HP’s TouchPad No iPad Killer But Stands On Its Own Merits

23/07/2019 Posted by admin

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The 9.7-inch HP TouchPad, available in Canada July 15th for $520 (16GB) and $620 (32 GB), joins a large group of tablets sporting some unique features. Should you buy it? Read on.

What impressed me the most was its new operating system, webOS, originally developed by Palm, now part of HP and thus the computer giant’s first entry in the popular tablet market. WebOS is a smart and user-friendly fit for portable tablets that organizes what you do the way you organize “analog” paper work on your desk.

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Each application you open can be left open and tucked aside in a card-size format with one upwards finger swipe, or closed with a second swipe. In fact, it’s similar to a BlackBerry PlayBook. Now you can easily see and choose between all your open (and actually running) applications, swiping horizontally. Each open app stacks related windows on the same pile, slightly spread out like playing cards, to choose from and run full screen.

This interesting tab format also applies to different web sites you visit. This keeps a clean desktop and frankly is the best method I have seen to organize your work on any tab. I missed this intuitive swipe multitasking feature as soon as I switched to other tablets.

The “Just type” bar on the main screen is like the Windows 7 start tab, only smarter, understanding what you want to do, showing you any relevant applications or web searches to choose from.

HP has wisely designed the TouchSmart with a competitive platform to incorporate development with popular third party apps, like Facebook and Skype. It’s Flash 10.3 compatible and I found the web experience to be good.

The TouchPad has great sound and charges wirelessly on an optional charge pad and stand. A Bluetooh keyboard also works nicely, but the onscreen keyboard deserves praise as it includes numeric keys on the main text mode, meaning quicker access to numbers. You can also pinch and move the screen at the same time, something any tablet should do today.

Overall, I found it just as fast and responsive as competitors’ except for the iPad which is still the most touch responsive of the lot. The email client is first rate, the best experience to a non-cellular device which worked on every web email I tried.

It also does some magic with a compatible webOS phone using a touch-to-share feature wirelessly sharing information between the two. You need that phone connection for wireless cellular data access, otherwise you are limited to WiFi. I found the touch screen to be more reflective than average.

The TouchPad only has only one 1.3 mepagpixel user-facing webcam camera, good for video calls. It lacks a real GPS, relying on WiFi for location, good in cities but not in rural areas. Its online apps, 30 per cent free, are into the several hundred , and about 7,000 for the lower resolution webOS phone. For now, the iPhone/iPad Store world is way ahead, at about 360,000/90,000. I wish HP would have the more convenient PayPal option…instead you have to use your credit cards.

Which brings us to this sobering fact: The HP TouchPad is too pricy for the hardware it lacks and is not an iPad killer. It will join a group of “me too” tablets from Samsung, LG, Motorola, BlackBerry and others, each with its own advantages and quirky likes to please those looking for iPad alternatives.

One note, if you are not in a rush, and don’t have the iPad itch, wait for Samsung’s 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, later this year. I have seen it and being Samsung’s second tablet version, it is worth waiting for.

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