The HP TouchPad Review: webOS on the Big Screenby Anand Lal Shimpi on July 17, 2011 11:11 PM EST
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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Saraandy - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkI 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!!!
Oscarcharliezulu - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkThx 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?
audemars02 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkwow,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
jamawass - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkGreat 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
bobharp - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkThe 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.
randinspace - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkWhen 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.
Conner_36 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linki 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?
StormyParis - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkThanks 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.
dagamer34 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkThe UI for the TouchPad is there, the performance expected of it is not.
steven75 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkWhy buy this over an iPad 2?