G Styled: HP TouchPad – With Great Hype, Comes Great Fail

HP Touchpad

My heart is heavy this week people. This week I put my hands on the HP TouchPad for the first time and was disappointed. You have to understand something, I’ve been fiending for this device since I first laid eyes on the images of it. When people would ask me if I was excited about the iPad 2, the Blackberry Playbook, the [insert any number of Android Tablets], my answer was: “I’m just waiting for the TouchPad”. I love WebOS, and to get this on a tablet I assumed would be pure joy…

It seems, however, that Palm has brought over that “Great OS, meh hardware” curse right into HP’s doors like a scene from The Grudge. Just like the Palm Pre, WebOS is a bright shining star of an OS. The bad part is the hardware doesn’t match it. Don’t get it me wrong, the HP TouchPad has some nice points — the all black glossy back cover and front bezel are nice (though finger smudges can make it look horrible after extended use), and it has WebOS, which is another point right there. But then it is downhill.

Honestly, it isn’t even HP’s fault. If we rewound time a year, I would be singing the TouchPad style praises. But this is July 2011, and the HP TouchPad is pulling up the rear, trailing the slim and sexy Apple iPad 2, and the even slimmer and sexier Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. When you put the TouchPad up against those two, it appears just a little chubbier. The TouchPad looks like it needs to get itself in the gym if it wants to look hot for the Tablet summer.

They also have an issue with the OS itself. WebOS runs very well on smartphones; I personally use an HP Veer (my play phone), and it’s snappy, smooth, and responsive. On the TouchPad it seems a little sluggish, and being sluggish is never in style. When you rotate the tablet, the screen orientation changes just a little bit too slow for my taste, so this is a negative.

It also lacks a back camera. While not critical, when the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad 2 have one. The TouchPad feels left out the party.

*Sigh* I wanted to love the HP TouchPad, I really did. You can ask any of the G Style Magazine staff how much I was fiend for this tablet. But seeing it in person left me wanting something more. If it the back was rubberized like my Blackberry Playbook, I might of crack a coy smile. But, alas, the TouchPad just isn’t for me.

HP TouchPad G Styled Rating: Fashion Flop

Jason Anderson is a self-proclaimed gadget head and publisher of G Style Magazine where he covers all things “fashionably technical.” He contributes a weekly post on laptop and gadget panache. The views and opinions Jason expresses are his own and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  1. Matthew Bradley Says:

    I’m confused. You are seriously comparing the original Pre’s disappointing hardware (500mhz, 256MB RAM, shoddy slider, horrible battery) to the Touchpad, which specs trounce even the iPad2. The lack of a rear camera is hardly noteworthy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a webOS apologist but these reviews are starting to get annoying. Not one mention that the speakers are far better or the core praises of webOS’s multitasking vs Android and iOS. No, you get right to the negatives which virtually all can be fixed with software updates. I understand that you can’t review what the Touchpad “will be” but come on – you could have at the very least *mentioned* this small factoid. Your review sounds like you just hopped in a Geo Metro for the first time. It’s .2″ thicker – virtually the same as the original iPad. Holy cow, stop the presses!

  2. Danielle Says:

    I got a HP Touchpad on the first day yesterday and it works great. It has a front-facing camera, so a rear one is really optional and the Touchpad has many other advantages over the iPad2. If you’re talking about being left out of the party, the iPad can’t even display Flash video/audio that appears on many websites (unlike what Steve Jobs thinks) but the Touchpad can no problem. The Touchpad is also better in that it has a microUSB port for standard peripherals unlike the iPad’s proprietary dock connector. It also has wireless charging, stereo sound, Facebook app, and multitasking that the iPad does not have.

    So yes the iPad has a lot of hype and a lot of buyers, but it’s not necessarily a better product.

