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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Conner_36 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkbecause its a free market
kmmatney - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkI 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.
bpgd - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkThis 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.
NeoReaper - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkI 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.
lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - linkOne 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.
NeoReaper - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - linki 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".
lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - linkI 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.
NeoReaper - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - linkahh, ok ok, that makes sense.
Leonick - Monday, July 18, 2011 - linkThe 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.
Belard - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - linkI 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.