24
Feb
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If only there was an affordable, powerful, and well-supported 7" Android tablet out there. Oh wait, there is exactly that. But HP thinks there is room for a cheaper, moderately worse tablet. So, meet the Slate 7. It's not bad looking at all; actually, I quite like how HP's designed this thing. It feels pretty nice (the back is a sort of brushed matte plastic), and is relatively light. Most of the niceness stops there, though.

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While the Slate 7 does perform decently, it is noticeably slower than a Nexus 7 even in basic UI navigation tasks (thank that 1.6GHz dual-core processor), and that's really just the tip of the drawback iceberg. The 1024x600 screen is terrible. Let me say what I mean by terrible: the Nexus 7's display isn't winning any awards (it's good, but by no means great), and the Slate 7's display is pretty crappy even from that point of comparison. An aspect ratio of 16:9 and unusually large bezels on the top and bottom make the Slate 7 look unusually tall, too, and I can't say I'm a fan. The unit I played with also had some weird UI scaling issues going on (everything look 'squished'). There's no NFC, no GPS, and just 8GB on-board storage.

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The upshots that HP hopes you'll buy into are the presence of a microSD card slot, HP ePrint, and a 3MP rear camera, all at a cost $30 less than the Nexus 7. Maybe for some these could be a legitimate draw, but honestly, you're likely to pay for it in the long run - who knows what HP's software update schedule is going to look like (it's running Android 4.1.1 in our hands-on), or how well this untested hardware will age (a dual-core A9 processor isn't exactly cutting-edge).

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But more than likely, HP is relying on Average Joe to walk into a Walmart or Best Buy and pick one of these up, because HP's always been a sort of brick-and-mortar electronics brand. It's certainly not the worst Android tablet in the world, but I can't say it makes much sense to even consider a Slate 7 over a Nexus 7. Check out our hands-on video below for more.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • jonathan3579

    Could a screen look more washed out? Wow.

    • Kenny O

      I was thinking the exact same thing.

  • Level380

    meh HP you have done it again...... Looks like another crap overpriced product from HP.

    • Anthony Tarantino

      $169 is overpriced? What world do you live in? Sure the specs aren't all that great, but it will be sold in more major stores than the Nexus 7. Pretty much everyone knows who HP is, so they have the brand recognition.

      • Level380

        Over priced? Yes it's overpriced..... For $30 more you can get the nexus 7, which has better screen, quad core CPU, running latest version of Android.
        In my country, the nexus is sold at retail stores, so it's everywhere to be had.

  • http://twitter.com/TheJauntyJester Jaunty Jester

    Bezels just keep getting bigger...

    • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

      My N4 would have to disagree.

  • TylerChappell

    That aspect ratio is odd for an Android tablet? Wtf? Has this guy never touched an Android tablet before? Fail.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      The aspect ratio looks extremely odd in person, like HP has actually made it even more narrow. Maybe it's the bezels on the top and bottom. Something about it just looks wrong.

      • HopelesslyFaithful

        yes it is the bezel that is making it look weird. the bezels are not proportional.

        • HopelesslyFaithful

          please delete i wasn't logged in.

      • HopelesslyFaithful

        yes it is the bezel that is making it look weird. the bezels are not proportional.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      The aspect ratio (at least in person) is extremely odd. It's tall and skinny, much more so than, say, the Nexus 7.

  • Gus

    This is exactly like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. But I must say get a Nexus 7. You won't regret it. There are just too many questions and drawbacks when it comes to this tablet. Why didn't they just copy the Nexus 7 for the same price? The Nexus 7 came out LAST YEAR. Surely components must be cheaper...

    • Jason Banich

      The nexus 7's successor will likely be out in 2 months, and only $30 more for MUCH better specs. Even the current Nexus 7 beats this one in specs. No clue why HP thinks this will sell well

  • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

    I do love when companies put out shit products in a marketplace where there's quite a few good ones. It makes no sense at all.

