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HP TouchPad Review

HP TouchPad

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Camera:

Yes, there is ONE camera on board with the HP TouchPad, but it’s only used for Skype video chats – and that’s all! Unfortunately, there is no app that allows you to capture photos or videos with its 1.3-megapixel sensor. Testing it out, the quality of Skype video chat over Wi-Fi is satisfactory to the imagination due to not too pixelized images and audio that is is mostly in sync.


Multimedia:

Utilizing an all too conventional looking music player, which is obviously more than functional in playing some tunes, there are no flashy looking effects in use whatsoever. Rather, it follows the theme of using a two-panel layout that actually incorporates the player’s controls into the bottom area of the interface. Moreover, there is an icon located in the lower right corner that modifies the layout so that we can browse through content by simply swiping linearly through the giant sized album covers on-screen.

The music player of HP TouchPad is more than functional - HP TouchPad Review
The music player of HP TouchPad is more than functional - HP TouchPad Review
The music player of HP TouchPad is more than functional - HP TouchPad Review

Moving over to another app, we can gain access to the mini player by tapping the icon in the notifications area. Interestingly enough, the mini player isn’t be available if you happen to have a simple PIN password enabled with the TouchPad – though, it does come up in the lock screen if you don’t have one. With its two speakers, it pumps out some neutral tones that do not sound strained or irritating to the ear – even at the loudest volume. Additionally, the TouchPad features Beats Audio support that allows you to “listen to music the way the artist intended” by plugging your headphones into its 3.5mm headset jack.

Considering that it’s packing one powerful processor on paper, it’s rather strange to find the TouchPad having difficulty in playing our test high-definition 1080p video. Using the same movie trailer encoded in MPEG-4 and H.264 1920 x 1080 resolution, there are prevalent instances of delay with its playback. On top of that, the audio isn’t in-sync to the playing video as well – though, it manages to play 720p videos perfectly fine. Anyway, the resolution of the screen won't allow you to enjoy full HD 1080p video anyway, and the experience with 720p is still satisfactory with its sharp details, deep color tones, and smooth playback.

Multimedia content can all be accessed by running the Photos & Videos app, which of course incorporates that usual looking two-panel layout – with the library in the left and content in the right. Strange to say, we experience again some erratic kinetic scrolling when browsing through content, and at times can be totally unresponsive. Regretfully though, webOS 3.0 still only allows you to share photos via emails only and doesn’t offer any kind of editing options.

The Photos & Videos app incorporates that usual looking two-panel layout - HP TouchPad Review
The Photos & Videos app incorporates that usual looking two-panel layout - HP TouchPad Review
The Photos & Videos app incorporates that usual looking two-panel layout - HP TouchPad Review
The Photos & Videos app incorporates that usual looking two-panel layout - HP TouchPad Review

Available in both 16GB and 32GB capacities, it should be more than enough for anyone out there – especially when there is no way of shooting photos and videos. Using the included microUSB cable and connecting it to a computer, it’s read as a removable drive and allows for easy transferring of files.


Software:

When it comes to downloading apps, we’re impressed by plentiful third party apps available in the HP App Catalog. Surprising to say the least, it actually boasts a heck of a lot more apps (both free and paid) than what we saw with Honeycomb’s launch with the Motorola XOOM. In actuality, they’re not simply gimmicky apps to be there for the platform at launch, but rather, there are quite a few that are well thought-out and completely imaginative.

HP App Catalog - HP TouchPad Review
HP App Catalog - HP TouchPad Review
HP App Catalog - HP TouchPad Review

We are a bit surprised with the lack of a dedicated YouTube client on the TouchPad. Oh well, we guess if we can just use the main YouTube site then the absence of a dedicated client is not such a big deal.

Rather than finding Google Maps, which is something that’s used by webOS smartphones all around, we’re instead given the Bing Maps experience. Although it’s not quite as in-depth in its offerings compared to the Google Maps experience with Honeycomb, it still offers the basic set of functionality – like getting directions (driving, transit, & walking), satellite view, bird’s eye view, and displaying traffic. Naturally, it works, but doesn’t match the offerings available with the competition.

Bing Maps offers the basic set of functionality - HP TouchPad Review
Bing Maps offers the basic set of functionality - HP TouchPad Review
Bing Maps offers the basic set of functionality - HP TouchPad Review
Bing Maps offers the basic set of functionality - HP TouchPad Review

For those social networking buffs, the HP TouchPad is preloaded with an official Facebook app that’s refreshing because it’s one of the few official ones found in the tablet space. Taking the cake amongst the crop since it employs all the best aspects of checking out Facebook on a tablet, it’s able to give us a tasteful experience with its rich set of features.

The HP TouchPad is preloaded with an official Facebook app - HP TouchPad Review
The HP TouchPad is preloaded with an official Facebook app - HP TouchPad Review
The HP TouchPad is preloaded with an official Facebook app - HP TouchPad Review

Furthermore, there are a host of other apps that we find especially gratifying in the App Catalog since they’re carefully developed to provide a sensual experience on the TouchPad. In fact, we downloaded apps like WeatherBug, USA TODAY, Comics HD, and Spaz HD that are firmly optimized for the TouchPad. Still, you can actually download and run all the usual webOS apps for smartphones in the App Catalog. However, they’re not up-scaled to fill the entire display, but rather, an emulator that mimics a smartphone is presented to us – with the gesture area in tow

WeatherBug - There are a host of apps in the App Catalog that are carefully developedto provide a sensual experience on the HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review
USA TODAY - There are a host of apps in the App Catalog that are carefully developedto provide a sensual experience on the HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review
There are a host of apps in the App Catalog that are carefully developedto provide a sensual experience on the HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review

WeatherBug

USA TODAY

 
Comics HD - There are a host of apps in the App Catalog that are carefully developedto provide a sensual experience on the HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review
There are a host of apps in the App Catalog that are carefully developedto provide a sensual experience on the HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review
Spaz HD - There are a host of apps in the App Catalog that are carefully developedto provide a sensual experience on the HP TouchPad - HP TouchPad Review

Comics HD

 

Spaz HD



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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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