WiFi

The TouchPad supports dual-band 802.11n via an Atheros 6003 WiFi stack. Bluetooth support comes via a separate chip (BluCore 63T23). I tested performance on both 2.4GHz (20MHz channels) and 5GHz (40MHz channels) networks. Just like Android, webOS seems to prefer connecting at 2.4GHz even when an AP supports both bands. I had to force my AP to have a separate 5GHz SSID to get the TouchPad to connect at the higher frequency.

WiFi Performance

Performance at 2.4GHz isn't that great compared to the other tablets we've tested. At best I managed 16Mbps to the TouchPad from a local server connected via GigE. Switching to 5GHz mode I got much better performance - 38.4Mbps. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 also supports 5GHz, forcing it to connect to the higher frequency SSID resulted in better performance as well - although the TouchPad still managed a slight advantage.

Battery Life

With the performance issues I've mentioned on the TouchPad, battery life is bound to suffer. We've spent the past decade really learning that power efficient hardware and software can be both high performing and very good for battery life. Clearly the long app load times and poor performance while multitasking are going to impact battery life, and indeed they do.

In our light multitasking battery life test we're constantly checking a Gmail account, playing music and running through our standard smartphone battery life test. All tablets here are set to nearly the same brightness using our colorimeter to ensure a level playing field.

General Usage - Web Browsing, Email & Music Playback

The TouchPad does the worst out of all of the tablets we've tested thus far, including the tiny HTC Flyer. Just over six hours isn't bad, but when the competition does at least 40 - 50% better it's a sign that webOS needs improvement here.

Video playback battery life is a little better:

Video Playback - H.264 720p Base Profile (No B-Frames)

We had to trim our test file to under 2GB in order to deal with the video player app limitation I mentioned earlier, but the actual workload remains unchanged. The TouchPad does better than both the PlayBook and HTC Flyer but is still a couple of hours short of the Honeycomb tablets and very far behind the iPad 2. Still, seven hours is enough to get more than a couple of movies in on a really long flight.

I suspect the battery life issues will be addressed alongside the performance issues as the APQ8060 shouldn't be a problem here, it's just a matter of how long that will take.

Performance Final Words
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  • bigboxes - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    Please. How many fart apps do you need? :p

    Anand, I notice that you mention Wi-Fi connectivity. Can the Touchpad access network drives and/or can it map a network drive? Part of the appeal of a tablet is not just to access the internet, but to access the intranet as well. It is disappointing that there is limitations placed on video formats and file size. Will there be 3rd-party apps (web browser, media player,etc.) that allow better functionality or is this a hardware/OS limitation?

    One thing that is missing from this review is HP's support of the homebrew community. I would assume that there will be many programmers out there who will provide free apps and patches that will augment the touchpad. This will allow you to fix a lot of the devices shortcomings. Come to think about it that is one of the most important aspects of this platform: the ability to do what you want with your device. Whereas Apple locks down their device to ensure uniform performance, HP allows us techies the option to tinker wtih our hardware as we see fit. Thanks for the review Anand!
    Reply
  • tecknurd - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    I disagree and you talk like an Apple fan. To my own eyes iPads are restrictive. I can not go to any site with out getting an F grade. iPad are not productive when they can not handle Flash. Unfortunately the Internet still uses Flash.

    The problem with any OS is applications. Until developers adventure to other OS, applications will be limited. Linux has the same problems and still have the problems with having good applications. In Linux there are applications for office tasks such as OpenOffice, but I would not use it for a business because it is very limited.

    Of course it is not the OS. It is the applications for tablets or for any computer. If I am force to buy an iPad like you say, I would just get a Mac book Air or similar.

