Ratings in depth

HP Slate 7 HD review

HP Slate 7 HD review

HP Slate 7 HD review

HP Slate 7 HD review

HP Slate 7 HD review

Following HP's disastrous previous entries into the tablet market, there is clearly a lot riding upon the 7-inch shoulders of the HP Slate 7 HD. Given the value of the tablet PC market, this is an area that HP can't afford to miss out on.

When it comes to the modern tablet market, there are two clear winners, in the form of Android's OS and Apple's iPad range, although Windows 8 tablets have slowly started to provide a decent third option.

Recent news that Android has now overtaken the iPad in tablet dominance is no surprise given the wide range of price tags that it covers, from the highest-end Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 all the way down to the much cheaper Google Nexus 7.

That is where the HP Slate 7 HD sits, running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean for the rather reasonable price of £129 (about $215, AU$239), or for £169 (about $282, AU$312) if you want two years' worth of free 3G data (250MB per month) included.

For the added cost you also get double the internal storage, up from 8GB to 16GB, so it's starting to look even more reasonable. The Slate 7 HD is one of the cheaper Android tablets out there, which may help it against the likes of the Kindle Fire HDX, Tesco Hudl and Nexus 7.

HP Slate 7 HD Review
The HP Slate HD retails at £129

The budget market is fierce and HP knows that, offering in the aforementioned 3G data connection on top of a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM and a HD 1280 x 800 7-inch screen.

Also included is Beats Audio technology to make music and movies stored on the 16GB (and the microSD card) sound better.

This all comes wrapped up in a frame measuring 201.3 x 119.8 x 9.95mm, so it is by no means a tiny tablet. It felt a little large in the hand, and the thick black bezel that wraps around the 7-inch screen screams cheap.

HP Slate 7 HD Review
The Slate 7 HD feels like a large tablet in the hand

A massive HP logo on the front, where the home button on the iPad sits, doesn't help the cause, either.

Add to that the textured plastic back panel and I was left feeling rather disheartened with the Slate 7 HD in the hand. Where the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX make you think you've got a much more expensive tablet, the HP sits a little further down the scale.

The front of the Slate 7 HD comes with that aforementioned thick black bezel and HP logo, as well as a forward-facing 2MP camera and light sensor, leaving the rest of the front to be taken up by that HD screen.

HP Slate 7 HD Review
All of the Slate 7 HD's buttons and ports are on the back

Around the back is a different story. The review model in question is red, although it does also come in silver, as pictured.

All the necessary buttons and ports are located on the back; the power/lock button, volume rocker and covered microSD/microSIM ports. I found that with these buttons sitting flush I often missed them, giving a very unintuitive feel.

A 5MP camera is also located on the back, although it is missing a flash. I doubt this would be a massive problem, though, unless you are short of any other camera device.

Along the bottom sits the microUSB/charging port, as well as the external speakers and headphone port, leaving the top completely free.

In all, the Slate 7 HD is an interesting device, if only because it marks a true intention from HP to try to deliver a solid tablet to a tough market.