HP TouchPad reviews

  • Posted: 29 June 2011 09:08 PM

    HP TouchPad review

    Posted by: Joshua Topolsky

    Okay, I won?t beat around the bush. The TouchPad looks a lot like the original iPad.

    Honestly, I have no problem with that. There’s only so many ways to make a tablet.

    Of course, the TouchPad is rather thick ? as thick as the original iPad and way thicker than the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 10.1. Comparatively, the TouchPad clocks in at 0.54 inches, while the iPad 2 and Tab both hit 0.34 inches. That may not sound like much on paper, but it?s a pretty hefty difference that you definitely notice when you have the device in hand.

    I think thinness is overrated. The size shouldn’t sink the product.

    In all, the feel of the device is a touch on the cheaper side of things; I certainly wouldn?t describe it as ?premium.?

    Meh.

    So far in my testing, battery life seems outstanding on the TouchPad. While I haven?t yet had a chance to run our full suite of battery tests on the tablet, I can tell you that in day-to-day, very heavy use, it performed excellently. On a typical day of rigorous testing (app downloads, 3D gaming, Skype calls, lots of web browsing, constant email work, Twitter, messaging, and more), the TouchPad went from 9AM in the morning to 12AM that night and still had 20 percent of its battery life. In lighter use, I left the device off the charger for 3 days straight and still had plenty of juice. HP says that the tablet is capable of 8 hours of web browsing, 9 hours of video playback, and 3.4 days of audio playback, and those estimations seem right on to me.

    Battery life was crucial. It looks like the TouchPad has cleared this hurdle with room to spare.

    The same basic building blocks which made webOS so attractive a few years ago are almost completely intact in the new version.

    From the start of using this tablet, it was clear to me that HP had some work left to do on tuning and tightening the OS, and that lack of polish created frustrating and disappointing moments while using the TouchPad. In particular, I found touch sensitivity and general fluidity of the user interface to be wanting badly at times.

    The other issue HP has right now is the lack of developer support. Although the company says 300 tablet apps will be available at launch (more than Honeycomb could boast), the level of really high quality applications is still few and far between.

    webOS sound lie a very worthy operating system.

    There have been some big changes to the browser for webOS 3.0, and while you won?t necessarily find anything heart-stopping, there are a couple of nice points worth noting. First off, Flash is on board and mostly functional on the TouchPad, and I was able to play back Hulu clips and shows with little trouble. Sometimes video would stutter or freeze at the beginning of play, but that usually cleared up quickly and made for fairly decent viewing.

    Again, the TouchPad passes the test. Although I have to add in passing, that putting Flash on a tablet is like a bather wearing dark socks and dress shoes. It’s pointless, it’s useless, and it makes you look stupid.

    The TouchPad is far from perfect ? really, not even close right now. Still, there is DNA here that is amazing, and deserves to be given a second look. What HP has done in just a year with webOS is commendable, and if the fixes for some of these big, ugly bugs come as fast as the company is promising, the TouchPad could be the contender everyone over there thinks it is.

    Still, the bottom line here is that the stability and smoothness of the user experience is not up to par with the iPad or something like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, even if many of the underlying ideas are actually a lot better and more intuitive than what the competition offers. That, coupled with the minuscule number of quality apps available at launch make this a bit of a hard sell right now.

    I was going to say that HP cleared the first hurdle - right up until I read the above two paragraphs. HP waited a long time to put this device on the market and they did so, presumably, because they wanted to get it right. There were some other glitches mentioned in Topolsky’s review, but I passed over them. Many of these minor issues will be corrected within days. But if, as Topolsky says, “the stability and smoothness of the user experience is not up to par with the iPad or something like the Galaxy Tab”, well, that’s bad, bad news for HP. The TouchPad is the new kid in the race and its starting from WAY behind. It can’t afford to stumble - even a little - coming out of the gate.

    Finally, as I said earlier, this is only the first hurdle that HP must overcome. Next comes marketing, ecosystem development and public acceptance. I call them hurdles but in reality they are each, in their own right, mountains. The TouchPad looks like a fine device - but it’s got a very, very long way to go before it can even be considered a contender to the iPad.

