28
Jan
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Back when NVIDIA announced its Tegra Note platform, it was said that several manufacturers would be producing their own versions of the unit. The basic components are the same – Tegra 4, 1GB RAM, 1280x800 display, etc. – but each manufacturer is still free to tweak and change the design as they see fit. HP's Slate 7 Extreme is a perfect example of this – it looks nothing like the EVGA Tegra Note 7 (which was the first TN7 device to market), yet it packs all the same features.

Since we've already done an extensive review of the EVGA Tegra Note 7, this will be more of a quick look at HP's offering, along with a comparison of the two tablets – and believe it or not, there are some differences. Let's just say that if you're in the market for a Tegra Note device, you'll definitely want to do your research and make sure to grab the best one for the money. Let's dig in.

Specs
  • Display: 7-inch 1280x800 IPS with DirectStylus input
  • Processor: 1.8Ghz Quad-core Tegra 4
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Cameras: 5MP Rear shooter, 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • Ports: MicroSD, headphone jack, microUSB
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n
  • OS: Android 4.2.2
  • Dimensions/Weight: 200mm x 120mm x 9.4mm, 0.70lbs.
  • Battery: 4,100mAh
  • Price: $199
  • Buy: Direct from HP

Build and Hardware

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Right of the box, it's clear that the Slate 7 Extreme is an HP tablet – not an NVIDIA tablet. Gone is the black Tegra Note backing of the EVGA model, which has been replaced by a sort of dull gray backing reminiscent of past HP tablets. I wouldn't say it's a bad change, as neither design is remarkable in their own right. It is, however, cleaner and sleeker, so HP gets some points for that.

While EVGA's Tegra note is built pretty well, I'm inclined to believe that the HP is actually sturdier. It feels really well made, but more importantly, the buttons feel substantially better than EVGA's TN7. The power button is just above the camera hump, which made it somewhat difficult to find on the EVGA model. On the S7E, however, the button is raised higher than on the EVGA model, so it's much, much easier to locate and press. That's a huge improvement in my opinion, as that was one of my biggest complaints with EVGA's TN7.

The button/port layout for the S7E is exactly the same as other Tegra Note devices, but here's a quick rundown for those who may not have read our previous review. The microUSB, miniHDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack, and power button are all on the top of the device, with the microSD card slot and volume rock on the right side. The stylus bay, bass reflex port, and slot for the TN7 cover are all found on the bottom. The cover spine runs all the way up the left side, so there are no buttons there. The speakers, of course, are on the front of the device at the top and bottom. The 5MP rear shooter is on the top-left corner (just below the power button).

wm_IMG_0366 wm_IMG_0367 wm_IMG_0368

The primary tangible difference between the TN7 and the S7E is the stylus. Right out of the gate, NVIDIA offered two different styli: a rounded tip and a chiseled tip. The latter ships with the EVGA model, and is actually the more versatile of the two since it can be turned and twisted to offer different widths – a great feature for anyone who plans to use the tablet for drawing or any type of art.

The S7E, however, ships with the smaller, rounded-rip stylus (which is actually called the DirectStylus Pro). This one is much better for handwriting, as it doesn't matter how the stylus is turned – it always produces lines of the same width. I personally prefer this stylus, as it just feels smoother and more comfortable across the display. With that said, don't let something this small sway your decision on which Tegra Note unit to buy, as replacement styluses are available, so you can easily have both types.

wm_IMG_0372

One thing I was actually shocked to see with both units side-by-side is the difference in display. Having spent quite a bit of time comparing the two with various images, text, and games, I can without a doubt say that the Slate 7 Extreme has a better display than the EVGA model. It should be the same panel, but HP has clearly done some things here to optimize the output – it's brighter, color reproduction is better on all accounts (whites still look slightly dingy, but definitely better than on the TN7), and even text looks darker and crisper. Don't get me wrong here – it's not a mind blowing difference and you still know you're looking at a 720p display on a seven inch screen, but there's definitely a noticeable improvement.

Software and Performance

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As good as the build quality is on the S7E, software is where things start to go a different direction. For starters, HP still hasn't sent the Android 4.3 update to the device, despite it being available since December 26th. That's more than a month late, which is absolutely unacceptable. Hopefully the delay is due to the fact that the S7E hadn't yet launched when the TN7's OTA rolled out and not a sign of things to come. I'm not hopeful about that, though. Really, 4.3 is a small incremental update over 4.2.2 anyway – but the fact that this one is already delayed just concerns me about future updates.

Aside from the difference in software version, HP also decided to throw its own bundled apps onto the S7E – HP File Manager, ePrint, and Connected Photo – along with bundled software, like Box, Adobe Reader, and Skype. This is, of course, on top of the already-included NVIDIA stuff, like Tegra Draw, Tegra Zone, Write, and the like. So yeah, the S7E has a bit more bloatware then the TN7, but it's still not as much as I've seen on other devices.

