back to article Review: HP Slate 7 Android tablet

The other day Vulture Central was visited by HP with a Google chap in tow. We were treated to a couple of HP products: the new Slate 7 Android tablet and the company’s latest Chromebook, which we’d already seen as it happens. The smart-looking seven-inch, dual-processor-core tablet appeared to have little to distinguish it …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A FFS+ screen?


    1. Great Bu

      Re: A FFS+ screen?

      For Fuck's Sake + (As in, "for fuck's sake, I can barely see her nipples on this JPEG")

  2. Chairo


    was a bastard resolution for netbooks and I cannot imagine it will perform any better on a tablet.

    Heck, even my cheapo chinese android phone has a higher resolution on a smaller screen. Most internet pages are optimized for a minimum vertical resolution of 768 points.

    I wonder if they will ever learn...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1024x600

      It's pathetic isn't it? I've had a Tab 7.7 for well over a year and want to upgrade because its getting long in the tooth already but there is nothing with a better screen (1280x800 OLED). Will someone please release a 7" tablet with Full HD OLED please!

    2. Mark .

      Re: 1024x600

      The problem with 1024x600 on netbooks is trying to run windowed environments on them - it's less of a problem if everything's built to run full screen. There was also the problem that Windows and Linux applications often assumed a vertical height of 768 minimum, where as most Android applications won't, since there are still plenty of lower end Android phones with lower resolutions.

      On webpages, I find it's the horizontal resolution that matters the most, and 1024 is fine in my experience - after all, for vertical, a webpage is typically far longer than anyone's screen.

      For video, the real limitation is not resolution, but storage space. What use is Full HD, when a 16GB tablet can't even store a single Blu-Ray quality movie? (And streaming will just use up most people's mobile data in no time.)

      "cheapo chinese android phone"

      I suspect the key point is chinese - if you got a cheapo chinese tablet, you could get a higher resolution too (e.g., the wonderfully named Ainol Fire).

      But for most phones available with distribution in the US or UK, you're looking at either a far more expensive smartphone, or a lower resolution (e.g., 800x480, some still doing stupidly low resolutions like 480x320, and even 320x240 was around until recently).

      I do agree it's a shame that so many 7" tablets are going for 1024x600, with little choice for 1280x800 or higher. But I'm also not convinced it's a "bastard" resolution.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: 1024x600

        At least you can turn a tablet through 90º... I've only used a netbook for internet browsing once, and kept wishing I could do the same. It wasn't so much the poor resolution that made browsing a chore, but rather the letterbox screen ratio compounded by the presence of Address and Toolbars.

        1. daveeff

          Re: 1024x600

          For the thousandth time I ask why ribbons / toolbars / ... have to be at the top of a wide screen leaving the content much wider than tall when taller than wide is easier to read (why do you think all printed matter is way?).

          Toolbars / ribbons (if we HAVE to have them) should float and snap to the side.

  3. Lunatik

    Really struggling to understand HP's motivation in this one.

    Was there a meeting in February where they decided they were *that* desperate to get a 7" device into the market that they had to rush something out that, frankly, would've looked mediocre last summer?

    The next generation of 7-8" Androids are just around the corner and I'd be surprised if the Nexus 7 II doesn't make this look like the relic it really is.

    At least they've not taken the piss with the pricing I suppose, but £99 might've been more appropriate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Meg Whitman recognises that there's money to be made in 'mobility' and the Slate 7 is part of HP's effort to get into this market.

      Like lots of HP products it is not innovative, it is too little, too late.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't understand the motivation either, and I work for them. The worst thing is when you pick this thing up, it feels really, really nice. It's solidly built, no flex, good materials and has just enough heft without going into heavy territory. It's even got quite a nice CPU in it. Not amazing, but good enough.

      And then they go and ruin it by throwing in an inadequate amount of RAM, an outright terrible screen, cameras barely worthy of the name and stripping out the rest of the features people might want (MHL etc.)

      Admittedly it is quite cheap, but the Nexus 7 is still cheap at £160. Imagine if HP had stuck another £50's worth of stuff into their BoM and maintained the amount [if not the margin] of profit. Between the build quality and their ability to stuff these things down the pipe to retailers at astonishing rates they could've had a real player on their hands.

      Perhaps more perplexing is that there are obviously people at HP who know what they're doing - the x2 chassis is really nice, and the forthcoming 1920x1200 android 10" x2 is a genuinely top notch product.

  4. JDX Gold badge

    I see more and more tourists around London capturing the sights with tablets

    I really hope you 'accidentally' walk into them and knock them to the ground. As if London pedestrians really needed another way to be even less considerate of other people.

    1. tirk

      Re: I see more and more tourists around London capturing the sights with tablets

      You "accidentally walk into them" and complain that they are inconsiderate?? Pot/kettle mate.

  5. K

    lol ...

    HP... Hardly Passable!