    I against the iPad and iPhone because I think there is something better from other brands. Actually this is true and Apple wants those brands kicked out. I do not support such a thing.
    Reply
  • codedivine - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    The WebOS internals folks have stepped up and released a patch that reduces the amount of logging the OS does. Apparently it seriously improves performance. If the OS is indeed doing a whole bunch of disk IO that it shouldn't be doing, that will explain a lot of the lag issues. Reply
  • AmdInside - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    "The application launch time is livable however, it's something you can get used to and hope that HP will improve over time. There are two bigger issues with the TouchPad's performance that are harder to deal with."

    I beg to differ. This is the major reason why I sold my iPad 1 to get the ipad 2. When I tested an iPad2 after a friend bought one, I couldn't believe how much faster it launched apps. I could never get used to the launch time of the iPad 1. I am really happy with the iPad2's application launch times. I could not imagine going back to an iPad 1.
    Reply
  • cioxx - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    HP isn't about building and nurturing consumer ecosystems and neither was Palm with its latest incarnation after WebOS introduction. HP's DNA is basically moving large amounts of units to corporate/conservative customers and getting on to the next model.

    The fact that they announced a faster Touchpad after 2 weeks of having released the first one is testament to that schizophrenic behavior.

    There is absolutely no guarantees that WebOS will get better or that HP leadership will get their heads out of their ass and behave like a consumer-friendly company.

    Just look at their idiotic ads to get an idea what decision-makers at the company consider to be hip or relevant.

    The "It's not an iPad" crowd is pretty tiny and I've yet to see a credible tablet on the market which answers the fundamental question - "Why get this instead of an iPad?"
    Reply
  • halihassan - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    in the mail section you mention that there is no way to mark multiple emails for deletion. This is not true; when multiselect is enabled, the email app allows you to delete, flag, and move multiple emails. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Wow you're right, I definitely missed that! Fixed!

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • arbarath - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Nice Review..

    I personally use Eee Pad transformer, It personally satisfies all my needs. I went n bought a tablet that it should reduce the usage of my Laptop or PC atleast by 40 to 50% and its doing it although it cannot replace entirely.

    There are lot of space for performance improvement on honeycomb, but i like it thus far. Regional Fonts are missing in honeycomb, like mine (Tamil) its the biggest thing i miss so far .. I stream movies from my Home Server using smb including all formats, transfer files like you do on desktop or laptop.its great.

    HP tablet looks nice and it will be an intersection of iOS and Android. Card feature is really interesting and nice.

    Great review. keep it up. thanks.
    Reply
  • Omid.M - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Awesome review, Anand.

    Looks like the tablet to beat if HP can issue some updates to address the bugs you pointed out. Have you sent a list of these bugs (scenarios in which they were encountered, so they can be reproduced) to the product manager for the Touch Pad or a media relations person at HP? If not, you really should.

    Google +, Google & Amazon music integration, Netflix, and better battery life (and no hiccups) would make this the ultimate tablet. I'd pick one up asap if those were addressed; I'm not sure how swiftly HP would do that, though.

    Some errors I spotted in the review:

    Format:
    Line with [error]
    [correction]
    (Page title the error was spotted on)

    It does get worse on the [PlayBook] unfortunately.
    [TouchPad, ]
    (HP app catalog)

    [Seek] shelter or [be] a hermit with your new tablet are the only present day solutions.
    [Seeking]
    [being]
    (Display)

    [IT's] still a [dual-issue] in-order architecture
    [It's]
    [dual-issue,] --- add comma
    (Performance)

    With a few benign apps [open] the TouchPad multitasking experience is fine.
    [open, ] --- add comma
    (Performance)

    @moids
    Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Excellent review, it's a shame webOS isn't gaining traction any faster and HP isn't pushing devices out the door any faster... WP7's UI design is interesting, but webOS has features that still make many honest Android and iOS users jealous.

    I would've loved to see where that IM conversation about GPUs was going. ;) BTW, I don't know about iOS, but there's like half a dozen Android solutions for synchronizing or connecting your phone to a PC in order to be able to SMS from the PC, and even view the phone's notifications. I don't think there's any Honeycomb solution yet tho, short of Google Voice, which not everyone can use or integrate.
    Reply

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