Hands On With The $169 Slate 7, HP’s First Android Tablet [MWC 2013]


mwc2013bug-coaBARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS — HP famously bowed out of the tablet game when it gave up on the TouchPad and its webOS operating system, but here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company has jumped right back into it. Its new tablet, the Slate 7, is an entry-level device that’s powered by Android, and it costs just $169. We went hands-on to find out whether it’s worth it.

The Slate 7 reminds me of the Google Nexus 7 — they’re both 7-inch tablets aimed at budget-conscious consumers, with price tags that come in under the $200 mark. But one of them is better than the other, and I’m afraid it’s not the Slate 7.

I’m not saying it’s a bad device, but it’s not a great one either. Its 7-inch display offers a disappointing 1024×600 resolution, while its 1.6GHz dual-core processor may not give enough to power the latest Android games. There’s also 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage — which is expandable via the microSD card slot.


There are two cameras on the Slate 7: a 3.2-megapixel shooter on the back, and a VGA quality shooter on the front. Neither are that great — in fact, the front-facing one is terrible — but who really uses their tablet to take photos anyway? The device has Android 4.1 Jelly Bean pre-installed, and it’s mostly stock, aside from a few HP features — such as wireless printing — here and there.

The Slate 7 is mostly made of plastic, but it has a steel frame around its edge holding everything together — kind of like the iPhone 4/4S. It also boasts Beats Audio integration, which promises to deliver “the best-sounding, richest audio experience available on a tablet.” Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy at HP’s noisy MWC booth.


While the Slate 7 does offer a few features the Nexus 7 doesn’t have — such as the microSD card slot, the rear-facing camera, and Beats Audio — I’d rather spend the extra $30 on a better display and a more advanced, quad-core processor.