  6. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

    Gazes over at Touchpad...

    I wonder if someone in HP looked at the results of the ninety quid firesale, and decided that around a ton was the right price point for a tablet, then built this dinosaur down to a price?

    They don't seem to really know what they're doing these days, do they?


    1. Peter Gordon
      Thumb Down

      Re: Gazes over at Touchpad...

      At least the touchpad had a differentiators, even at its original (admittedly ridiculously high) pricepoint, namely webOS and a really good inductive charging solution.

      This is just a generic "me too" product.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another non-tablet

    "from" a once-well-respected company. It's got NOTHING to make it better, or even on par with other, unbranded Chinese clones. Ah, but it's a branded Chinese clone, right! This implies.... qua-li-tyyyy, I seeeeee.


    and wtf would I want to print off a shitty photo, if I can't be arsed to print good ones?

  8. annodomini2

    Sure it's cheap

    But that screen res it killing it.

    With a 720p unit and a Nexus 7 price undercut, they'd be flying out the door, especially with expandable storage.

    I'm guessing the res is either for cost or supply issues, but still, you have a device competing with the budget Chinese makes, going to struggle.

  9. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Dear Android Manufacturers,

    Please can I have a stylus. Not on all models, I'm not greedy. But you keep bringing out all these lovely tablety goodies, and they're much cheaper than iPads. But only Samsung have bothered to give us pens. So their Galaxy Notes are all top price, with no competition.

    No-one wants to be forced to use a stylus for the UI. We all know that's horrible, and we're all happier for having capacative screens (except when we've got our gloves on). But everyone should also know that drawing and handwriting without a stylus are also horrible. And it's such a natural thing to have on a 7" tablet. Please, please, pretty please.

    Otherwise I'll have to write to Jim'll Fix It - and you wouldn't want me to do that now would you...

    1. qunow

      How about fonepad note?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge


        Thanks. I'd missed that one.

        Also thank you Asus. I've got a friend who wants to take quick site pictures, and then sketch dimensions on them, so he can do his drawings and designs better. So I was rather sad to see that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 had come down in price to £250-odd last year, but has now popped back to £400, and seems to be staying there. A 6" screen seems pretty large for a phone though, while being a bit small for drawing on. But I'll have to have a play with one in a shop.

    2. Flywheel

      handwriting without a stylus are also horrible

      Unless you're writing Chinese I think, then it should be fine..

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: handwriting without a stylus are also horrible

        > I've got a friend who wants to take quick site pictures, and then sketch dimensions on them, so he can do his drawings and designs better.


        And you can get Leica surveying kit that interfaces with Android devices... I'd like to see more stuff that bridges the gap between the office/studio and the workshop/site... a bluetooth 'smart' tape measure, for example. I know it is a little niche, but it wouldn't take much to enable it.

        Curious that MS's Courier was designed for content creation, yet was killed (allegedly) by B. Gates.

  10. qunow

    the model of cpu it used is Rockchip RK3066

    which 1. I had and only had see this chip in Chinese unbranded tablet before, so I suspect this tablet is a Chinese OEM product, 2. itonly run at 1.6GHz when benchmarking and in daily use it rarely run faster than 1.2GHz and that make its performance difference fron other tablet larger than what's on paper. Also, MX Player is the video player that best utilize these chips in my opinion.

    p.s. if it is really a ODM/OEM from Chinese manufacturer, I would said that the current pricr of this tablet is overpriced by 300% even it is under the brand HP. There are tablets with similar hardware spec costing only 299CNY=48.6USD/31.9GBP in China with the only few differences are the logo printed on it and the beats and print app preloaded that can otherwise be manually flashed into the tablet.

  11. DrXym

    Printing is Android's achilles heel

    To print in Android:

    1. Wonder why no app offers a print option.

    2. After reading various articles install a cloud print app which sticks itself into the Share menu that some apps implement

    3. Mess around trying to register your printer with the cloud print service. If your printer is not cloud print compatible, then tough you need to software on a a PC as a proxy to it, e.g. Google Chrome.

    4. To print, share the document to this other app. Other app sends the file to the cloud, the cloud renders it and attempts to send it to the printer.

    5. If all is well you get a print out approximating what you wanted to print. If not, tough.

    6. Forget about print preview, options to set double sided printing, photo quality, paper size etc.

    7. Forget about your privacy too since it's cloud based.

    I expect HP's tablet points to their own print service (and doubtless makes you wade through print service ads) instead of Google's, but I doubt it's any more elegant which is to say not at all.

    Why there isn't a decent framework for this I don't know. Even if out of the box Android could only print to PDF format, it would still be something. Windows RT might be crap for other reasons but at least you can print properly from it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Printing is Android's achilles heel

      Despite the idea of a peerless office or work system there's still times when you need to print.

