HP Launches Slate 7 Android Tablet with Beats Audio for $169

HP Slate 7 Tablet Front and Back

The HP Slate 7 is beyond fashionably late to the Android tablet party, but it tries to make up for its tardiness with a very low price. When the device arrives in April, HP’s first Google-powered tablet just announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress will cost just $169. That’s $30 less than the the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD. So how does this value-priced device stand out? HP is playing up the Slate 7’s Beats Audio sound and wireless printing capabilities. 

The Slate 7 certainly doesn’t look like a $169 tablet, thanks to its stainless steel frame and soft-touch back that’s available in gray or red. The device measures .42 inches thick (about the same as the Kindle Fire HD‘s .41 inches) and weighs 13.05 ounces, making this tablet lighter than the Fire (13.9 ounces) but heavier than the Nexus 7 (12 ounces). The Slate 7 has a microSD card slot and microUSB port.

To differentiate its tablet, the Slate 7 is the first with Beats Audio built in, which is designed to deliver richer and more robust sound. According to Alberto Torres, HP’s senior vice president of its Mobility Global Business Unit, Beats really kicks in when you’re using headphones. However, the Slate 7 does sport stereo speakers. As you might expect from HP, the Slate 7 has wireless printing capabilities via ePrint. The app lets you print from most applications.

MORE: Top 10 Tablets Right Now

The Slate 7 does skimp on some specs for its low price. For starters, the 1024 x 600-pixel display has a lower resolution than the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 (both 1280 x 800). On the other hand, HP says its High-aperture-ratio Field Fringe Switching (HFFS) technology gives its panel wide viewing angles, whether you’re viewing documents or playing Angry Birds Space. 

Powering this Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet is a 1.6-GHz ARM A9 dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, and you’ll find 8GB of storage on board. The Slate 7 features a VGA camera up front and a fairly low-res 3-MP camera on the back. By comparison, the Nexus 7 boasts a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, though HP claims that its device offers swift performance. 

When we asked HP’s Torres whether shoppers will just opt for the faster Nexus 7 or more family friendly Kindle Fire HD for $30 more, he told us that “we are going to have a very strong value proposition with Beats Audio and that the design is far superior than those other tablets that you mention.” Torres also reminded us that HP “wants to be the leader in tablets so to expect other price points.” In other words, don’t be surprised to see a larger, more premium Android Slates in HP’s lineup in the not too distant future.

Stay tuned for our hands-on impressions of the Slate 7 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer on
Twitter Google+
Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options