HP TouchPad Review: How does it stack up?

By Dan Seifert on July 20, 2011, 4:15 AM

The TouchPad is HP's first tablet effort running the webOS operating system that it acquired when it purchased Palm back in June of 2010. Many users and lovers of webOS's blend of beauty and functionality have been waiting with baited breath to see how it performs on a tablet.

While webOS has been praised by almost everyone who has touched it on a phone, it's had trouble grabbing a large chunk of the smartphone market share thanks to lackluster hardware and limited app selection.

Has HP managed to take the best of webOS and implement it on the TouchPad while avoiding the pitfalls that have plagued the platform in the past? Is the TouchPad a compelling option compared to market leader Apple's iPad 2 or the less impressive Android 3.1 Honeycomb tablets currently available?

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 24

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Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Great review, albeit disappointing. I was really excited about this one too.

Guest said:

Design-wise it just looks unattractive and fat in my opinion. Tried WebOS and loved it though.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

So basically HP single Handedly destroyed WebOS? nice...

Guest said:

The tablet today is basically a consumer device. In my opinion, for HP to succeed long term with tablets they have to become business centric. PCs succeeded by providing a basic OS (MSDOS) and an affordable base hardware platform. Then VARs OEMS and developers combined applications, hardware addons that were designed for niche businesses. Basicallly taking base system and solving a business need. That is what VARS are good at.

I'm sure we all remember MSODS in some small business running just one application that solved a business need. Eventually MS wrote Windows and expanded there reach to the consumer. Apple will continue to hold onto a LARGE lead in the consumer space. They know how to market and have a better handle on the ascthetics that appeal to the consumer market.

HP is primarily a company that has expertise in the business world. Apple had always been lacking in that world. Base WEBOS seems to be an OS that might be better suited to the business world. Bottom line: HP clear out the clutter, drop the price for VARS, etc. and let the VARS, OEMS and developers do what they do best, customize a platform for specific business problems. JUST MY OPINION.

Guest said:

It is disappointing, but HP have nobody to blame but themselves. It was obvious when the Touchpad was announced months ago that it wouldn't be competitive with the iPad 2 (thicker, and the screen is no better), and at that point HP should have done a Samsung and pulled the plug.

HP have shot themselves in the foot elsewhere. The Veer makes no sense because it is not as good as the Pre 2 and lacks a replaceable battery - a key differentiator of most Android devices and the Pre 2 over the iPhone. The Pre 3 seems to have been put back months - exactly what should have happened with the Touchpad.

webOS does seem to be the nicest of the smartphone operating systems, but HP seem to be displaying their usual ability at marketing consumer products- which is not a compliment.

Guest said:

Forgive my typos in previous comment. The battery in my Imac (running windows) wireless

keyboard was dying. It is all better now.

Guest said:

Hi, other Guest. I rather agree with your comment. However, webOS as it is at present is actually a very nice non-business phone operating system. The learning curve is far lower than with Android and the built in functions are excellent.

To develop good phones, large volume sales are needed or the prices will be such that even businesses will go elsewhere.

My own view is that HP has one chance with webOS. They need to develop a killer phone and be prepared to have a screwed up version that the US carriers will buy, as well as an unlocked version sold cheap in the Far East and Europe.

They've lost the tablet war already; Asus is ramping up the Transformer as fast as they can, so they can never be more than the third or fourth player in that market. Better to make the killer phone work really well with Android tablets.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

They've lost the tablet war already; Asus is ramping up the Transformer as fast as they can, so they can never be more than the third or fourth player in that market. Better to make the killer phone work really well with Android tablets.

I disagree with you there. The tablet war is still beginning, I don't think anyone has lost it or won it yet. Tablets are still at the stage where each successive generation is way better than the last one. They basically have a year until Windows 8 comes out.

If Windows 8 is a success in integrating desktops and tablets, then companies outside of Apple will have a hard time competing. But if it fails, then the market will still be wide open. If they come out with a really good tablet a year from now, and if they aggressively bundle WebOS with their desktops and laptops, they may have a shot.

But they're going to have to either cut the costs, or offer superior hardware. They cannot expect to succeed by marketing a first gen product at second gen prices.

Guest said:

WebOS is so underrated. It is one of the most intuitive and sexiest os's there are. But when I had the tablet, it was so slow, it drove me mad. Hopefully they fix it in software updates, but it taking 10-15seconds for mail app to open? No thanks.