    • David Z

      I'm sure after we start seeing money flooding into marketing campaigns it'll start making sense.

  • arber

    I would wait for the tablets powered with the tegra 4/4i

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    So, everybody was wondering if HP would be a company to watch in the Android world. Now we know.

    Back to business as usual...

  • http://twitter.com/lean6rtj2 lean6rtj

    The brick and mortar reference is why they will sell a metric butt-ton of these tablets. The customer that walks into Walmart or Best Buy looking for something decent (name recognition) to walk out of the store with will be satisfied with this and be never the wiser about some tablet that's only available online.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      Walmart caries the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 (in some stores). They usually aren't displayed properly, but that's a separate issue. I'm not sure about Best Buy, but I thought they stocked the Nexus 7, too. At the very least, better tablets aren't just available online.

      I'm sure some people will be suckered into buying this thing, but I still doubt that this HP tablet is going to be a big seller. It's priced just a bit too high to compete with the really low-budget brands that grandma buys, and it won't be able to compete with Samsung's marketing or their product and brand recognition. When Joe Nobody walks into a store and is faced with buying a tablet from the company that made his printer and computer (both of which he's probably had bad experiences with) or the company that made his big screen tv and probably made the phone in his pocket, which does he pick? I believe he thinks of the tablet as a small screen TV that works like a big phone, so he will pick Samsung.

  • ScottColbert

    Would you like some tablet with that bezel?

  • http://profiles.google.com/pbooker117 Phillip Booker

    Pretty sure they'll be bundling this with printers and/or Chromebooks by Christmas

  • http://twitter.com/Moo_Guy_ Javier Fernandez

    Well maybe next time HP will make a better device.

  • QuanahHarjo

    Recycled Touchpad 7 design?

    • Brandon Fletcher

      It was 4:3. This one is 16:9, or maybe 16:8, judging from the squished AR.

    • Chad Page

      Not at all, the Touchpad Go had 4:3 and a Qualcomm CPU, this has Rockchip. And it would've been out a year before the iPad mini...

  • HotInEER

    Too bad they didn't put a better resolution on this and a better processor and charge $199. They could have had something. For what they are offering this for, $99 to $129 and this would have been a good buy. They did a great job on the back, it looks amazing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kamontryst Tyler Walles

    Damn, i was hoping it had gps, i would've used it for an embedded car tablet

    • Brandon Fletcher

      Get a Nexus 7, flash a USB OTG enabled kernel, and get a Micro USB OTG Host cable on ebay. Charging plus USB flash drive support makes for an amazing embedded car tablet, and totally makes up for the lack of microsd.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryanmounce Bryan

    After I've had four HP laptops die on me after about a year and a half of use, I'm done with HP, and I don't hold out much hope for their tablets. Nice try, though - it does look nice.

  • NoBullet

    "the Nexus 7's display isn't winning any awards (it's good, but by no means great)"

    Does the screen need to look like you're looking out a window or what.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ShitizGarg Shitiz Garg

      Nexus 7 is a good tablet, everyone knows that. But its screen is bad, and Asus should feel bad. Seriously, the colors are off and it feels odd. Especially when I compare it to my color calibrated N4.

  • GigiAUT

    I'm still disappointed about this. I love HP and I wanted one until I saw the specs. I think this isn't aimed at the power users out there but rather the average Joe who doesn't know any better trying to score a cheap 7".

  • flosserelli

    But...but...it's got BEATS audio!! That alone is worth considering this over the Nexus 7.

    /s

  • Anthony Tarantino

    No GPS is a deal-breaker for me. Looks like I'll be getting a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 or an Acer Iconia A110... Both have better specs than this HP tablet, for around the same price.

  • Meg

    Be had my slate 7 since it came out. And I've had NO problem what so ever with it?

    • ayeroxor

      What does 'be had my slate' mean? And are you asking a question about problems with it, or did you just have a spare question mark to throw around?