Sunday, April 29, 2012

HP TouchPad Review

I've had my HP TouchPad for almost 1 year now and people have asked me what I thought about it and why I haven't written anything on it

I wasn't planning on getting an HP TouchPad when it first came out. After it came out for a few months, because of the dismal sales, HP decided to abandon the product and sell it at a huge discount ($99.99 for the base 16GB model compared with the original price of ~$499.99 for the same unit).

Even though it quickly sold out in stores across Canada and the US when HP discontinued the product and slashed the price to $99.99 for the 16GB unit, a friend of mine who worked for HP managed to get me one. From what I know, they were allowed to purchase 2 at the heavily discounted/discontinued price.

As of the date of this blog entry, the current firmware/OS on the HP TouchPad is v3.0.5. The tablet runs HP's webOS (which they purchased/got when they purchased Palm).

For me, the price that I paid for the HP TouchPad is probably the highest price that I would pay for it considering that there is very little application support/products for this tablet. I use this tablet mainly for quick browsing to check various news stories, check my e-mail, get PDA (calendar/contact) information, and read my PDF documents.

One of the things that I like about this tablet is that it supports Flash videos so I am able to watch videos from various news sites (CBC, CTV, etc.) on it. It also plays YouTube videos very well.

One of the things that I don't really like about this tablet is that the included Maps program is Bing maps and not Google maps. Google Maps does work on the tablet but this is obtained using the browsing experience and not a separate application. The tablet does support Google synchronization for contacts, calendar, and Gmail which I find to be very useful since I store my contacts and calendar items using Google and it synchronizes across my various gadgets (Android phone, iPhone, Blackberry, & Android tablet).

I find the battery life to be okay and based on my usage, I need to recharge it every 2 days or so. As I mentioned, most of what I use it for is to verify my e-mail, check my Facebook account (maybe update the status using it), get PDA information, and read my PDF documents.

The HP TouchPad charges using a standard microUSB cable but this cable must be plugged into a special adapter (roughly the size of a D-type consumer battery). The HP TouchPad won't charge by plugging it into most standard USB chargers that I've tried.

About 2 months after I purchased the HP TouchPad, I hacked it to increase the speed (overclock it) and disable some features that made my HP TouchPad seem snappier. However, earlier this year, I decided to revert back to using it non-hacked since I has having problems updating the firmware/OS.

I am currently considering putting Android on my HP TouchPad. There is a lot of information/instructions on the internet on how to do this and as long as it is stable and most of the HP TouchPad's hardware (Wi-Fi, speakers, etc.) still works properly, I would prefer using an Android device over a webOS device mainly due to the lack of 3rd party applications.

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