HP’s original effort at making an Android tablet didn’t go particularly well. The HP Slate 7 was bashed for its lackluster performance despite having a tempting price. But HP is committed to breaking the Android tablet market, and they’re sending the HP Slatebook x2 out to battle with other high-end Android tablets.
The Slate 7 was not an ugly tablet, it was just a very a boring-looking tablet. HP added a bit of spice to the design by coating the back in a fancy color, but that didn’t hide the rest of the tablet’s bland design. The HP Slatebook x2 looks different compared to the Slate 7, in fact it looks a bit like HP’s Envy line of notebook PCs. Whether that’s a good thing is up for debate. Unlike the Envy though, the Slatebook is using a plastic construction, which doesn’t really speak well for its $480 price tag. And it looks just like an ordinary tablet with a keyboard bolted on the bottom. HP say that the keyboard is almost the size of a full-size keyboard (at 91%), so the typing experience with HP Slatebook x2 should be good.
The Slate 7 was bashed for using decades-old internal hardware in a time when cheap tablets like the Nexus 7 were offering quad-core processors. And it looks like HP have learnt their lesson because the Slatebook x2 will be featuring the new Tegra 4 chip. The Tegra 4 is a quad-core powerhouse that isn’t even available on high-end smartphones yet. The version in the Slatebook x2 will be clocked at a healthy 1.6GHz, so performance should be up there with the best. The Tegra 4 chip will be helped by 2 gigabytes of RAM, so HP Slatebook x2 users shouldn’t have any problems multitasking either.
The Slatebook x2 will have 2 batteries – one in the tablet and the other in the keyboard dock. HP say that the tablet alone can run 10 hours on a single charge while the keyboard dock will provide an additional 8 hours of run time. These are impressive figures and definitely make the Slatebook x2 a very productive tablet.
HP will ship the Slatebook x2 with Android 4.2. That’s a bit old now, and we hope HP will update the new tablet to 4.3 soon. There are no novelty features announced as of yet, although the tablet will come with Kingsoft Office on-board, so you can start editing and reading Office documents right away.
The Slatebook x2 will have an HD front-facing camera and a 2 mega-pixel camera on the back – very underwhelming shooters for a $480 tablet.
The HP Slatebook x2 looks to be a decent-enough effort at an Android tablet-cum-keyboard. But that’s exactly what it is – decent-enough. Like the Slate 7, this isn’t breaking barriers in terms of anything – price, performance, build quality, software features and so on. All of that could be forgiven if HP Slatebook x2 was cheap, but it isn’t. At nearly $480, it’s at the very high-end of Android tablets. And in that range you can buy ASUS’s excellent Transformer series. Still, we’ll reserve final judgement until we get our hands on the HP Slatebook x2 device and put it through its paces.