Guest said:

I'm a former iPad2 user that went Touchpad. I've been reading HP Touchpad reviews for nearly 3 weeks and believe that many of them are redundant and misleading. To really see the value of this device I would suggest using it for 30 days. You can still return the device within this time period and get a refund if you are not happy (at least in the US as far as I know).

I would suggest looking at the big picture on how you will utilize a tablet into your lifestyle. If it's just games, movies and simple operations then I would recommend a snappier iPad2. But, if you are a busy person, always trying to juggle many tasks and need a dynamic device, the Touchpad won't disappoint. There are just way too many features (I can name over 20) that the Touchpad can do or does better than the iPad2. I can prove it in an analytic way too because I'm formerly a production control analyst.

ragreeen2646 said:

If MS comes out with something good, I suspect it will be something the business community will be greatly intrigued with. Since it is something they know and are familiar with, and if hardware vendors

offer good business discounts then Windows tablets will probably be the choice of businesses.

before semi-retirement, I worked as a consultant for 25 years for DEC-Compaq-HP, so I naturally

look at new technology from a business point of view versus the consumer end.

Guest said:

Actually Palm has screwed the Hardware from day one. There's nothing wrong with WebOS other than some optimizing for v3 and some proper hardware. If HP would just LISTEN to the WebOS community!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

I'm a former iPad2 user that went Touchpad. I've been reading HP Touchpad reviews for nearly 3 weeks and believe that many of them are redundant and misleading. To really see the value of this device I would suggest using it for 30 days. You can still return the device within this time period and get a refund if you are not happy (at least in the US as far as I know).

I would suggest looking at the big picture on how you will utilize a tablet into your lifestyle. If it's just games, movies and simple operations then I would recommend a snappier iPad2. But, if you are a busy person, always trying to juggle many tasks and need a dynamic device, the Touchpad won't disappoint. There are just way too many features (I can name over 20) that the Touchpad can do or does better than the iPad2. I can prove it in an analytic way too because I'm formerly a production control analyst.

Would you mind listing some? I'm not being facetious, I own a Pre, and I really like WebOS. Most of the reviews I've read have been very negative, or at best compare the Touchpad to the iPad 1.0. Since by all accounts the Touchpad doesn't hold a candle to iPad 2, I'm curious where it stacks up from your experience.

Guest said:

FIRST OF ALL I'm not a fanboy, I like good devices. I'm formerly a production control analyst and Six Sigma Certified. Currently I own two business in which I use a lot of the latest tablets to make my day run soother.

22 THINGS THE HP TOUCHPAD CAN DO THAT MY IPAD2 CANNOT DO OR DOES IT BETTER. Remember I've been using iPads vigorously for about a year.

1. Multitasking - swipes instead of double clicking pin-pointing the little 'x' to close an app.

2. Just type - iPad2 does not have

3. Keyboard - Numbers on top and adjustable to 4 different sizes.

4. Email - very close match up but viewing multiple accounts edges to Touchpad

5. Facebook - if compared to "Friendly" Facebook app for iPad2, Friendly still loads too slow and has bugs. HP Touchpad Facebook application seems to be incomplete but browsing is more dynamic than any other FB app including comparison to Android 2.2 versions.

6. Synergy - I recently had a conversation with an IT security contractor and complained that email synchronization was horrible for his iPad2. Mainly because of lack of instructions for to sync multiple accounts. HP Touchpad is fairly simple once a WebOs account is created.

7. Calendar - The native app on the iPad2 are tiny little buttons on the bottom, you can't swipe horizontally in most views. The Touchpad calendar currently lags on swipes and loading data but overall the user interface seems to be more intuitive. I'm hoping for an update that will make the calendar more snappy as they did with the Palm Pre 2 years ago.

8. Runs and Renders Flash - Well, we know that story with Apple. Samsung seems to be the best at this time though.

9. YouTube directly - I believe this is a subjective feature because i like to have all features available on my tablet and with that said, you can only do that on the HP Touchpad. Galaxy Tab close second, but still renders an incomplete page.

10. Phone calls without data plan via bluetooth HP ,Palm phone - This is exclusively a feature if you own a Palm Pre, Pre2 and all the other WebOs phones. You can call and answer phone calls from your Touchpad if within bluetooth range. For me it worked from 60 feet away.