There are also some subtle differences in the launcher – the dock only supports four icons (aside from the app tray), instead of six like the TN7. Some of the fonts are also larger, even with the font set to small in the settings menu.

On the performance side, the Slate 7 Extreme is right up there with the best of 'em. The Tegra 4 under its hood keeps everything running like a top, and there's no discernable difference between the S7E and TN7. I shared my feelings on the TN7's performance in that review, so just check that out for a good idea of what to expect from the S7E.

Conclusion

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All in all, I like the HP Slate 7 Extreme more than EVGA's Tegra Note 7, despite the fact that it has yet to receive the update to Android 4.3. The build quality is better, the display is better (even if only marginally), and I prefer the overall experience. For the same price, I think the S7E is a better buy than EVGA's model, but if you've already bought the TN7, don't sweat it – the difference isn't that drastic. If you're on the fence about a Tegra Note device, however, I have no issues recommending the Slate 7 Extreme (which may actually be a first for an HP tablet).

If you have any specific questions about either model of Tegra Note, feel free to fire away in the comments and I'll answer as I can.

Buy: HP

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Seems like a more-or-less nice tablet. Maybe 2GB of RAM and a 3G module would be better, for ~25$ higher price. Stylus support is definately nice though, and the CPU should provide enough juice for power-hungry games. Design also kinda remind of an iPad mini. Only real complaint is 4.2.2..

    • bob

      You're complaining about a point revision of android, but not the crappy WXGA screen?

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Why? The display is pretty much like on the original Nexus 7 - an IPS matrix with 720p resolution

        • norcal1953

          720p is fine for video, but for a lot of e-reading I like 1080p better

      • deltatux

        See no issue about 1280x800 at all. Rather have 4.3 than a "higher res" screen. Higher res screen also means more power usage since the GPU would need to do more work to render at higher resolutions.

        • ta2025

          Would rather have 4.4.2 like I do on the nexii

      • A_Noyd

        I looked at it, and it looks just fine.

    • Cheeseball

      If NVIDIA is handling the updates for HP, then this should already be eligible for 4.3.

      • A_Noyd

        I doubt they are since it has HP apps/bloatware in it.

        • norcal1953

          Can bloatware really affect os rollouts?

    • A_Noyd

      deleted

      • Disappointed

        The usb port is fragile. HP lied to me and said engineering was aware of the problem and had fixed. With that assurance I accepted a new replacement but it showed up just as flimsy as the first. The problem is that the port is on a steep angle with insufficient support and the provided cable is the thickest and stiffest I have ever seen putting a lot of torque on the port. I pulling the plug and going with the safer bet (Nexus 7). It is more but I bet few of the Extreme 7's live much past a year.

  • Quinton

    The coolest (and unadvertised) feature of this tablet is the fact that the cover magnets are strong enough to stick this thing to a refrigerator or locker. It's sticking to my locker right now at work--and that's awesome.

    How useful is that? Meh, depends on what you're using for. In the kitchen whilst cooking to display a recipe? In a shop stuck to a tool chest to listen to music or audiobooks? It has applications. :-)

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Well it can be used as a "built-in" dashboard for displaying various important info

    • HopelesslyFaithful

      just make sure it isn't by any computers with a disk drive -_- Wouldn't dare put it on my desk lol

    • luzzjl524

      My Uncle Zachary
      recently got a 9 month old Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL63 AMG only from working
      off a home pc... go now B­u­z­z­3­4­.­ℂ­o­m

    • Gouge

      Totally agree, just tried it with my sons Advent Tegra Note 7 and it is the same, sticks to the fridge perfectly. Fantastic, they should be making a big deal of this.

  • OSagnostic

    TYPO: Should say "0.3MP (VGA) front facing camera" (same as other Tegra Notes).

  • renz

    so it pretty much what i think what it would be regarding to software updates. when nvidia mention 4.3 updates it did not mention HP S7E on their list (only EVGA, XOLO, Advent Vega etc). i suspect HP will handle the updates themselves instead of nvidia. personally i think it is better for nvidia to handle the updates just like they did with their GPU.

  • deltatux

    If there was a cellular-enabled variant with AWS HSPA+ support, I would have bought it off the bat. Like how hard would it be for NVIDIA to make a cellular variant? They are trying to push their Icera modems for years, this would have been a perfect opportunity.

    • Mado

      If I'm not mistaken Nvidia want to have more control on the software updates, and putting baseband radios = carrier involvements = slower updates. Not to mention the bloatwares...

      • Roger Siegenthaler

        No... they can just put a baseband radio in and only sell it directly, carrier involvement only begins when they want to sell it on contract.

