Beats Audio

At its TouchPad announcement HP brought Jimmy Iovine on stage to talk about Beats Audio, obviously to promote its integration into the TouchPad. I will begin this section by saying that the TouchPad is definitely the best sounding tablet I've tested thus far. But how much of that is due to some magical Beats Audio hardware?

Tech Republic cracked open the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and found a Wolfson Micro WM8994 audio hub and codec. What about the HP TouchPad? A Wolfson Micro WM8958.

The only difference between the two parts is the WM8958 used in the TouchPad features a DSP used as a multiband compressor and dynamic range controller. The multiband compressor explains exactly what I hear with the TouchPad. On most tablets low frequencies are almost entirely lost, while the TouchPad sacrifices dynamic range in order to boost these low and/or mid spectrum frequencies. The result can be pleasant depending on the type of music you're listening to. In general I found the TouchPad's audio to be more filling than any competing tablet. While I'm not usually a fan of most aural or visual trickery, in this case I believe the multiband compression does a good job.

Touch to Share

When used with a Pre 3 (not yet available) or with a future update to the Veer, you'll be able to initiate the exchange of a URL (and potentially other data) just by touching your supported webOS phone to the TouchPad. HP wasn't able to get us a Pre 3 for the review so I can't comment on the experience with the TouchPad but I can talk about the bigger picture here.

One of the biggest problems I have with tablets today is this: if I have a dozen tabs open in Chrome on my desktop and then choose to start browsing on my tablet, the only way to transfer my state is to email or IM myself a bunch of URLs and open them one by one on the tablet. Improving sharing of state between devices is going to be key to making the transition between multiple computing devices more seamless. The concept behind Touch to Share is to quickly copy the URL of a web page you're looking at on your tablet to your phone and vice versa. The idea here is to be able to load a web page on your phone or tablet and quickly port the experience to another device without having to manually type in a bunch of URLs. I can see the potential here if HP brings a similar type of sharing between its PCs running webOS and its mobile webOS devices.

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  • TheTechSmith - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I also like the product review choices. Not everyone who reads Anandtech is a PC gamer, and tablets and smart phones are evolving way faster than PC technology, so it makes sense that more coverage is required. There are still plenty of PC component reviews that benchmark using plenty of games for that market. This is a particular product review I was waiting for in fact. Although one review I would like to see is a revisited Boxee Box review, since the Boxee software has changed drastically since the first review, and it was promised at the end of first review to be done before last Christmas. Reply
  • justaviking - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    As long as the phone and tablet reviews do not prevent traditional reviews of PCs, Laptops, and componets, then what's the problem? It takes me about 1 second to not read a review.

    Anand has to follow the market and the industry. Should he be busy benchmarking floppy disk drives? Should he not consider the ability to properly play HD video? He needs to stay current with industry trends or AnandTech.com will become a relic of the past.

    There are lots and lots of reviews here that are not relevant to my immediate purchasing needs. Many I read because they are interesting anyway, though some I skim over much faster than others.

    Lastly, and I hesitate to say it, but there is no need for profanity. It is possible to strongly and passionately voice one's opinion with resorting to gutter language. It's not that I'm delicate and easily offended, it's just that it affects the overall character of this site which is usuall very professional, even when the various fan boys don't agree. This site has some of the best readers in the world, and let's keep the standards high.
    Reply
  • dookiex - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    Not only does Anand need to follow the market and industry, if he was to only review and report on PCs, laptops, and components, there would be very little content on the site! If you sat down and thought about it, there hasn't been any really breakthrough offerings in PC and components land in quite some time now. As for PC gaming, that market really died down since the 360 and PS3. Mobile casual gaming is also NOT helping matters in PC gaming land. Reply
  • thisisthetruthfolks - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    You hit it spot on. Anand if you read these comments, I'm just trying to figure out why this site focuses so much on all these cell phone / tablets stuff when it's traditionally a PC and hardware site.

    I think this site would be best off focusing on the CHIPS found in these devices, not so much the devices themselves.

    And how come laptops get no attention? The biggest article you guys did on notebooks was a notebook GPU roundup that did nothing useful besides list all the available GPUs and categorize them as low end, mid range, or high end. Nothing in that article offered anything that the typical reader of this site didn't already know or couldn't find out on google.

    Where is the reviews of notebook GPUs? No benchmarks of the 580m, no benchmarks of the 6990m, etc. etc. Sure there are some articles, but so many things are missing.

    I subscribed to this site on twitter because I thought it had great reviews for GPUs/CPUs...only to find out that 99% of the time anandtech posts stuff about tablet computers that I couldnt care less about.

    At least reading fudzilla is interesting. Except it has zero credibility. Maybe I'll subscribe to tom's hardware instead...
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Don't like the first review of webos since you are a tablet hater? Then don't come back here. But don't be a whiny bitch about it either. That's Steve's Job. Reply
  • Wardrop - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    I've been wondering the same thing for the past year. I can only speak for myself, but I kind of see these articles as spam. I also hate the reviews of those boutique computers, as first of all, I get the impression AnandTech readers aren't on the market for a pre-built desktop computer, and second, a lot of these computers are only available in the U.S, and so are irrelevant for a lot of other readers (like many of the cellphone reviews). Laptop's I understand as they're popular and not something you can build yourself, but other than that, I'd like to see AnandTech focus more on desktop hardware and industry news. Anyone can give us reviews of mobile phones and tablets, but there aren't too many sites that can write an SSD anthology as comprehensively as AnandTech. That's their strength, and I'd love to see more of it. Reply
  • halihassan - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I’ve yet to reach the end of this review, but so far it seems like you’ve covered the tablet fairly well. One item that I found missing (but is relatively unique) is the monthly Pivot magazine built into the App Catalog. I quickly discovered and downloaded several apps that way, and having used Android and iOS app stores I definitely think that gives HP a huge edge when it comes to discovering applications. Reply
  • halihassan - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I agree that HP has a ways to go to fully integrate a wireless syncing solution, but it was nice that Box.net offers 50GB of storage for free to all TouchPad users. Box.net is built into Synergy, but it has yet to appear in the music or photo apps, just QuickOffice and its own app from what I can remember. Reply
  • Wander7 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I love that background with the light shreaking upwards towards the heavens. Reply
  • lunarx3dfx - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Anand, could you let me know what build of the OS your touchpad is running? Ive noticed that the display models in stores are running build 16, whereas the release build is 41. I think there was some serious optimization done between those build, because ive had none of the performance issues experienced by reviewers on my touchpad. The experience is nice and snappy for me, albeit with the occasional stutter.

    Also, HP already announced that the first ota is due out by the end of this month with bug fixes and optimizations.

    I personally love my touchpad, and hardly even use my computers anymore for anything other than working in office and playing games. My touchpad has practically replaced every other device I have. I love it.

    Also, this was sent from my HP Touchpad. :-)
    Reply

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