11. 50 GB free cloud storage - Apple is not offering this incentive

12. Kindle - iPad2 cannot do without a 3rd party app

13. Skype - iPad2 seems to only support Facetime (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure there are apps)

14. SMS/IM - Native application on the Touchpad, iPad2 I believe you need to find 3rd party.

15. Citrix server integration - iPad 2 cannot

16. Connectivity to WiFi - Possible subjective, but I'm experience faster connectivity to WiFi than I

did with my iPad 2 at almost every location.

17. Auto suggest/Text Assist - Touchpad has text assist settings where you can teach it new words, couldn't find this feature on the iPad2. It does make better word suggestions

18. Beats audio, music sounds better - Touchpad has Two stereo speakers vs 1 speaker iPad2.

19. Pivot app magazine - This magazine really helps consumers do research on applications.

20. Notifications - Touchpad has them conveniently on top without interruption.

21. Live chat support - I used live chat last week to discuss SMS. Currently does not work on old webos phones.

22. Can be used as a storage drive - This is a great feature that deserves acknowledgement! Just drag over any file over in USB mode and you've stored it.

5 THINGS THE IPAD2 CAN DO (has) THAT MY HP TOUCHPAD CANNOT DO OR DOES IT BETTER

1. More APPS

2. More consistent performance

3. Rear camera

4. It's thinner

5. Battery life

-- Sent from my HP TouchPad

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I actually just got back from Best Buy and played around with the Touchpad for a few minutes. I liked it. It certainly kept all the familiar features that I like on my Pre, and it was pretty fast, at least all the apps that I loaded up. Internet was good too.

That's good info, thanks for the post Guest.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

oh yea well my iPad has an apple on it.

--

Sent from my iPad

Guest said:

It has potential, they just need to throw a whole bunch of software engineers and optimize the hell out of that OS.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

HP's really behind on this one, but it will only improve. They've made a seemingly 'competent' tablet so now they just need to work on the finer points... I think the important thing here was probably getting Web OS out and working (well) on their hardware.

It can always be made thinner, lighter, faster and more feature filled later on. By the time the next iteration comes out though, will HP fall even further behind? I hope they dump the necessary effort and money into this one because Apple could definitely use some more competition in their price range.

Guest said:

As a student, reading up on these reviews are definitely helpful.

I think the mostly negative reviews were no help to me because I haven't a clue what any of it means other than the fact that HP probably already knows all of the things that could be worked on.

The couple of positive reviews have swayed me to get the HP Touchpad. There are biased reviews and obviously some people do favor other tablets and some just like to stick with what they know works for them. That's life though.

I may not be a tech guru or know what I'm talking about but I found value in the GUEST who posted his positive feedback and his list of why he felt it was better. Thanks for your time in typing that out, Guest! I am going to oder me one this week! It has a rebate til first week of August, and 15% off accessories on the HP site!

Guest said:

After reading all the above reviews, I made up my mind to go for it. Now I am a proud owner of TouchPad. I find no reason to believe I made a wrong decision. Thanks to the GUEST who provided the list of 22 features that iPad lags.

Regarding the weight, TouchPad seems to be a bit bulkier but when I compare with what I get in return, I can always ignore the weight. Remember the days when we wore sleek Japanese digital watches. Now I am wearing a much bulkier chronological wrist watch that is 5 times heavier. Time changes and so have we.

Nothing remains constant..........

Guest said:

I have owned the touchpad for a week now and I have to say that I absolutely love it. It feels like it acts as an extension of myself, the WebOS is very intuitive. The speed in which the internet downloads is amazing. I own a top of the line 17" dual core Toshiba laptop and the touchpad blows it away when loading webpages. I've used the IPad and Itouch and I find that WebOS is totally superior. I have read many reviews and I have come to the conclusion that negative reviews must come from pro IPad people. I have recommended this to everyone I know. The app catalog is getting new apps daily, it won't be long where any app you can think about will be available. I give the touchpad 5 out of 5 stars!

Guest said:

..and according to news sources, HP is all but abandoning it now.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405311190359690457651
403053718850.html?ru=yahoo&mod=yahoo_hs

Guest said:

i love my TouchPad. I was converted when I scooped a 32 on the fire sale. Loaded my music, pix, kindle books, Cloud, email accts and Skype contacts. I also purchased most of the accessories, keyboard, case, stylus, film protector sheets. I am a 70 yr old Gramma and my young kin are jealous. Cant' wait for the Droid acquisition

Guest said:

do you still love it???

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