  • Himmat Singh

    I don't really mind the "low" screen res. In fact, for a 7-inch tab, that's good enough and will actually lead to better gaming performance.

    But 1GB just simply can't cut it out in 2014, more so for such a gaming centric device. 1GB works wonders on iOS and even WP8, but Android is so power-hungry by the time you get to opening the third app, the first one gets closed (or erased from cache).

    • deltatux

      Really? my current tablet only has 1 GB RAM, I can have many apps opened no problem. Only issue with the tablet is because ASUS gimped out on the storage unit, now it's been pretty much burned out with super slow read/write speeds.

      • norcal1953

        4.3 is supposed to have TRIM support, one of the reasons 4.3 is actually important ... my Memo Pad HD7 hasn't had any eMMC slow downs to date, though.

        • deltatux

          I had a feeling it's the lack of TRIM that's causing the problem, but since my TF201 was never upgraded past 4.1 and the bootloader is encrypted (with a hard to decrypt bootloader process), it's essentially stuck in 4.1 indefinitely. LagFix, which runs userland TRIM, doesn't really make it better....

    • A_Noyd

      1GB or not, a guy I work with has one, and it is screamingly fast.

  • QuanahHarjo

    This is exactly what I've been expecting out of this tab...better screen and build than the EVGA, but with enough HP in the mix to slow updates down. Hopefully this won't be a long-lasting situation. The S7E is exactly the type of product HP needs to pull themselves out of some serious tablet doldrums.

  • Saad Naeem

    Nexus 7 2013 FTW

    • hot_spare

      You Nexus trolls are really irritating. Same as iOS trolls.

  • Paul Tobeck

    Will we ever see this SOC/Stylus on a proper 8" or 10" tablet? 7" was fine when my phone was 4.3", but now that they are 5"+, 7" seems like a big phone to me. I'd rather have more screen real estate to better utilize the stylus functions.

    • norcal1953

      Interesting question, it is hard to get sales figures on tablets but one website mentioned that 7" tablets aren't so popular any more, that there seems to be a shift to 8" screens. 8" screens are definitely better than 7" for video consumption - at least if you do a lot of it - and phablets are quickly approaching 7" "small tablet" size. I don't think the market has settled down yet on what it wants. Personally I'd like to see the market use 7" for 1280*800 displays (cheaper, lighter tablets) and all 8" tablets should be 1080p (better for e-reading on that size, more vibrant video experiences. Of course I would like to see all mid-range tablets with a minimum of 2gb RAM and 32gb storage as well, and it's unlikely those changes will happen for quite some time. (Once again, 1gb/8gb/uSD for budget 7" tablets). Kit Kat - Android 4.4 - is supposed to be the salvation of lighter spec'd tablets, but as usual in computing it seems cheaper and easier to add more RAM that to actually push the "less resource intensive" Android version out to pre-existing hardware.

  • Shorn M. Emmanuel

    alot of people are having problems with the evga Tegra Note usb charging port . I just wanna know if the HP S7E any better?

    • A_Noyd

      And a lot of people are not having problems with the charging port.

      • Shorn M. Emmanuel

        i was reading some user reviews on newegg.com on the EVGA tegra note

        and since i know the HP S7E is rebranded. I would think they share the same

        faults.

        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834099001&SortField=0&SummaryType=0&PageSize=10&SelectedRating=-1&VideoOnlyMark=False&IsFeedbackTab=true#scrollFullInfo

        • DescartesShaman

          http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Tablets/Slate/F4C58UA?HP-Slate7-Extreme

          Check the Reviews on the product homepage. People also mention having an unsturdy usb and it breaking. The overall build is said to be more solid than TN7 however the port issue seems to be an design flaw of the product. You may want to get either this or a nexus 7 2013 with an Meenova adapter for extra space. its an interesting device that you should check out.

          • Shorn M. Emmanuel

            thanks for the info. the other thing is, will this device have or support wireless charging?

        • norcal1953

          It's not exactly re-branded. Maybe the circuit board is the same; maybe they are even made in the same factory. But the cases are different, and build quality is different according to the reviewer here. IMHO the build quality on the EVGA Tegra Note 7 is lower than any other Android tablet we've owned, and that includes the $99 Walmart special HP Mesquite (actually quite solidly put together) and the $99 HiSense budget tablet (not pretty like the Mesquite, but well assembled).

          Tegra released "hardware" specs for tablets to be sold under the Tegra Note 7 brand. Theoretically they then authorized only ONE company to sell their tablet under that brand name in each country. EVGA is the lucky winner for America, so HP can't (and maybe doesn't want to) sell their edition under the Tegra Note 7 brand name, so they aren't required to follow the exact Tegra Note 7 specs which includes uSD slot, front firing speaker with bass port - but as a practical matter, since demand is relatively low, they are probably all made by one subcontractor in China hence the actual similarities.

