Final Words

Without the performance issues and bugs, the TouchPad would likely be my favorite tablet on the market today. I've been begging for a tablet that lets me be more productive and HP delivered that with the TouchPad. The biggest issue is that if you actually try to use webOS to be more productive and start multitasking on the TouchPad, the experience quickly grinds to a halt. It's frustrating because while iOS and Honeycomb tablets lack the multitasking experience of webOS, they deliver on performance. And while the TouchPad has a better platform, it just doesn't perform as well as either of its chief competitors. You really can't have it all in this business, not yet at least.


From left to right: Galaxy Tab 10.1, TouchPad, iPad 2, PlayBook

The bugs are also quite obvious when you really start using the TouchPad. I wouldn't say that webOS 3.0 feels rushed, but it does need some serious updating. In its current state I don't believe the TouchPad is a good purchase, not until we see how serious HP is about updating the platform to address these issues.

The good news for HP is that it's typically easier to tune for performance than it is to completely redo your OS (assuming the performance issues aren't deep rooted in the way webOS was written). As I mentioned at the start of this article, the fundamentals of webOS are sound and it made a great transition to the big screen. The TouchPad just needs optimization.

The hardware is heavy but otherwise competitive. HP built the TouchPad with a good screen, good speakers and a great way to charge the tablet. The OS could use a visual update but is functionally incredible. The webOS card system is the best way to handle multitasking that I've seen in a mobile device to date. Unified messaging and Synergy are also very well executed features of the OS. Even the TouchPad's virtual keyboard is well executed (save for an imperfect autocorrect system).

I really feel like the TouchPad was built for users who want to do more with tablets. I'm just hoping that HP follows through with an aggressive enough update schedule to actually deliver what those users are looking for.

WiFi Performance & Battery Life
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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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