    [ Edited: 30 June 2011 02:13 AM by FalKirk ]      
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    Posted: 29 June 2011 09:29 PM #1

    I wouldn’t put it quite that way.  I’d be a little more objective, and say that buggy potentialware can never hope to compete with iPad.

    Let’s hope Topolsky kinda misspoke when he said Rubenstein and Co. are promising an OTA update to fix the myriad of bugs “shortly after the device launches.”  The implications, patterns, etc. speak for themselves.

    And as for the review -

    The UX really sucks sometimes.
    But there’s tons of potential!

    7.5!

    The world we live in.

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  • Posted: 29 June 2011 09:36 PM #2

    Mav - 30 June 2011 12:29 AM

    Let’s hope Topolsky kinda misspoke when he said Rubenstein and Co. are promising an OTA update to fix the myriad of bugs “shortly after the device launches.”

    Promising and delivering are two completely independent things.

    BTW does anyone know if the original Xooms have had their 4G upgrades yet? It’s got to have been more than 90 days by now.

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  • Posted: 29 June 2011 09:49 PM #3

    adamthompson3232 - 30 June 2011 12:17 AM

    None of this matters. It isn’t iPad.

    You’re right, Adam. The only question that matters is:” Is there any reason to buy the TouchPad instead of an iPad?” And the only rational answer remains: “No.”

         
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    Posted: 29 June 2011 09:57 PM #4

    Shhh!  Moto’s hoping no one noticed.

    HP/Palm’s sheer arrogance in fixing bugs post-release, if that’s how it’s really gonna be, is astounding.  That along with the webOS licensing talk.  The Palm team hasn’t learned anything, they just have a lot more money now.

    Curious to see what Clayton Morris - who as of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 reviewed it like, well, reviewers are supposed to do - has to say about the TouchPad.  Not that I don’t already have a good idea, assuming he’s consistent.

    [ Edited: 29 June 2011 10:01 PM by Mav ]

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    Posted: 29 June 2011 10:19 PM #5

    rattyuk - 30 June 2011 12:36 AM

    BTW does anyone know if the original Xooms have had their 4G upgrades yet? It’s got to have been more than 90 days by now.

    Not yet. “soon”

         
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    Posted: 29 June 2011 10:29 PM #6

    FalKirk - 30 June 2011 12:49 AM
    adamthompson3232 - 30 June 2011 12:17 AM

    None of this matters. It isn’t iPad.

    You’re right, Adam. The only question that matters is:” Is there any reason to buy the TouchPad instead of an iPad?” And the only rational answer remains: “No.”

    Rational matters not. There’s at least a few million Apple-haters out there.

    Score at year’s end: iPad 40 million vs All Others 4 million

         
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    Posted: 29 June 2011 10:38 PM #7

    I expect the market share split to be along those lines.  iPad 2’s success amidst the sea of competitors will leave even the most jaded pundits stunned by year-end…even if they won’t admit it publicly.

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  • Posted: 30 June 2011 12:47 AM #8

    Tablet deathmatch: HP TouchPad vs. Apple iPad 2

    By Galen Gruman | InfoWorld

    Plainly put, the TouchPad is a mediocre tablet that poses no threat to the iPad or to Android tablets such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Xoom. Even though the iPad 2’s high bar is no secret, it once again appears that corner-cutting or rush to market has been allowed to tie a potentially strong tablet’s arm behind its back.

         
  • Posted: 30 June 2011 12:49 AM #9

    adamthompson3232 - 30 June 2011 12:17 AM

    None of this matters. It isn’t iPad.

    ^ And reviewers no less august than the WSJ and NYT would agree with you.  To wit:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/06/29/review_roundup_hp_touchpad_billed_as_mediocre_tablet.html

    Abridged version:  The HP TouchPad got hammered.

         
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    Posted: 30 June 2011 02:22 AM #10

    Note how a number of reviewers gave HP an “A” for effort. It’s like they’re saying Apple better watch out for TouchPad 2. Fools. Apple is already working on iPad 3 and 4.

    Ars: The HP TouchPad, if it were less expensive, could be an extremely strong, if slightly less polished, alternative to the iPad…But the competition does creep ever closer, and the TouchPad stands as a solid iPad competitor for those who, err, “think different.”

