Following the release of a new video displaying the features and capabilities of the upcoming HP Slate tablet PC, the specs of the device have apparently been leaked. The leaked document--acquired by Engadget--shows a head-to-head comparison of the HP Slate and the Apple iPad, but what is not on the Slate spec sheet says as much about the Slate as what is on there.
Let me start by saying that I think the HP Slate looks very impressive based on the videos that have been released, and that it seems like it's a much more natural fit as a mobile business productivity tool than the iPad. I have an Apple iPad (I am typing this article using iWork Pages for iPad), but I am seriously considering an HP Slate purchase as well when it becomes available.
I already covered the features of the HP Slate revealed by the video that look impressive and set it apart from the iPad--expandable memory, Adobe Flash, forward and rear facing cameras, etc. However, I did not explore the ways that the iPad still has an edge. The leak of more detailed specs provides an even better opportunity for a direct comparison.
• Battery life. The iPad boasts more than double the battery life of the HP Slate. The five hours of battery life is better than what you get with a standard notebook PC, and it's on par with battery performance on most netbooks, but it falls well short of the ten plus hours of battery life in the iPad.
• Instant-On. Microsoft has made improvements to the hibernate and sleep functionality in Windows 7--it saves the computer state and resumes operation much faster than previous versions of Windows. However, the HP Slate will still take a while to log in to Windows 7 Home Premium. The Apple iPad is built on the iPhone mobile OS and provides instant-on access to the device.
• Size Matters. While the two devices are virtually identical in weight at about one and a half pounds each, the HP Slate gets there with a smaller display and a thicker chassis. The Slate's display is nearly an inch smaller than the 9.7-inch screen of the iPad, and the Slate is thicker than the iPad--which already suffers in comparison to the weight and thickness of devices like the Amazon Kindle.
• Connectivity. The specs for the HP Slate show it having 802.11 B/G Wi-Fi support, but not the newer and faster 802.11 N capability. The iPad will be able to achieve much faster Wi-Fi networking speeds with an 802.11 N connection.
• Interface. When I got my first smartphone, I chose a Windows Mobile device because I wanted consistency of experience from the desktop Windows environment I was already used to. Now that I have an iPhone instead of a Windows Mobile smartphone, one of the things that impressed me about the iPad is that I appreciate the consistency of experience in reverse. The HP Slate will have a comfort factor due to using the same operating system business professionals are most familiar with, but the iPad is simple and intuitive--just like the iPhone.
• Speed. OK. This one is pure speculation. According to the specs listed, the Slate actually has a faster processor than the iPad in terms of pure clock speed. The Slate will reportedly use a 1.66Ghz Intel Atom processor, while the iPad uses a 1Ghz A4 which is an Apple proprietary processor. The Apple proprietary part may make all the difference. In the case of the Slate vs. the iPad, the internal working of the processor, and the way it handles instructions and graphics, may be more important than just the clock speed. I will be interested to see them side by side, but my guess is that Apple's 1Ghz will be snappier than Intel's 1.66Ghz.
So, there you have it. Each tablet is formidable, and each has its pros and cons. Which device is better for your needs will come down to what you intend to use it for, and simple, subjective, personal preference.
It's hard to argue with the more business-capable features of the Slate such as SD memory card and USB port expandability, and front and rear facing cameras, or even the marginally consumer-oriented features like full 1080p HD playback, and HDMI output.
I have an iPad, and I like it so far, but I am quite anxious to get my hands on an HP Slate in real life and see what it can do. Regardless of your personal preference, both tablet devices seem quite capable, and the race is on to capture the tablet market.