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HP TouchPad Review

HP TouchPad

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Far away from being perceived as underpowered, the HP TouchPad is packing its own brand of heat under the hood with its dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 processor.  Obviously, one would imagine something like that exhibiting some delectable responsive tendencies with various functions, but rather, its performance is strained due to some general evidence of lag, slowdown, and delays throughout the platform. Although it doesn’t happen all the time, it’s enough to sometimes hinder the experience – also, it doesn’t offer the same fluidity seen with the HP Veer 4G’s operation, for example. Lastly, some apps for some odd reason take an extraordinary amount of time to fully load. Who knows what it is, but the TouchPad’s unpredictable performance is a challenge on its own and makes you wonder if things were rushed to meet a deadline.

As much as it’s touted as being the very first webOS 3.0 powered tablet, some might not be all too impressed with the platform experience, while on the other hand, others might adore its fundamental approach. In its defense, it takes the foundational elements of webOS, like its awesome implementation of multi-tasking and notifications, and manages to present them in a manner that’s ideal for a tablet. However, it’s still lacking in the personalization department since the only thing we can modify is the background wallpaper – and of course, you’ll need to run dedicated apps to receive useful information; like the weather. Despite its unchanged stance with personalization, the experience doesn’t deviate dramatically from what we’ve been seeing with webOS all this time, which has always been pretty decent.

So what’s new with webOS 3.0? For starters, the status bar sits at the very top edge of the interface and presents you with some of the most common pieces of information – like the time, battery level, and connectivity status. Furthermore, you can press on the time to bring down a menu that provides additional settings for its display brightness, connectivity, and the ability to lock the orientation. At the same time, you’ll see notifications for things like emails, social networking messages, and more pop up on the right side of the status bar. Finally, the left side of it offers options that are specific to the opened application. Without a doubt, it’s nice having access to the status bar at all time – thus, giving you commanding control at all times.

The HP TouchPad is the first webOS 3.0 powered tablet - HP TouchPad Review
The HP TouchPad is the first webOS 3.0 powered tablet - HP TouchPad Review
The HP TouchPad is the first webOS 3.0 powered tablet - HP TouchPad Review
The HP TouchPad is the first webOS 3.0 powered tablet - HP TouchPad Review

Previously known as universal search, the TouchPad’s “Just Type” feature on the homescreen works exactly what it sounds like – start typing and it’ll aggregate relevant content. Showing its closeness with Synergy, as it provides suggestions based on your input, we’re presented with options like searching content via Google Search, Wikipedia, Twitter, Bing Maps, and the HP App Catalog. Even though it’s a nice gesture, this feature isn’t entirely new seeing that some form of it is implemented on other platforms.

The “Just Type” feature - HP TouchPad Review
The “Just Type” feature - HP TouchPad Review

There’s no kidding that webOS in general is one of the better platforms for multi-tasking and notifications, but the HP TouchPad’s transition to the tablet space is indeed fitting. Naturally, apps are opened up in cards that can be fully displayed by simply executing a swipe up movement from the bottom of the display – or pressing on the physical home button. Of course, we find the “stacks” feature useful since it organizes cards on top of one another.

Apps are opened up in cards - HP TouchPad Review

Again, the launcher is positioned in the bottom area of the interface and holds up to 5 defined apps that you can quickly launch – with an additional icon that’s used to gain access to its apps menu. Unfortunately, HP decided to rid the sliding launcher bar that’s accessed on webOS smartphones by slowly swiping up from the bottom portion of the display at any time. Once you get into the apps menu though, icons are laid out in the typical grid-like fashion – while being organized into four categories. Thankfully, you can rearrange them to your liking by simply long pressing on one to activate the process.

The apps menu - HP TouchPad Review
The apps menu - HP TouchPad Review
The apps menu - HP TouchPad Review
The apps menu - HP TouchPad Review

So what can we learn from the webOS 3.0 experience on the HP TouchPad? Well, it looks like webOS was born to be a tablet OS from the start. However, the TouchPad’s unpredictable performance hinders the experience at times, but we’re sorely waiting for some software updates to hopefully iron out some of its kinks.

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PhoneArena rating:
7Good
Display9.7 inches, 1024 x 768 pixels (132 ppi)
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S3, Dual-core, 1200 MHz, Scorpion processor
Size9.45 x 7.45 x 0.54 inches
(240 x 189 x 14 mm)
26.10 oz  (740 g)

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