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Customer Review

80 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Budget Tablet With A Killer Feature, 19 April 2014
This review is from: HP Slate 7 HD Tablet with 3G+ Mobile Broadband for 2 Years - (ARM Marvell Dual-Core Cortex-A 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, Android 4.2, Silver) (Personal Computers)
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My point of reference for the HP Slate 7 HD is the Lenovo A3000 7-inch Tablet (Black) - (Quad Core 1.2GHz Processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, WLAN, BT, GPS, 2x camera, Android 4.2) I bought in December 2013. Both are Android tablets in the same price range, both run Jelly Bean with zero prospect of upgrade to KitKat and beyond, and their specifications are broadly comparable.

CONSTRUCTION

The Slate 7 HD feels well made, solid enough in the hand that you don't think you're holding something fragile. The silver grey plastic back cover perhaps looks a little cheap, but that's a matter of taste and certainly not a problem. Placement of controls is unusual, with on/off and volume buttons tucked away on the back of the device, but of course your fingers soon learn how to find them,and the HP Stand Case for Slate 7 HD has cutouts for the controls that put your finger in exactly the right place. I don't like the charging and headphone sockets being on the bottom edge of the device, but those are petty quibbles. Overall it's nothing special, but there is nothing to complain about.

HARDWARE

The Slate 7 HD has a dual-core processor, while many of its direct competitors are quad-core jobbies. Does that matter? Not in what I will term routine, normal use. Swiping from screen to screen, switching between applications, running applications such as spreadsheets and word processors, all these things the Slate 7 HD does as smoothly as my quad-core tablet, if possibly slightly less snappy. It also copes with having numerous applications open, because that's largely a matter of having enough memory available. With 1GB RAM and 16GB ROM the Slate 7 HD is adequately specified, and it has an easily-accessible micro SD card slot, something many tablets lack. Where the dual-core processor might be found wanting is when playing intensive games, and I would say that keen gamers might need more grunt, but for everyday purposes the Slate 7 HD is more than up to the job.

DISPLAY

What a lot of nonsense is talked about screen resolutions. In truth, when comparing devices side-by-side it might be possible to say that one looks sharper than the other, but in everyday use on planet Earth it's highly likely that whatever display you're looking at will be good enough. I will only say that the Slate 7 HD's screen looks fine to me. It's sharp, with good contrast, and the colours are, err, colourful. Films (why must we now call them movies?) look great; I use MX Player for video content because Android will not play the common avi format. I copied Gravity to the tablet and it was visually stunning, although the script was still lousy. Responsiveness to touch is excellent when using a finger or stylus, so I rate it an excellent screen and I'm sure nobody will be disappointed.

A word here on file transfers. My laptop runs Windows 7, and I've found that squirting films, groovy tunes etc to various devices can be problematic if the device is set for USB file transfers. With the Slate 7 HD you'll have more joy setting USB connection (swipe down from the top left corner) to Media Device. Then, and obviously with a USB lead connected, the tablet will show in Windows Explorer as a Portable Media Player, and it's straightforward to copy files to it.

3G DATA

For what they call Datapass HP have partnered with Fogg Mobile to be able to offer mobile data. Fogg have agreements with networks in various countries, and in the UK that arrangement is with Three. 3G data is a big plus, because most of us have experienced how slow/fiddly/expensive it can be to get a WiFi internet connection when travelling around. The data allowance is 250MB per month, which is obviously not enough to download movies and TV shows but is adequate for emails, keeping up with the news, aimless browsing etc. It's possible to top-up data on a pay-as-you go basis, the cost being 4.5 Euros per GB. What it's not possible to do is exceed the allowance and run up a stonking bill, and that must be a good thing. Interestingly the Datapass app (see below) says I have almost 1GB available after some light use, so perhaps the data allowance has been increased without the fact being reflected in HP's product info yet.

Registering for the 3G service is not as easy as it should be because it requires visiting a Fogg website that didn't initially work well for me. It made me input my email address and password several times, each time looping back to the registration page and refusing to let me progress. Persistence paid off eventually, and I give you these tips:

1. Do not install the HP Datapass app before you've registered.
2. Use Chrome, not the Android browser.
3. Sign out of Google if you're signed in.
4. Switch off WiFi, you can swipe down from top right, tap on WiFi, and that will take you into Settings to select WiFi OFF.
5. In the Chrome address bar enter the web address shown on the sticker on the back of the tablet. Amazon won't let me give a web address here.
6. Create a user name, which should be your email address, and a password.
7. When you've successfully registered, you'll get a confirmation email, you can download and install the HP Datapass app from the Play store if you wish, although you don't actually need it.

When the tablet detects a Three 3G signal you'll see a Datapass notification on screen. Be aware that it can take a few moments for auto login to process. Avoid my mistake of thinking you need to manually login, you never have to do that.

Note that the Fogg SIMM, which is already fitted when you receive the Slate 7 HD, is provisioned for data only, so there is no question of making voice calls on the tablet. Similarly, it doesn't seem possible to send SMS, which I would find very useful.

Last word on 3G data. When I ordered the Slate 7 HD I already knew that Fogg was a multinational operation and had visions of motoring down to my riviera villa (if I had one) in my Bentley (ditto) with an internet connection instantly available at every stop on the way. Alas not. HP's product Q&A includes this: "HP DataPass service will only work in the country in which it was first registered." Doh! Cancel the villa and Bentley.

SOFTWARE

The Slate 7 HD has a very clean build of Android and is not encumbered with much bloatware. HP have really been as good as gold in that they only include a couple of their own apps, a file manager and an eprint utility that could be genuinely useful. Inevitably there are Google's more unwanted apps such as Hangouts, Movie Studio etc, but there is nothing really annoying, and happily not the rubbish antivirus software many tablet makers inflict on their customers.

MINUS POINTS

The Slate 7 HD seems peculiarly slow to charge. Perhaps when the battery has had a bit more use that will improve, but only time will tell.
I would not have chosen the Three network because their geographical coverage is not the best, especially in Scotland where I live. Because of the poor coverage I had to go into a nearby village to get a Three signal so I could register for the data package.
Now a moan that applies to all budget tablets. I can understand manufacturers not going to the extra expense of scratch-resistant glass screens, and I know plastic screens are far less likely to shatter, but why can't they include a screen protector that would only cost them a few cents? Of course I've ordered a couple for my Slate 7 HD, because I regard them as essential; it's just so easy to pick up scratches.

CONCLUSION

If I had to give up one of my tablets I would keep the Slate 7 HD. It's a far better tablet than the magazine reviewers - Apple fanbois every one of them - suggest, but the main reason is the 3G data access, which is the selling point that distinguishes it from the pack of similar tablets, it's the killer feature. With it I can laugh at the miserable WiFi service provided by train companies and large hotel chains, it makes the mobile device truly mobile, and it's why I rate this tablet as 5 star. How much would 24 months 3G data access cost if bought separately? It makes the Slate 7 HD terrific value for money, and I don't hesitate to recommend it. At the price, you know it makes sense.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 May 2014 08:39:41 BDT
Thankyou for taking the time to bring this great reveiw to the table (so to speak!) I found it very useful in my pursuit of a cheaper end tablet Particulary your tips

In reply to an earlier post on 18 May 2014 23:30:15 BDT
Old Timer says:
You're welcome.

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 19:38:13 BDT
Thank you for review! I purchased the tablet HP Slate 10 HD, due to this comment.

Posted on 24 Jan 2015 13:16:33 GMT
chetham says:
thank you for letting me know it is 3g i can check coverage for my lake district caravan where i have ee /virgin ok pearl
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