Hands on: HP Pro Tab 10 EE review

Great for children and teachers

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

If you're an educator or a parent, this device might pique your interest. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

For

  • Durability
  • Price

Against

  • Lightbleed
  • Bulk
  • Poor cameras

HP recently unveiled its newest fleet of enterprise tablets and convertibles. Leading the pack was the HP Pro Slate 12 ($529, £349, or AUS$646), a large format tablet that can turn physical pen-to-paper drawings into digital files.

The Pro Slate 12 fits nicely into a category that is already jam-packed with excellent enterprise-focused devices like the Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140 (starting at $699, £430, AU$795), a 1.55 pound, 11-inch device that packs 9 hours of battery life into a single charge and the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro (starting at $545, £549, AU$995) a large format 12-inch device driven by 1.9GHz Quad core processor.

Just below this tier of devices is the HP Pro Tab 10 EE ($279, £184, AUS$340), a 10.10-inch tablet geared toward the education market.

Specs and features

When devices are geared toward the education market you can typically count on three things: 1) affordability 2) durability and 3) low-end specs. The same is true of the HP Pro Tab 10 EE, a Windows 8.1-based device that runs on an Intel Atom processor, weighs 1.87 pounds and features a 1200X800 resolution screen.

HP Pro Tab

A similar (and equally low-end) device - the HP Pro Slate 10 EE - can be purchased with an Android-based operating system. Both devices come with a 1.33 GHz processor - more than 1 GHz slower than the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, the fastest tablet on the planet. If you're just using this device for web browsing and basic operations you won't notice any lag-time: I found it to be speedy enough for homework, research and non-gaming entertainment.

The Pro Tab comes with up to 32GB of storage capacity, 1GB of RAM and runs on 28.5 WHr (which I estimate to be about six hours of battery life based on similar tablets on the market, like the Sony Vaio Tap 11). Storage can be expanded to 128 GB via MicroSD card. The tablet is Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth-enabled and can be plugged into via a micro USB input and out of via a Micro HDMI output.

Definitely do not buy this tablet for photography (not that you would ever buy a tablet for photography): it features putrid 2 megapixel and 1.2 megapixel rear and front-facing cameras, respectively.

Design

Although I find the dark grey and black bezel to be boring to look at, it is quite sturdy - you'll be thankful for it when your students or children drop this device. Think of this device as a junior ruggedized tablet: the rubber edges are rounded off to prevent the corners from being crushed after a fall, it can withstand a little bit of rain and snow, and it can handle a decent amount of dust without destructing. Because of HP's focus on durability, the tablet is quite heavy at 1.87 pounds and quite thick at more than half an inch (0.56 inches).

HP Pro Tab

HP tends to leave a ton of space around the borders of its screens, which is unfortunate given that its competitors are finding ways to turn this real estate into additional screen-space. With the Pro Tab 10 EE specifically, there is more than an inch of bezel at the top and bottom of the screen and a half-inch of bezel along the sides, which is an incredible waste.

A low-resolution 1200x800 screen shouldn't be as bad as this one. Unfortunately, HP's new devices suffer from extreme light-bleed. I said the following about the Pro Slate 12 and I'll reiterate it tenfold here: don't expect to watch Netflix on the Pro Tab 10 EE with the sun at your back - it just won't work.

The device comes with the flimsiest Stylus you'll ever use. This might be good for kids whose hands are tiny and can't handle the bulkier digital pens you'll see on other enterprise tablets. However, I felt the pen was too flimsy and thin and I worry that the cord connecting the pen to the tablet won't be strong enough to withstand the rips and tugs of enthusiastic children. Then again: why isn't the Stylus cordless?

Early verdict

If you're buying the HP Pro Tab 10 EE for a student or for a teacher to use while in the classroom, it's probably a safe bet. However, I wouldn't buy it for an adult who plans on using it as a laptop substitute. It's fast enough for basic use and it's sturdy enough for small children, but it doesn't offer any of the high-end specs or perks of other devices on the market.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.