Customer Review

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Value at the Fire Sale Price, September 1, 2011
This review is from: HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 16 GB 9.7-Inch Tablet Computer (Personal Computers)
I was one of the lucky people who snapped up this tablet when it was dumped by HP. I've been using it mainly as a portable web browser, and it is quite good at that. It's not as smooth or as responsive to gestures as an iPad 2, but it has a superior browsing layout. I'm particularly taken by what a difference it makes that the history/bookmarks pulldown is under my right thumb while holding it with two hands. It is a fine standards compliant browsing machine. The e-mail client is also surprisingly good.

The multitasking and task switching capacity of the OS is another strength. It's quite liberating being able to swipe between running apps and flick clutter off the screen. I hope iOS can someday behave this way.

However, it is painfully obvious that HP was delusional if they truly thought they could sell hundreds of thousands of these at the same price as an iPad 2. The hardware wasn't there, the software wasn't ready and the app catalog is sadly lacking.

The hardware is cheaper than the iPad, cheaper but not junk. Heavy with mediocre battery life. The case is cheap plastic, imprecisely machined with rough cut port holes. The screen is a bit blurry and has back light bleeding even worse than the first run of iPads. The front facing camera is as junky as the camera in an iPad 2 (I really wish my tablets had decent cameras but they don't.) The oblong home button is hard to press and scrapes one's thumbs when pressed. It is really annoying that almost no third party USB chargers--such as car chargers--work with the Touchpad. My house is filled with chargers but only the Touchstone dock and the original HP wall charger work.

[Update: After two months, my Touchpad stopped working and I sent it in for an exchange which took a couple of weeks. The refurbished unit they sold me is fine, and doesn't have the crack near the speaker my original sported. At least, HP is still providing service, including the promised 90 day from purchase WebOS butler service, but I can't help to see the contrast with a hypothetical failure of my iPad while under warranty, the guy at the local Genius bar would have handed me a refurbished unit within minutes of my appointment. As it is, I've had to go through a round of HP first sending me a replacement power supply, before their accepting it will have to be repaired. The tech support call was reasonably satisfactory, with short phone waits and competent English speakers.]

The included software other than the browser and e-mail are substandard; for example it won't play most of my MP4 video files I loaded on it, no errors, just refuses to play them. The photo browser is more than basic and jerky. Everything else seems just not ready.

As for the app catalog, there are a few standouts like Angry Birds Rio which plays as well or better than the iPad version, but is mostly amateurish first passes at real apps. No Netflix or potential for Netflix; which is a big bummer for me, it would be great if I could hand this cheaply bought tablet to my children without worrying about them destroying an expensive piece of hardware. And of course, after such a nice first impression, Angry Birds is crashing after a few rounds. And I'll never be sure if they bother to submit an update. The problem with a platform on life support.

It is a tragedy that HP didn't have the fortitude to follow through on this platform. Anybody using this tablet for 10 minutes could see that this is a diamond in the rough, something with huge potential with better hardware and time to get the software done right could have made it a real competitor; something that you could charge iPad prices for.

But this is what we have, and if you can get it at anything near the clearance sale price, you will get at a minimum a very nice web browser and e-mail machine. Plus you can play some Angry Birds.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 1, 2011 5:06:17 PM PDT
paulvi says:
ask yourself WHY DID I BUY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2011 5:30:40 PM PDT
I bought it because I was interested in checking out the operating system, which I wouldn't have done at the original price.

Posted on Sep 3, 2011 12:29:31 AM PDT
K. Barlow says:
not sure what tablet you are using, I have none of the issues you are having. The oblong min. button scrapes you? What? If you go to precentral and get a couple of the fixes, this tablet easily rivals the iPad. The fit and finish are comparable more to the iPad 1, but imo, this OS is much better. And, btw, itunes wasn't all that in its infancy, either.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2011 4:12:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 3, 2011 4:12:32 AM PDT
The home button is much too narrow to be comfortably pressed with a thumb, which is what one would use when holding it in portrait mode. Maybe I have wide thumbs but I don't think so. All I know is that I notice the home button's size every time I use it. Are you saying that I don't or nobody does?

I had an iPad 1, and that is just ridiculous. iPads have a robot machined anodized aluminum back which is probably created at a tolerance measurable in tens of microns. It has no rough edges, it is hard to scratch, it does not require the added weight of an internal framework, it does not show fingerprints. The Touchpad has (what appears to be) a plastic injection molded enclosure which is fine but not in the same league. Look at the unbeveled port opening for the micro-USB port; Apple would never put something like that on one of their devices. In fact, all the openings should have more rounded bevels. The camera in my Touchpad was installed noticeably out of center of its opening. I'm getting backlight bleed through on 3 edges. It is constructed to a lower standard to an iPad.

The OS has many nice features, mainly the task switching, and lightweight GUI processes, but it also has slow load times, is more memory hungry, and worse power management. I went to the Pandora website and Flash just brought the device to its knees. It has its good points and bad points.

As I said, I have been perfectly happy using it has an Internet appliance.

I have no idea what iTunes has to do with anything here. I'm not a fan of iTunes. Although it would have been nice having iTunes when I was manually putting content on the Touchpad, which is the reason Palm spent all that effort in the day trying to fool iTunes into thinking the Pre was an iPod.

I don't see how you can complain about (and probably mark as unhelpful, which if you did, shame on you) what was in general a positive review of an imperfect but useful device. I think that anybody reading my review would think, "hey, why don't I try out this inexpensive tablet, it sounds useful." And they'd also think, "If I spent a lot more money on an iPad, I'd get value from that too, like more and better apps, better and lighter construction, and a future."

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2011 9:52:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2011 9:54:20 PM PDT
overclock to the native 1.5ghz and disable background logging and add other preware improvements and performance is quite silky smooth.
I havent used the center button more than 5 times in 2 weeks of heavy use.
I love this device.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 3:40:35 PM PDT
What does overclocking do to battery life? One thing I've been unhappy with is the battery life, I have to charge it nearly every day during moderate use.
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