PRICE £191 (£229 inc VAT)
We weren’t impressed with HP’s last Android tablet
, the Slate 7, but the Slate 10 HD promises to be a much more successful design. It s a budget 10.1 in device, but with the added bonus of a low-cost 3G option. Indeed, the 3G version costs only £20 more than the £229 base model, which is great value, especially when you consider that Apple charges a £100 premium for mobile connectivity.
HP goes a step further than this, too, including in the box a data SIM credited with two years’ worth of 250MB-per-month data. If that allowance doesn’t sound
sufficient, it’s possible to extend the contract as and when required: in any given month, you can boost your data by 500MB for £7, 750MB for £9,1.75GB for £12 or 3.75GB for £14.
It’s no good offering such a great-value 3G solution if the hardware
isn’t up to scratch, but the Slate 10 HD makes a good start physically. It isn’t the slimmest tablet around, nor is it particularly light, but we like the dimpled, red plastic rear and solid build quality. Scattered around the edges of this curvaceous tablet are a micro-USB port for data transfer and charging, a 3.5mm headset jack and, beneath a plastic flap, the SIM card slot and a microSD slot for expanding the tablet’s 16GB storage.
The volume and power buttons sit on the edges of the Slate 10 HD, too – they’ve been placed on the rear of the tablet, on the curved top-right corner. This isn’t a design choice we’re keen on: you can’t see the buttons from the front, and they’re neither raised nor inset, so locating them takes a bit of fumbling.
The speakers are equally poorly situated. They sit at the bottom of the tablet, and it’s easy to block them during use.
This is a shame, since the sound quality is excellent, especially for a budget tablet: it’s both loud and full-bodied.
As with the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10, the HP has a low screen resolution — 1,280 x 800 – stretched across a 10.1 in diagonal. The resulting pixel density is a rather low 149ppi, which means that text and images are pixellated. The maximum brightness of 354cd/m2 is acceptable, but you’ll struggle to read the device in sunlight.
The contrast is good, though: a ratio of 957:1 ensures colours stand out.
The Slate 10 HD’s weakest area is performance. It sports a dual-core Marvell PXA986 processor running at 1.2GHz, which is slow compared to the likes of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in and the Nexus 7. It delivered a plodding 1,229ms in the SunSpider browser test, and lowly Geekbench 3 scores of 376 (single-core test) and 674 (multicore test). Peacekeeper returned an unremarkable score of 463, and the Slate 10 HD gave a jerky performance in the GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD test.
It’s possible to play some demanding games — such as Asphalt 8: Airborne – smoothly, but only on low detail settings. Even web browsing is too much for this tablet: there’s a delay when clicking on links; scrolling and panning are slow; and there’s lag when using the keyboard.
Battery’ life is good, however: in flight mode, with a looping low-resolution video playing, the Slate 10 HD lasted 12hrs 38mins, a score comparable to the Apple iPad Air, which achieved 12hrs 55mins.
Alas, this isn’t enough to lift the HP Slate 10 HD from the mire of mediocrity. Although it promises much, with its well-priced 3G modem and data bundle, it’s simply too slow and frustrating for us to recommend.