      I've tried printing from a business issue iPad and it was a bugger too. It may have been the particular apps didn't want to offer a print option or had been locked down. Technical support's answer was to add a printing application - where you had to copy the text you wanted to print from the one app and then paste it into this other and then print. Madness.

      Printer manufacturers own app was designed for printing from photos not apps but at least that worked without needing an airprint printer.

      The software to make a PC appear as an AirPrint printer was much more effective though .

    2. AceRimmer

      Re: Printing is Android's achilles heel

      One of the reasons I bought a Tablet was to go paperless... printing from a tablet sort of defeats the purpose.

      As for printing photos from a tablet... you have to be near a printer to print, so probably at home. It's a simple task to transfer the photos to a PC, this can even be done automatically via something like dropbox or a direct syncing app. Once on your PC the photo can be edited and corrected as appropriate and then printed.

      1. DrXym

        Re: Printing is Android's achilles heel

        "One of the reasons I bought a Tablet was to go paperless... printing from a tablet sort of defeats the purpose."

        It doesn't at all. If I'm booking a Ryanair flight on a tablet I want to be able to print boarding passes. If my kids are browsing a cartoon site they might want to print out a mask or colouring page. If I'm doing my taxes or health insurance I might need to print out a PDF. Or maybe I capture a picture and I just want to print it out for someone on glossy paper.

        Basically there needs to be an adequate printing framework. Android's is horrible - it doesn't have one. The closest thing is to share a document to a cloud printing app and that is an extremely poor substitute. It doesn't even work properly for session / secure http content, for example log into your bank and share the URL and you'll end up printing some security error page, not what's in the browser.

        The framework at the very least should allow apps to print directly to PDF through some drawing context. Adobe Reader or some other app could push that to the cloud to print, or straight to the printer via Airprint or something analogous to it..

    3. Flywheel

      Re: Printing is Android's achilles heel

      You're not wrong, and Ive the iPad is the same. On my cheapo Chinese tablet I can use the Brother scan and print app just fine, except that it uses shedloads of ink. Compare that with the iPad and I have to send it through some godawful PDF print thing which prints everything in barely-there grey.

      One day eh.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not CUPS?

    I don't understand why Google doesn't just add CUPS support? Discoverable via mDNS, feed it Postscript and it prints so the device doesn't need to have every possible printer installed, can get the printer info from the server if you do need specialized features (two sided printing, finishing, etc.).

  13. tony72


    They missed a trick with this one. I was quite excited when I heard about this, thinking the Beats audio might mean they'd bothered to put some effort into a pair of front-facing speakers. Alas no, and the resolution is too much of a downgrade from my Nexus 7 too. How is it that my old Nokia phone has better speakers than all current 7" tablets? Around the home or in the hotel room, people don't necessarily want to be isolated from the world by a pair of headphones all the time, and these are supposed to be media consumption devices, after all.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Speakers

      I took my Mum tablet shopping in John Lewis a few month's ago. She wants a 7 incher - ooh err missus...

      The Nexus 7 has truly horrible speakers, but I was quite impressed by the Samsung Galaxy 7. You could hear those clearly over the noise of the shop, and I thought they were as loud as (probably a bit louder) than my iPad. Which admittedly can't be heard over a kettle, unless you hold it to your ear.

      Can't swear to quality though, as it was a noisy shop. Only volume. But if you want quality, you use headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.

      1. Down not across

        Re: Speakers

        Another potential option (assuming the Amazon "lock-in" would not be an issue) could be Kindle Fire HD which has fairly reasonable speakers for a ~7" tablet. Not to mention the screen is rather good.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    very poor review

    So four paras banging on about Google Cloud Print which really is not that hard to master but no mention of the truly terrible display this thing has, the stodgy UI (the display regularly stalls while rotating), the absence of GPS (yes, seriously, this thing does not have a GPS radio), and the almost total inability to play any sort of 3D games smoothly. The cameras are terrible too, front and back - and I mean terrible even when taking their resolution into account. Also there is no ambient light sensor so no automatic brightness.

    The true killer though is that the pixel ratio and screen ratio don't match, as several other reviews have picked up on. I quote one "the Slate 7's display is 600 pixels wide and 1024 pixels tall, a ratio of 1:7.066. But the actual real-world dimensions of the LCD display are 112.7 mm wide and 154 mm tall, giving an aspect ratio of 1:7.636."

    That explains why the UI looks stretched along the vertical axis - it's noticeable to the naked eye, especially when you put it alongside a Nexus 7.

    ps...Fringe Field Switching (poor mans IPS) is meant to help viewing angles but you'd struggle to notice on the HP -contrast is poor and chromatic shift abounds about both axis only a few degrees away from true . The one I used started to show screen burn-in out of the box which bodes ill for how the cheapo-LCD panel will look after six or twelve months.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beats audio? hype and rubbish (Monster of Monster Cable fame were involved, go figure). Lots of bass and treble auto applied.

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