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HP Slate 7 Review: Is it a good buy or a goodbye?

One of the latest additions in the Android tablet scene is the HP Slate 7. (Read our unboxing and initial benchmarks in this post.)

How does it stack up with other seven-inch tablets? Are the humble price, the HP brand, and the Beats Audio speakers enough to lure you into buying one? Read on to find out!

HP Slate7

Form Factor
Does the Slate 7 elicit a love-at-first-sight thing from tech enthusiasts? Or is it more of an acquired taste? Honestly, when you compare it with other tablets in the market right now, the Slate 7 does not make a great first impression.

HP Slate7

First off, the tablet weighs 372  grams. It’s quite heavy for a seven-inch tablet. You will feel its weight even more as you use it for longer periods of time.

With that said, however, its thickness and in steel frame make the Slate 7 look solid and sturdy. I feel like it’s going to survive a number of drop tests.  In the sturdiness department, it looks like it’s a keeper.

HP Slate7

Screen
The Slate 7 has a 600 x 1024 resolution, which translates to around 170 ppi pixel density. Not very impressive, right? No amount of brightness setting can cover this fact.

However, when  simply browsing content in social media sites and other websites, it’s easy to forgive the bland resolution.

Now, one thing that is noticeable about the glass display is its highly reflective nature.  When watching videos that have nighttime or dark scenes, I can see my reflection as I watch the video. Although this is pretty common experience on tablets and smartphones, the Slate 7 seems to have a shinier and smoother glass than usual. That’s why reflection is more noticeable.

Speakers and Sound
The HP Slate 7 is equipped with a dual Beats Audio speaker and 3.55 mm jack. The speaker physically looks great and strategically located at the base of the tablet. At least, when used in portrait mode. When using it in landscape mode (like when you’re playing a game), my right palm covers one of the speakers—muffling the sound a little bit.

With the Beats brand, I expected it to have an impressive sound. The sound quality is quite good actually (at least better than most tablets within its price range), but the overall sound output is not very loud. In order to immerse yourself when watching a movie, it’s best to wear headphones. If you don’t want to wear headphones while watching, you need to make sure that you’re in a closed, quiet room.

Along with the dual stereo speakers, HP also included a specific settings tab for Beats Audio. Messing it with the settings slightly alters the sound experience, but it’s not remarkable.

Screenshot_2013-08-23-08-39-26

Camera
The HP Slate 7 has a 3 MP rear camera and a VGA front facing camera. It snaps photos very quickly!

HP Slate7

It’s worth noting that it lacks an autofocus feature, so it’s best to rely on other devices if you want to take good photos. Most people don’t really use their tablets as cameras anyway.

But if you want to know how the photos turned out, here’s a quick look:

photo of dog using hp slate 7 rear camera
This photo was taken using the rear camera indoors. Since there is no autofocus, you can see the messy background in all its glory.
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This photo was also taken using the rear camera but under poor lighting condition. It’s hard to take a photo when there’s no bright light because the screen doesn’t register the subject very well. It’s like taking a photo in the dark!

 

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The photos look better when taken outside under natural light.

Interface and Performance
 HP Slate 7 comes with a stock Android JellyBean 4.1. The word “stock” usually makes an Android gadget seem like “blah”. But HP made the right call with this one because “stock” means a good thing. Without the unnecessary bells and whistles, the user interface is pretty fast and highly responsive. Switching from one app to another seems smooth and seamless.

Sometimes though, when watching high-resolution movies or viewing photos in gallery, it can be a bit sluggish.

During our Unboxing and First Impression post, the Slate 7 scored 11511 using the Antutu Benchmark. Of course, with what it’s packing under the hood this score is justifiable.

Slate7_Antutu

 All in all, it performs well–with very subtle and unobtrusive slow downs.

Battery Life
With its thick shell, I expected it to pack more battery power. But the battery drains very quickly when left in sleep mode while the wifi connection is on.

However, battery life can be managed by being keen with the brightness and other power saving precautions. With this setting and turning the wifi off when I’m the one on “sleep mode”, the battery can last for  a little over 12 hours.

What’s hot:

  • Decent budget tablet
  • Neat and simple design
  • Feels solid and sturdy
  • Beats Audio

What’s not:

  • Feels heavy when used for long periods of time
  • Low resolution

The Verdict:
If your eyes have been spoiled with Retina and Super AMOLED displays, this tablet isn’t going to cut it.

But all in all, HP Slate 7 is a good buy when looking for a budget tablet associated with reputable brands like HP and Beats. And once you’ve grown accustomed to its weight, you might find it quite difficult to say goodbye. 🙂

It’s  a decent seven-inch tablet that allows you to mainly consume content online like watching YouTube videos, reading your favorite websites, lingering on social media sites, and even playing casual games. You’re not going to drool over its specs and features, as it is a basic Android tablet, but it gets the job done.

It’s retailed at P7,990 and is available in black/silver and red.

HP Slate 7 Summary Specs:

  •  7 inches, 372 grams, 10.7 mm
  • Android OS, v4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • 8 GB Internal Memory, Supports up to 32 GB micro SD
  • 1 GB RAM
  •  Capacitive Touchscreen
  • 600 x 1024 pixels
  • Beats Audio stereo speakers
  • Dual-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9
  • 3 MP Rear Camera, VGA front camera

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