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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  • Conner_36 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    because its a free market Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I agree - at this price there isn't much incentive. At this time, it seems like the iPad 2 is still the better device. I don't think WebOS gives you any more "freedom" than iOS. Reply
  • bpgd - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    This is the review I have been waiting for. As always Anand's review is gold standard. He goes into details and really tells how the thing works. Reply
  • NeoReaper - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I feel bad writing this comment because this is actually the first time I've ever posted anything on Anandtech and I've been coming to this site since its inception. I have a lot of respect for virtually every article I have ever read on this site written by Anand with the exception of this one. This is only an opinion but I feel like this review isn't nearly as critical as it should be. Based on what I've read in regards to performance, battery life, bugs, etc.. this device doesn't deserve the pass that you gave (at least that's the impression I get from reading this) This device has too many underlying flaws that haven't been addressed, mainly being the OS performance issues that have existed since the original Pre. Why criticize Skype performance when the screenshot you have cleaerly shows a large number of system services sapping CPU usage for no good reason? I mean, really? Pulseaudio is using almost 27% CPU usage. Maybe I'm interpreting this review incorrectly... I just feel that you were hoping for this device to deliver but reality it doesn't and you're simply hoping that OS updates will resolve the performance issues. If you want to believe that, why not expect the competition to make an update to the OS which boasts features that will make it better for office productivity? Hope is for fanboyism, a reviewer should be deliver facts without twisting it with what could be. Your final words are completely contradictory to itself. I hope you re-examine your review. As I've said already, I have great respect for you, Anand, and I've praised virtually every article you have ever written, but this article I cannot. Reply
  • lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    One thing you might want to keep in mind though, is that while pulseaudio was using 27% of CPU resources, is that necessarily HP's fault? I would be more inclined to believe that the fault lies with the developers of pulseaudio for not making a well optimized app.

    Now, I'm not excusing the glaring flaws with the Touchpad, however I have not noticed the majority of the performance issues reviewers have seen with my personal TP. That's why in an earlier comment I wanted to know what build of the OS Anand's unit is running. I think reviewers got an earlier build that may not be as optimized as the release build.

    I was in Staples the other day, and the demo unit was running build 16 whereas the release models are running build 41.
    Reply
  • NeoReaper - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    i see your comment regarding the build number now, it would be very interesting to hear back from Anand regarding the build he was running and whether or not any performance issues have really been fixed. as for the pulseaudio thing, pulseaudio is a linux audio service so the state of its optimization would be HP's fault. It is not a third party application. As I said, my main gripe with the review is that even in the final words portion of his article, many statements are contradictory. How productive can it be when he states that the unit is runs slower than its main competitors in virtually every aspect? How can you justify weight and size with such poor battery life and performance? Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh but the problem is, all the underlying "performance" issues that he states are in the Touchpad are the same problems that plagued the Pre, Pixi, and Pre2. I would love for HP to "fix" the performance issue, but maybe its not really that easy to "fix". Reply
  • lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    I forgot about pulse being a linux service. Whoops. lol. I can expplain the extra weight and thickness of the device though. Well, HP did. The reason it is so much thicker and heavier according to them, which makes sense to me, is the inclusion of the inductive charging coils. Reply
  • NeoReaper - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    ahh, ok ok, that makes sense. Reply
  • Leonick - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    The keyboard is actually pretty impressive compared to the competitors, having both a numbers row with special characters and a tab key.

    I also like how it handles the settings compared to iOS, having settings in the individual apps make a lot more sense in my mind that a centralized app, still iOS apps can do this if the developers choose to and when there are any settings you might want to change more than once or while running the app the generally do so.

    Seems they got notifications pretty right for a tablet too. Pretty similar to how honeycomb does it it looks like. I think the system coming with iOS 5 will do fine for the iPad but it's still not perfect, it seem to be lacking statusbar icons to show that you have notifications and it would be neat if it could display upcoming calendar events and not just events with reminders (like the cydia app Lockinfo does).
    Also, it was mentioned how the system was similar to notifications on a PC, well that's understandable, they do have plans to put WebOS on PCs.
    Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    I agree with you on the keyboard. When I played with the Playbook, I noticed the keyboard right away and LOVE it... iOS and Android should COPY this onto their own devices... ah, let the lawsuits fly.

    When you have passwords that are combos of numbers and letters, going back and forth can through you off (it does me).

    I'd give HP/WebOS a 10 for the keyboard. I'd give Android and iOS a 6 in comparison.

    The Settings Icons for WebOS are a pain.... You have to open one after the other, and if you DON'T close the, they'll stay in memory - constantly running.
    Reply

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