agree with the overall conclusion that the HP side of the bargain has been executed very well. BTW the one I had came even with a serial port adapter - find me *one* other tablet with this... I can even use it to test DNC links to machine tools.

    Another interesting accessory is the Productivity jacket, should be available "Spring 2013", whatever that means, see here for example: .

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UEFI lockdown, and phonetics?

    First question: how locked down is this unit, given that it is an X86 not an ARM - can other OSes be installed? (and to the WinShills - note I didn't ask if any other OS would be good to use here.)

    Second question on the voice recognition: can you configure it to work with a proper phonetic alphabet when needed? Maybe something like the standard radio operator "floobydust I SPELL floobydust FOXTROT LIMA OSCAR OSCAR YANKEE DELTA UNIFORM SIERRA TANGO"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UEFI lockdown, and phonetics?

      After re-reading more carefully, I saw the bit about attempting to boot Linux - so this looks like it is a case of "we didn't actually prohibit you from booting anything else, we just made it so it wouldn't actually work."

  9. IGnatius T Foobar

    windows 8 fail

    Just goes to show you once again, windows 8 fails at being a pc, fails at being a tablet, fails at being a phone, and makes all products using it fail to be usable.

  10. greenmoose

    Seemed to miss something out....

    How come this review doesn't spend more time on how totally DREADFUL the screen is on this device is? Honestly i've seen cheapo android tablets from china with a nicer screens than this. I've had one of these on my desk for evaluation for 4 weeks and while it was an adequate experience performancewise, the awful screen and cost of the thing makes me wonder why someone wouldn't buy a cheap (or even expensive) android tablet and a windows laptop for the same money...

  11. Herby

    Maybe if a customer insists?

    Linux? We can only hope. Now if they make another model number (901?) and tell everyone it works with Linux (pre-installed) with all the accessories (SD card and all that!), it might sell.

    You never know.

    Maybe to satisfy MSFT they say "it won't boot W8" just to get around the licensing "feature".

    "How hard can it be?"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No portrait mode in dock...

    Good grief - is it really so hard?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: No portrait mode in dock...

      You could say the same for the iPad and Apple Dock in landscape mode...

      The ElitePad is designed to be used primarily in landscape mode, so it isn't really that surprising that the dock is designed to work in landscape mode.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elitepad and Linux

    I too tired to get Linux working on this model. The UEFI firmware will only boot 32bit EFI software, you won't even get it to see USB sticks with anything else. There aren't many Linux distros with a 32bit EFI and those that do have it are out of luck, it hangs on kernel loading (although rEFInd works great). From talking to kernel developers I found that the 32bit EFI code is unmaintained and not needed for most machines nowadays.

    Even if you did get it to boot a Linux kernel this is one of the Atom chips with PowerVR graphics (no Linux driver) so the experience would not be great.

    Given the hardware and UEFI similarities I suspect the Envy X2 has exactly the same problems.

    1. Neil Alexander

      The Atom chip used in the ElitePad is not 64-bit capable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The Atom chip used in the ElitePad is not 64-bit capable."

        Actually it is, but Intel don't advertise it that way. But since the UEFI firmware is 32bit only it is a moot point.

  14. Levente Szileszky

    Another 'mee-too' product from HP, led by an incredibly clueless mgmt...

    ...which simply shut its full-fledged mobile business running WebOS they bought for $1.2B (ex-Palm) - only to start producing dime-a-dozen overpriced tablets running Windows 8 that nobody wants to buy.

    Great call, MBAs.

  15. Arthur Kater :-D ☺

    HP = No support

    HP might be good in servers and printers, but they absolutely s%ck in support for notebooks and the like.

    Forget about driver updates and bug fixes.

  16. Alan Brown Silver badge

    So who really makes this?

    HP's main contribution these days consists of sticking their badge on someone else's product.

    Find that, and find the support (or lack of).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Incidentally, HP's Wi-Fi Hotspot is fixed on WPA2 and Channel 11"

    This is because HP's WiFi chips, across its devices (most notably with its printers) are only guaranteed to work on channel 11.

    Not. Even. Kidding.

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