  3. Southflguy Says:

    The TouchPad distinguishes itself with WebOS. Not everything needs to have the exact dimensions of an iPad to ensure success. It actually has a sleek look and is not heavy at all. Have we gotten so lazy that it needs to practically levitate on its own? I agree that the OS needs work and can be sluggish but it beats every android tablet out there. Tried playing a 1080p vid on one of those? Work the TouchPad needs but a fail it is not.

  4. John Destacamento Says:

    When I went to Best Buy yesterday I played with the Touchpad and it was horrible. We found out that all these demos were downloading and the device was getting a lot of over-the-air updates. I came back later that evening and purchased one anyway.

    I took it home, followed the set up procedure and it was still horribly slow and it stalled, locked up and lagged 50% of the time. HOWEVER, after about 1/2 hour I manually rebooted the device and it began to flow like water, with a few hick ups. Today, I tested it out on my workout floor and frequently used it from 8am to 6pm. I wouldn’t say vigorously use it but it was on most of time during those hours, the battery at 6pm was at 10%. At the moment there are still a few disappointments but I can deal with them. The ironic news is that I haven’t touched my iPad2 at all today and that was my prime device before I purchased the Touchpad. So I am really considering selling the iPad2.

    It is working nicely now almost a complete 180 turnaround experience from last night. I owned the first Palm Pre, and it was buggy at first but all the over-the-air updates fixed a lot of problems. I’m assuming they will do the same with the HP Touchpad.

  5. Shirish Says:

    I think you are stuck in the same paradigm a number of reviewers are:
    1. The hardware checklist.
    2. The number of apps
    3. Size
    4. Weight.

    Comments about finger smudges – gosh, each and every touch device get smudged.
    Weight – 2 ounces more than the lightest. Right, need to strengthen the muscles. I’m getting tired already.
    Hold an ipad and a touchpad in each hand, and see which one is more likely to slip – the grippier Touchpad or the slippery iPad.

    Jason, you need to get out of iPad-created judgement box, and see it for what it is. I, too, was doing the feature-function thing, until I saw its far better usability, elegant design touches, how it brings together a bunch of my net-based content – a whole lot of things that Apple fanboys claim will happen in release 5.

  6. mirekk Says:

    Yeah, tablets suck anyway :P

  7. Jason Anderson Says:

    Wow people seems to always fail to ready before they comment lol. This is a style opinion only. I’m not here to talk about specs, you have all the other members of Laptop Magazine here for that. I’m the style critic lol

    And Shirish, you couldn’t be so more wrong. I’m very anti-Apple when it comes to the iPad, iPod, etc. I was really waiting for this TouchPad. But at the end of the day, I want my device to be sexier and slim like the iPad (there is no denying its style presence), but not with its software. And did you not see me mention the Galaxy Tab 10.1 sheesh lol

  8. i told u so.com Says:

    true though I understand its just an opinion, but in your own words you seem to label the touchpad a complete failure based on design, and a few hiccups. I too review products, and will say that still right now the ipad and ipad2 are very smooth when it comes to the OS functionality. Though HP did address there was a OTA update coming days before the launch to clean up the basic bugs, and lags. Funny thing though Webos is the best OS hands down (im sure even the fans can agree, even on this site over the years having webos win every event you have). To me the touchpad, after the update will be able to trounce the ipad2, it has core application already, and more optimized apps then android. We also have hombrew community already fixed basic things before the update (available now in preware whoever has one). So I understand this is your opinion, but honestly its thicker, heavy and finger print magnet sounds like things to pick at because its different then every other tablet on the market im just saying.

  9. Mark Spoonauer Says:

    Where did you here that an OTA update was coming days before launch? Palm told us it would come after launch and couldn’t provide a timetable, which is unfortunate…

  10. Stan Teate Says:

    If you can’t do a better job than the review above, quit your day job. You suck at reviewing. No one cares what your expectations were before the review and whether they were met. Report on the product and what it does vs its competition. You don’t seem to get past the styling of the product. Not very professional.

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