HP Touchpad - A Brief Review
I was lucky enough last month to pick up a shiny new HP Touchpad in their firesale after HP announced they were withdrawing from the market.
The Touchpad is a 9.7" tablet, identical to the iPad2, but my first impression was that it was noticeably heavier in the hand, weighing in at a meaty 760 grammes (to the iPad's 601g). It definitely feels like a solid piece of hardware well worth the... uhh... £90 that I paid, despite the fingerprint-accumulating plastic used in its production.
I'm unsure what I expected from a tablet: people who have bought an iPad have varyingly reported it either filling a niche in their life that they didn't even know existing, using it routinely for daily tasks for which it's a superior form factor or finding its use decline and the device ultimately start gathering dust on a shelf. I can't say that I've been using it constantly on a day to day basis, but I've definitely been using my Touchpad quite a lot. It's really nice to have an easy to use mobile device that I can use to idly browse the web (which, frankly, is what I use any leisure computer for 90% of the time) whilst also curled up on a much more comfortable chair in front of the television; or a portable (but large enough) screen to pass around and show someone an incredible lolcat. Such possibilities are endless.
To my surprise, it's even beginning to supplant my favourite device of the last five years - a Kindle - for casual use when at home. Amazon have released a Kindle app for Touchpad, so as much as the Kindle is incredible for reading Jacqueline Wilso^WWWIsaac Asimov, it's not quite as convenient for flicking over to Reddit between chapters. Just in case.
The webOS operating system is top notch, and it's a genuine shame to see that HP remains determined to kill it off. Having applications split into separate cards is a brilliant idea, and the ability to multi-task surpasses my experience with Android (though admittedly, I've not spent any time with Honeycomb tablets). Switching between, and closing, programs is intuitive and simple.
It's a shame then that the webOS app store is such as barren and devoid of content as it is. Having become accustomed to both the iOS and Android markets, it's incredible how much of what one might take for granted is missing. Obviously this is something that one would expect, given that webOS's lack of traction was the reason that HP dropped it in the first place, but the extent is surprising nonetheless. The consumer in me is disappointed.
However, it's really hard to say what apps I'm distinctly missing. As shiny and lovely as Flipboard is, it wouldn't represent a huge change in the way I use my Touchpad. The missing apps are nice to haves, rather than must haves; and the Touchpad is probably the best value £90 I've ever spent.