Review: HP Slate 7

The HP Slate 7 is a low priced, 7in Android tablet targeted at consumers

The HP Slate 7 is a low priced, 7in Android tablet targeted at consumers.

Design & display

The Slate 7 looks like an ordinary 7in Android tablet from the front with a thick, gloss black bezel surrounding a touchscreen display.

The thickness of the bezel makes it easy to hold without accidentally bumping the screen. However, the gloss surface is hard to keep free of fingerprints.

The back of the tablet isn't as grippy as the Google Nexus 7 but is comfortable to hold and almost feels rubber like.

The tablet does feel a little hollow when pressed but the overall fit and finish of the Slate 7 is impressive given its price tag.

The sides of the Slate 7 have a very industrial look, highlighted by the visible screw heads. All buttons and ports on the Slate 7 are well positioned and provide good tactility when pressed.

The Slate 7has a 7in screen with a low resolution of 1024×600. The screen is lacklustre, producing fuzzy looking text, mediocre viewing angles and poor sunlight legibility.

The Slate 7 also lacks an ambient light sensor, so you can't have the brightness adjusted automatically.

Software & performance

The HP Slate 7 ships with an almost stock, vanilla version of Google's Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' OS. It's a little disappointing that the device is currently not shipping with the latest Android 4.2 version.

The experience using the Slate 7 is almost identical to the Nexus 7, apart from a few small additions.

There's a page in the settings menu for the Beats Audio profile, and HP has uses an typewriter clicking sound each time you tap a key on the on-screen keyboard. Thankfully, it can be turned off.

The only app that HP pre-loads on the Slate 7 is the ePrint app. It's not the smoothest or easiest to set up but we eventually managed to get it working with our wireless HP printer.

The Slate 7 is powered by an 1.6GHz ARM dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and comes with just 8GB of internal memory.

There's a microSD card slot for extra storage, though we still would have appreciated more internal memory.

Performance on the Slate 7 is a mixed bag. For most part the tablet is good enough to perform the large majority of tasks. However, basic interface transitions like swiping through home screens and scrolling in the Chrome web browser can feel sluggish at times.

Cameras & battery life

The HP Slate 7 has two cameras, but the less said about both the better.

Photos captured with the rear camera are lacking in detail, suffer from excess image noise and reproduce poor colours. The front camera is almost unusable for still images, though it does a reasonable job with low quality video.

Battery life on the HP Slate 7 is decent but not outstanding. We found it lasted around seven hours on average. Annoyingly, the Slate 7 takes over three hours to fully charge.

The HP Slate 7 is available now through retailers Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and Radio Rentals in Australia. The 8GB model retails for $199, but there's also a 32GB model for $249.

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