          If I had it to do over again, I would have bought the HP instead of the EVGA, but we wanted to try out the Tegra 4 as early-adopters (my kid games a lot).

          One thing for sure - the Tegra Note 7 is VERY fast and has better game play than the Nexus 7 (despite the lower memory, probably due to more Tegra 4 video cores and fewer pixels to push - lower rez).

    • Cheeseball

      This is the first time I've ever heard of this. It's not even mentioned on the official forums.

      • norcal1953

        It was reported in the EVGA Tegra Note 7 that it was difficult to fit the charger cable in the port due to the location or orientation of the socket in the port. That was my experience when we got ours. However the other day I had to charge the EVGA edition and it was easy to get the cable in, so either my muscle memory got better or the socket got worked into a better angle or position. My kid still complains it is hard to fit the cable in, though. None of us had problems with other Android tablets fwiw.

    • Frank Bales

      I returned mine to Newegg because it wouldn't charge at all overnight. When Newegg got it they said they got it to charge. They sent me a new one anyway (thanks Newegg), and I still don't like the USB socket. It just doesn't feel right. Be extra careful when plugging it in. Make sure the plug is in the correct orientation before plugging in (not upside down). Since I've had this one (just a few days). It is charging fine, and have had no problems otherwise. It is fast, very fast. I like the looks of the EVGA better than the HP, but that's just personal opinion. I don't really trust HP, and not having the 4.3 update is further proof for me. I've already had a 2nd minor OTA update yesterday, or the day before. I can't wait for a K1 in a 10 inch tablet.

  • Ed

    question - HP offers a slate 7 with 16gb that has lifetime 4g broadband
    through TMobile with limit of 200mb per month. They said when you reach
    200mb it will stop connecting so no charges - ever - but still can
    connect with wifi anytime. What are the thoughts on going this route vs
    just getting the slate 7 extreme that is 16gb without the broadband?
    Price is $30 difference - $199.99 vs $229.99

    • psychoace

      You will lose a lot of performance for just 200mb a month of 4g. All this while also paying $30 extra. I would say the 4g version is not really an option. Even if you need 4g service there are better options.

      • Ed

        Thank you. when I saw the option I thought 200mb was too low. I will focus on the wifi model but will be getting the 16gb version as it feels like the extra 8 gb could be important. This is $50 higher than the 8gb model.

  • laserOS

    Does this model come with the "Smart Cover" Type cover from Nvida

    • jt

      Im wondering the same thing. I just bought the s7e and was wondering if the tegras case would fit on the slate

      • Nicolas Ardiles

        i have the same question, you people on EEUU (i'm from Argentina) could respond to that so i can buy TN7 cover for S7E on the same time?

  • http://about.me/xndres Andres

    Really Bluetooth 3.0? And not 4?

    • Jesus

      Do the maths. 4 - 3 = is only 2. ONLY 2

  • http://about.me/xndres Andres

    Really Bluetooth 3.0? And not 4?

  • Shorn M. Emmanuel

    Got my slate 7 extreme 4 days ago and i love it, i added sketchbook pro into the mix and wow. truly satisfied, and the bonus the magnetic backing.

  • lannister

    Vous trouverez tous les clones disponible ici:

    http://www.mytouch-phone.com ...

    a voir et a découvrir : galaxy note 3 promo & nouvel ipad air

  • Guest

    Design and specs look amazing. I want to get into digital drawing and if the stylus is as responsive as you say then I need one of these.

  • Hadar

    Until HP goes and shows they give a damn about their clients by actually bothering to update what is essentially a tegra note 7 with a different kind of plastic back, avoid. The TN7 already has Kitkat and would probably be kept updated. My HP slate is apparently up to date with 4.2 and will stay that way.

    Same tablet(by my experience) just no support. AVOID.

  • Илья Ткаченко

    Thank for review. I have a question.HP's tablet stylus can draws different widths of line?

  • shorn

    is this a joke evga tegra note has kitkat almost 2 weeks now and nothing yet from hp. that is really disappointing.

  • rohini

    Could any one shed light on the performance of gps in either HP S7E or EVGA TN7 (accuracy, position fixing etc). not a single review made any mention about it. Also is it possible to download map of cities / countries in the device for using with GPS without any net connection (same could be done with nokia map)

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  • anonymous

    Does anyone know what the black plastic part that slides out?

  • nick

    Does the stylus feel paper-like?

    ( http://goo.gl/ZDTX1N )

  • Raymond Tafoya

    Wondering why half-life is not compatible with my slate extreme is kinda bringing me down. Any reason why?