HP attempted to break into the tablet and smartphone space a few years ago with its WebOS operating system. However, like Nokia's Symbian, despite having a massive marketing budget and a big name behind it, WebOS devices never managed to gain any traction in the general consumer or enterprise markets. The lack of interest eventually caused HP to bow out and do a burn sale of WebOS devices, leading to speculation that the firm would never again make a tablet or smartphone.
However, two years on the firm has aggressively re-targeted the market, releasing a slew of Windows 8 and RT tablet convertibles. Interestingly though, clearly wanting to cover its bases, HP has also braved Google's Android waters, releasing the HP Slate 7. The Slate 7 is HP's opening gambit in the Android market and is designed to target the same affordable space as Google's own Asus-built Nexus 7, costing a modest £129.
Design and build
The HP Slate 7 is a visually very unassuming device, featuring a smooth polycarbonate rear plate, metallic sides and black rimmed Gorilla Glass front. Were it not for the bright silver HP logo emblazoned on its back, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Slate 7 was one of competing PC maker Lenovo's Ideapad range of tablets. Size-wize the tablet is also very similar to most other 7in tablets, measuring in at a satchel-friendly 197x116x10.7mm. However those looking for a travel-friendly tablet, be warned, the Slate 7 is surprisingly heavy for such a small device, weighing 372g. While this isn't back breaking, it does make it far heavier than most other 7in tablets, like the Google's Nexus 7, which weighs a more modest 340g.
Despite being a little heavier than we expected, the Slate 7 does feel very sturdy. This is largely due to the metal rim lining its sides. The metal lining makes the Slate 7 feel far more robust than similarly sized and priced tablets, like the Nexus 7 and Ideapad, which we found were prone to picking up marks and chipping.
Next: Display and operating system