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HP TouchPad Review

HP TouchPad

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Contacts:

Utilizing that familiar two-panel layout that’s commonly used with most tablets, the Contacts app functions as it should – and rightfully so! On the left side, we’re given access to our scrollable address book, while detailed information regarding the selected contact is displayed on the right. It’s all straightforward and all with its presentation, but we’re once again presented with Synergy’s presence seeing that it incorporates profiles like Google, Facebook, and others into the mix. Overall, the only thing we find new over the smartphone mobile OS is its fitting layout.

The Contacts app - HP TouchPad Review
The Contacts app - HP TouchPad Review
The Contacts app - HP TouchPad Review
The Contacts app - HP TouchPad Review


Organizer:

Not exactly separating itself from the pack with its Calendar app, it’s essentially the same experience that’s found on other webOS smartphones. Naturally, you’ll be able to sync with calendars from Google, Yahoo, HP webOS, and Yahoo to name a few. In addition, we find the same color coding system to our calendars to make it easier for us to differentiate our appointments, but as a whole, they could’ve better organized the extra white space. So whether you view it in a monthly, weekly, or daily view, it’s simply stretched out to fill up the entire space of the display – hence the extra, yet valuable dead space.

The Calendar app of HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review
The Calendar app of HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review
The Calendar app of HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review
The Calendar app of HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review

Scratching our head initially, we’re baffled as to where HP placed the clock and alarm functions of webOS 3.0. Nope, there isn’t a recognizable icon or something else, but instead, there are no actual alarm functions! In fact, the only thing remotely close to it is the three giant sized clocks available when the TouchPad is placed into Exhibition Mode. For those not familiar with this function, Exhibition Mode is best described as a screen saver  that displays things like the time, photos, Facebook statuses, and calendar appointments as the tablet is charging.

Exhibition Mode - HP TouchPad Review
Exhibition Mode - HP TouchPad Review
Exhibition Mode - HP TouchPad Review
Exhibition Mode - HP TouchPad Review

Unfortunately, webOS 3.0 doesn’t offer any native world clock or calculator app, but of course there are plenty of solutions available for download in the HP App Catalog. But seriously though, they are some common items that consumers expect to find from the onset.


Messaging:

Launching the Messaging app, it’s actually the instant messaging and Skype client for webOS 3.0, which supports AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and Google Talk. Naturally, the two-panel layout is in use once again as the majority of the display is reserved for your conversations. From the looks of it, this will also be the hub for SMS messaging down the road for future versions of the TouchPad sporting cellular data connectivity.

Greeted with the webOS 3.0 keyboard, its layout is quite customary to tell you the truth as it emulates the look of any physical keyboard – with even a dedicated row for numbers! Without a doubt, buttons in landscape are indeed large in size to comfortably type casually, but there’s a lot of travel needed by our thumbs to type with its portrait option. Even though there are secondary characters incorporated with the numbers row, performing a long press doesn’t input the warranted character right away, but instead, it provides us some options of what to choose. Actually, it does limit our typing speed a little bit, but additional special characters/punctuations and emoticons are available by clicking the symbols button on the keyboard.

The Messaging app - HP TouchPad Review
The webOS 3.0 keyboard - HP TouchPad Review

The Messaging app

The webOS 3.0 keyboard


At times though, its responsiveness stutters and locks up – with typed text coming up after a short delay. Even worse, it strangely provides us incorrect suggestions with words that are spelled correctly. All in all, the experience is more than decent when it works, but when it doesn’t, it can undoubtedly be a nightmare.

One of the biggest frustrations we have when typing is the process of making selections and properly placing the cursor – with the latter, it’s just a matter of pressing on the display until we find the correct position. In terms of making a selection or highlighting passages of text, you essentially long press a word, and from there, we find tiny sized cursor placements for us to position. With its sometimes inaccurate recognition, we’re easily frustrated at times with the experience.

Carrying over the general look of the Email app featured on webOS smartphones, we’re glad to see HP tuning its layout to offer a cohesive experience that allows us to modify its paneled view. Specifically, there are three panels in plain view initially that displays our accounts on the left, emails within the selected account in the middle, and the actual details of the selected email in the right most one. Not something that we have seen before, we can resize it to either a two or one panel view by pressing and then moving the three bar icons in the bottom edge of the interface.

The Email app - HP TouchPad Review
The Email app - HP TouchPad Review
The Email app - HP TouchPad Review

Although it we find a universal inbox, it’s still missing features like threaded conversations to make it more organized. At its core, we find it more than useful in sending and receiving emails, but doesn’t have the concrete and in-depth functionality evident with Android’s Gmail experience. Lastly, setup is pretty simple like most other things by providing an email address and password for automatic setup.


Connectivity & Data:

Currently, the HP TouchPad is available in only Wi-Fi form, but we expect to see a variety of cellular connected variants in the future. In the meantime though, we’re left to using its 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi to get a data connection with the tablet. And in our testing, it’s able to retain a solid connection even at approximately 30 feet away from a router. Moreover, its Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR enables us to connect things like a wireless Bluetooth keyboard to it with no problems. Finally, the HP TouchPad has some difficulty trying to get a fix on our location indoors with its GPS. However, when we’re outside, it generally takes less than 10 seconds to hone into our general vicinity – but manages to get our exact location within 20 seconds.

Right from the start, the one thing we notice with the TouchPad’s web browsing performance is that it takes some time loading up complex web pages – albeit, it can be related to some background processes related to Flash. Once it’s fully loaded though, it provides us that desktop-like experience thanks to its support for Flash. However, there are some hiccups with its operation every now and then that cause some jerkiness with its navigational movement – though, it’s not all too worrisome. For general purposes, the WebKit based browser is equipped enough in handling even the most demanding users out there.

Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review
Web browsing with the HP Touchpad - HP TouchPad Review


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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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