HP Slate 500 Windows 7 Tablet Hands-On Video: Will Businesses Bite?

No, it’s not powered by WebOS, but HP thinks its Windows 7-based  Slate 500 tablet will be a hit with business and enterprise customers. Like other Windows 7 tablets, the Slate 500 is essentially a netbook without a keyboard, but it’s the most elegant that we’ve seen so far. That’s just hardware though. HP doesn’t bundle any touch-optimized software on this slate, leaving it to business customers to bring their own apps.

For $799, you get a tablet that includes many features the iPad lacks, including two cameras, a USB port, and pen input. HP also throws in a dock with HDMI output and a carrying case. Now that the iPad is making serious inroads in the business world, will the Slate 500 be able to keep up? Get our impressions and watch the hands-on videos below.

As we mentioned, the Slate 500 is elegantly designed. It’s got an all-glass front, a silver-metal edge, and a rubberized back with an interesting triangular pattern. In some ways, it looks like an oversized iPhone 4 more than the iPad. At 1.5 pounds, it’s the same weight as the iPad, but Slate 500′s screen is 8.9 inches,compared to the iPad’s 9.7-inch size. Additionally, the Slate 500′s display has a resolution of 1024 x 600, and a 16:9 aspect ratio.

The Slate 500 runs Windows 7 Professional, and is powered by a 1.86-GHz Intel Atom Z540, 2GB of RAM, and has a 64GB SSD. Graphics are the netbook-standard Intel GMA 500 GPU, but the Slate 500 also has a Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced video accelerator, which will make watching Flash videos a smoother experience. The device comes with Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi built in.

The front of the Slate 500 features a VGA webcam, and the back has a 3-megapixel cam, which can be used to take stills and video. In fact, HP reps told us they envisioned the device being useful to insurance adjusters for capturing evidence in the field.

The Slate’s squared sides give it room to fit in a USB port, as well as an SDHC slot. Buttons around the sides include one to bring up the on-screen keyboard, a Control-Alt-Delete button, and volume controls. The Slate 500 measures 9.2 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches.

HP bundles a few accessories with the Slate 500, including a dock (which has two USB ports, HDMI and a headphone/mic jack), a stylus, and a leather folio. Sadly, there’s no slot in the device itself for the stylus, though there is a place to stow it in the folio.

Overall, the Slate 500 is reasonably priced for what HP includes, but as most of you already know the Windows 7 touch experience is just not very good, regardless of the target audience. The addition of pen input helps for certain tasks, though. Will this tablet make waves or just become a footnote? HP says it has serious interest from large customers, and we look forward to bringing you our full review to help you make up your mind.

In the meantime, check out our quick video tour of the Slate 500.

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  1. aftermath Says:

    I’m hopeful that you understand what you’re analyzing.

    You’re comparing this SLATE TABLET which features a FULL OS to TOUCHSCREEN SLATES that run mobile OSes. These are not substitutable good in the economic sense, and the valid comparison would be to products like slate and convertible tablet PCs. This is perhaps the cheapest pure slate with an active digitizer EVER. In fact, I think it’s undercut the previous price point by hundreds of dollars, and has done so in a more compact form factor. For the markets in which this is intended, it’s neither too little nor too late. In fact, this gives more capability than most popular low-end consumer grade slates at a time in which many business are looking towards those products as COST-BASED substitutes to larger, more powerful tablet PCs. They no longer have to think this way.

  2. TomD Says:

    I’m in complete agreement with aftermath here. My own opinion is that i/droid mania has resulted in pretty thoughtless reviews of Windows based devices (what few there are). And I’m not singling out this site as others as just as guilty. A device like this is about being productive, not about being “cool”. As both a traditional Wintel tablet user and an enterprise admin, however, I believe HP still missed the boat here in a couple of ways. One critical feature for an enterprise is a wired network port to enable roll out of their own hardened OS image, applications, security patches and updates over the corporate LAN. I’m not all that surprised there isn’t one on the Slate 500 itself, but not even on the dock? That’s just silly, especially when it would have been cheap, and a clear differentiator from “the others”. While this is possible over wi-fi, it isn’t recommended, especially in security conscious environments, and I know of dozens of large organizations that won’t even consider the product for that single omission. From a business standpoint, I would also be hugely concerned over the non-user-replaceable battery for 2 reasons: 1) if the battery is only good for 5 hours, it can’t be used all day without stopping to re-charge, and a second battery can’t be swapped in to extend use. 2) Enterprises can’t send critical data off to some distant lab because the battery malfunctioned/died and needs to be replaced, nor should they have to consider some other time-consuming (meaning expensive) way around that. (Image-secure delete-ship-receive-re-image? No way!) No mention here of whether the hard drive is user-replacable, so I’m assuming the case is sealed (could be wrong) but even if I can take the drive out, the user is down for the simple lack of a swappable battery. I’d accept another half-pound of weight for that change. (Ironically, Apple locked themselves out of some environments for years when they refused to honor the warranty on laptops unless it was sent to them for repair with the original hard drive installed). Sadly, it looks like HP made a couple really bad design decisions here relative to the intended market, on what otherwise could have been a real winner. Just another example of 1.0 syndrome I guess. Maybe 2.0 will resolve these issues AND throw in a dual core processor. Waiting for 2011 . . . .

  3. JB82 Says:

    “Pen input”- IT HAS AN ACTIVE DIGITIZER!! You are seriously trying to keep this quiet in this article -its defining feature and you merely refer to it as “pen input”!!!

    If you are serious about note taking or drawing then this makes the rest look like toys.

    Wish it had at least a 10″ screen though.

  4. JB82 Says:

    Now i see – you didn’t know – the evernote video you are using the pen like a standard stylus – you have to flick a switch to enable to digitizer!!!!

  5. JB82 Says:

    Well not sure if it is a switch but whatever you are not doing it right.

  6. James Says:

    @aftermath

    +1 to you. This guy clearly doesn’t understand the intended market for this device how it compares to other devices in that market. This thing in not in competition with the iPad, android tablets or any other Win7 tablet intended for the consumer market such as the ExoPC.

    That said, if I could afford it I would, as a consumer, get it.

  7. Jeff Jackson Says:

    TomD, the critical data issue is why there is an SD slot. On an SD card is where Enterprises will store all critical data so that it can be poped out of one slate and plugged into the spare and be back up and running in about 5 seconds.

  8. dstrauss Says:

    It is SO GOOD to visit a review site that: (a) doesn’t trash the HP Slate immediately, and (b) has comments that are cogent and topical, and not the usual “my iPad kicks your Slate’s @$$.” There are so many upsides to this device in the business context that I am amazed it comes in at $799 with a dock, active digitizer, and custom folio case. The SDXC card alone gives you unlimited storage capacity, and even now, a 64gb card can be had for around $90, 128gb for $200, and next year up to 1TB.

    I can’t imagine anyone who has really tried OneNote with an active digitizer could go back to anything less. I tried an iPad for three months and PAID for every notetaking App out there; combining notetaking with a capacitive digitizer on the iPad screen IS a fail (to coin Mr. Jobs’ phrase).

    Hopefully, the journalists who obtain review units will give it a fair trial, and remember that the entire universe does not revolve around Netflix, Angry Birds, and the next Lady Gaga iTunes video. No doubt the iPad interface will be slicker and snappier than stock Win7 on the Slate. But ours is a blank canvas we can fill with any (ANY) Windows program; view and edit ANY Office attachment with 100% fidelity because it can run real MS Office; and still was those “Flashy thingys and music videos” on our down time.

    Thank you HP FOR NOT DUMBING DOWN THE CURRICULUM!

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