    PreCentral: ...if you?re looking for a multi-tasking monster with fantastic web browsing, email, a growing app store, and oodles of potential, then you might want to consider the TouchPad…With a software update or two, the first of which HP has told us is in progress, and a filling out of the App Catalog, the TouchPad could be a legitimate contender in the tablet space.

         
  • Posted: 30 June 2011 02:23 AM #11

    Review roundup: HP TouchPad billed as ‘mediocre tablet’

    By Josh Ong

    The Wall Street Journal

    After testing the device for about a week, Walt Mossberg described the TouchPad as “simply no match for the iPad.” He praised the tablet’s user interface as “attractive and different,” but noted that the UI didn’t make up for “poor battery life, a paucity of apps and other deficits.”

    The New York Times

    “In this 1.0 incarnation, the TouchPad doesn?t come close to being as complete or mature as the iPad or the best Android tablets; you?d be shortchanging yourself by buying one right now, unless you?re some kind of rabid A.B.A. nut (Anything but Apple),” Pogue concluded, adding that HP has shown “signs of greatness,” but is “tilting at windmills.”

    The Associated Press

    Rachel Metz found the TouchPad to be just a “mediocre tablet,” and not the triumph for HP that it should have been. “Yet while the TouchPad’s software is beautiful and intuitive, overall the tablet is more of a “meh-sterpiece” than a masterpiece,” she wrote.

    Bloomberg

    But, the tablet “sometimes struggles with the basics,” often feeling “sluggish and underpowered,” according to Jaroslovsky. He was also disappointed by battery life, getting only 4 1/2 hours during stress testing.

         
  • Posted: 30 June 2011 02:33 AM #12

    OK. Topolsky’s review was much, much more favorable than the others. Having now read the several reviews cited in this thread, I’m ready to say that webOS is a failure, at least in this incarnation. I felt that HP needed to hit a home run with the hardware because they still had to prove that they could create an extensive ecosystem and sell the damn thing. But rather than hit a home run, they stumbled on their way to first base. Getting the hardware right was fundamental and they couldn’t even do that.

    The only thing that could save webOS is the competition. Or rather, the lack of competition. SOMEBODY haas to emerge from this mess and become the number two tablet maker. Android doesn’t seem up to the task. WebOS is weak. The RIM PlayBook is dead, dead, dead. And Microsoft thinks that we want a desktop on a tablet. And we want it in 2012.

    Let’s just say that for the rest of 2011, there is no tablet market. There is only the iPad. We’ll revisit the question in 2012.

    [ Edited: 30 June 2011 02:55 AM by FalKirk ]      
  • Posted: 30 June 2011 02:39 AM #13

    Giz is piling on…courtesy of Matt Buchanan

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    There’s no nice way to say this: Shit just plain doesn’t work, far more often than it should. And there’s no more guaranteed way to make something feel like a train wreck in slow motion than to make it run like it’s a train wreck in slow motion. Apps can take foreeeeever to launch, even with just one or two cards open. (I once waited 20 seconds for screen settings to launch.) The gap between your touch and the TouchPad’s response is occasionally so wide you could fit all of Transformers 3 in between it. (God help you if you try to tap multiple things while the TouchPad’s deliberating its responses.) The Messages app was a consistent bag of hurt, refusing to deliver AIM messages, even as I kept receiving them. Email contents wouldn’t show up, often up to 10 seconds after I opened a message. The HP app to get music onto your TouchPad is loathesome?pure HP, and sweet Christ I hope it’s not a sign of things to come for Palm. (Speaking of: Where’s the cloud music?) The fact that so much of the TouchPad is so good conceptually makes all of that far more painful.

    Ouch


    Here’s the link for all you Gizmodo fanbois

         
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    Posted: 30 June 2011 02:52 AM #14

    I must say, I am surprised by the Touchpad looming debacle.

    HP knows hardware. Palm knew software. They seemed to be taking their time in getting this product out the door, presumably learning from the weaknesses of the Samsung, RIMM and Acer product forms. Also learning about what aspects of the iPad were most critical to success.

    They had the potential distribution channels, the pricing power, the advertising muscle, the name (HP) that stands for something in the enterprise world.

    I thought they would be the most fearsome competitor for the iPad.

    It seems not.

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  • Posted: 30 June 2011 09:51 AM #15

    Interesting that this morning HP are talking about being open to license the OS…

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