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HP webOS 3.0 Review

Posted: , by John V.

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HP webOS 3.0 Review
Introduction:

As it stands right now, there are 5 major players in the tablet platform space with each one vying to get its piece of the pie – and as we all know, webOS is the latest member to the join the crew in this increasingly competitive market. We’ve already gone through the webOS 3.0 powered HP TouchPad in detail with our review, but despite its shortcomings, we’re curious to see how webOS 3.0 presents itself as an actual tablet operating system. Although it isn’t necessarily a new platform built from the ground up, it carries along some of the more popular foundational principles of the mobile platform – but more importantly, how does it compare to the crowded competition?
 
Design aesthetics & Functionality:

Some would probably dare to be brash about pointing out webOS 3.0’s deliberate similar appearance to webOS for smartphones, but in all honesty, it’s not the first time we’ve seen it happen since the iPad mimics the iPhone’s look and feel. Granted that some might be disappointed by its unchanged presentation, webOS 3.0 still caters to the tablet medium very well with its careful and simplistic approach. In fact, we like that the status bar is visible at all times to give us quick access to some information and basic functions without the need to run some sort of app. And despite the fact that the sliding launcher bar is now gone, we’re not all too disappointed with the decision because you can always bring it up by pressing the TouchPad’s physical home button, or simply executing a swipe up gesture from the bottom bezel.

Even though webOS was born to be a tablet platform, there’s one thing that’s just an eyesore by looking at its homescreen – and that’s the exorbitant amount of dead space. Of course, the background wallpaper, launcher bar, and Just Type box are all visible, but there’s just an exorbitant amount of unused space there that could’ve been better used. As with most other things, we’re not picky with the app panel mainly because its layout is profoundly evident with other tablet platforms.

Homescreen
The app panel
HP webOS 3.0 Review
HP webOS 3.0 Review

Homescreen

The app panel

  

Undeniably, the interface isn’t opulent with glitzy looking 3D effects, but we continue to be enamored by its tasteful approach with multi-tasking. Whereas other tablet platforms implement a static experience, webOS is known to be more dynamic with its operation thanks to its combination of using gestures and its cards system. Naturally, it boasts far more organization thanks to the aid of its “stacking” feature, but there’s still plenty of interaction when it comes to exiting apps completely – thus making the experience a very engaging one. Additionally, its notifications system continues to be functional and unobtrusive as they all pop up in the status bar.

The cards system
Notifications system
HP webOS 3.0 Review

The cards system

Notifications system

 

Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot in terms of personalization with webOS 3.0 since the only thing we’re presented with is the ability to change the background wallpaper – but then again, it’s no different from the majority of competition. Leaving us with more to desire, Exhibition Mode is indeed an alternative offering even though we have to manually run it, or have the TouchPad charging. Considering that the platform requires some serious horsepower to operate, we’re not all too convinced that the platform is showing off what it’s capable of doing.

Exhibition Mode
Exhibition Mode
Exhibition Mode
Exhibition Mode

Exhibition Mode


Ultimately, that leads us to the undeniable truth that webOS 3.0 is basically marred by some stifling and baffling performance issues that can irritate some people. Actually, its operation is precisely smooth when it works fine, but when it’s not for some odd reason, we experience erratic things like long load times, hang ups, choppiness with navigational operation, and some random crashes that restarts the TouchPad. Needless to say, it’s undoubtedly challenging and doesn’t make webOS 3.0 appear polished. Nevertheless, we’re seriously yearning to see some software updates in the near future to iron out some of the frustrations we have right now.

4 Comments
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posted on 06 Jul 2011, 07:51

1. fsjon (Posts: 119; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)


A word with regards to the auto-correct, I think it is a great implementation with webOS...a little different than the rest of the mobile OSs. It notified the users that WebOS has auto corrected a word for them, and gives the users to change it back to what they originally typed. I see this to be quite handy especially if you are typing in names or weird slang that corrected to a traditional word. Personally, I do not see this as a bug, but an extended function of auto correct.

posted on 06 Jul 2011, 12:40

2. snowgator (Posts: 3159; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Now, for a sports analogy:

It is said you can tell how good a Quarterback in the NFL will be by how much he improves from his first year starting to his second. There is so much to learn at that position, both book knowledge and game day experience, that he will either show great improvement after having a full season under his belt, or will be buried by the demands.

I am very interested to see how the Touchpad responds after it's first season is in the books. If this is the player to actually look good setting next to the iPad, then we will know as they roll out more tablets that are improved after gameday experience and stat sheets are learned from. Or, they will be benchwarmers and out of the league in three years. That would be devastating to WeBOS and HP.

posted on 06 Jul 2011, 16:27

3. m.d.92 (Posts: 2; Member since: 11 Mar 2011)


I've gotten the chance to play around with the TouchPad for the last couple of days now. While it's great to see webOS being utilized on a larger screen, I can't help but feel that webOS 3.0 itself is still very beta-ish. In addition to the problems mentioned in the above review, you'll notice other - although not as critical - glitches and issues when going through various apps, settings, etc. Some of button layouts in the user Preferences, for example, aren't as uniform in appearance as some of the other option settings on the device. And again, while these kinds of problems are very minor, they seem like a bit of a throwback when compared to something like iOS.

I think it's just sad that HP, having made release dates for its devices so ambiguous and having had so much time to tweak webOS, delivered such a mediocre user experience. With the possibility of HP allowing other companies to use webOS, I'm hopeful that players like HTC could integrate 3.0 with its Sense interface.

posted on 07 Jul 2011, 08:26

4. Azure Viper (unregistered)


There IS a way to select multiple emails. Just click the folder icon on the bottom of the middle pane. Review should be amended.

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