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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  • Saraandy - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I loved the Comparison table, the most comfortable way to select the best! Thanks for the wonderful write-up on HP touch pad.Inspiring Designs; Creative Excellence!!! Reply
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Thx Anand, great review I live the extent and depth compared to even print magazines.

    Web-OS looks good, but I have to say it's a damn shame that really it's missed the market share and Apps boat. HP should use it's expertise to produce great hardware and merge it's webos features with android and become the premier blue-chip tablet maker that way. There is some evidence that developers are even favoring iOS over android as iOS users actually buy apps. What hope does webos have - wouldnt you develop for iOS, android or win8 tablet first way before this or playbook?

    We've seen this type of wishful thinking before in the tech world. Perhaps IBM will bring out a tablet with os2 warp on it?
    Reply
  • audemars02 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    wow,just like your veer review, this was a very fair and complete review. You clearly get what HP is going for and how great this tablet can be. A few quick comments for you on the review:
    Keyboard - are you that you can resize the keyboard? just hold down the keyboard key on the bottom right and you get 4 size options. Also, you can press-and-hold on most keys to get additional symbols/characters

    SMS forwarding - the Pre2 will be able to forward text messages as well once it gets a future software update as well. So the pre2, pre3 and veer will be able to do that

    call forwarding - you can actually register the touchpad as a Bluetooth headset for any phone, not just webOS phones...this can be cool for people who dont have a webOS phone yet

    app loading times - while it may be slower to load up apps at first, it really needs to be said that once loaded up as a card, app loading times become instantaneous due to webOS's awesome multitasking

    touchstone - you may want to mention that you can still charge the touchpad on the touchstone, even when it is in the HP touchpad case. Its so convienent!

    again, great job with your review. I cant wait to see how things get better after the OTA update we will be getting at the end of the month. Should fix a lot of the issues you mentioned

    adam
    @audemars02
    Reply
  • jamawass - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Great review as usual. However call logs for cell phones and skype are logged in the phone application.
    Also a mention about printing to hp printers ( I have printed succesfully to my network connected mfc-6310, touchpad autodiscovered it effortlessly) would've rounded up your review. Thanks
    Reply
  • bobharp - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    The review content and method was clear concise and informative.
    Great work. I wish I felt I needed a tablet.
    Will take a serious look at the Pre3.

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • randinspace - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    When I read this sentence: "There's tons of room for innovation and we're seeing its competitors offer clear examples of that innovation," I started to wonder how long it would be before Apple sued HP if the TouchPad actually managed to take off. Reply
  • Conner_36 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    i think they wont, because surprise surprise... Palm has patents! Most of these killer features are probably protected by patents and some of the obvious UI holes might be there to avoid law suites.
    Apple isn't an 'evil' entity, its a business. They got pissed at google when they blatantly changed their andriod os from looking like rims to looking like ios. Android innovation is a step forward two steps backwards. Notice how apple tore the phone away from the carrier and googles fine with handing the market back?
    Reply
  • StormyParis - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Thanks for a very complete and informative review. Which casts this tablet under a better light than other reviews, and nicely highlights some strengths (speakers ! yes, watching movies requires good speakers !) and weaknesses. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    The UI for the TouchPad is there, the performance expected of it is not. Reply
  • steven75 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Why buy this over an iPad 2? Reply

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