If you add the word EXTREME to the end of a product name, does it make it 10% more awesome or 25% more? HP clearly hopes consumers will focus on the EXTREME in the HP Slate7 Extreme rather than the Slate7 bit.
After all, the first Slate7, which came out earlier this year, was pretty meh. Bad screen, clunky design, and let’s not talk about performance. (If you want the full deets, check out my review at Digital Trends.)
Now HP is all in on the Android tablet game. Of the four announced today, the new Slate7 Extreme is the most interesting… and EXTREME… even if it’s basically just HP’s version of the new NVIDIA Tegra Note.
Looks like HP learned it’s lesson and has stopped equipping Android tablets with sub-par internals. The Slate7EX comes with a Tegra 4 chip, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. While the 7-inch, 1280 x 800 display isn’t the most pixel dense ever, it’s still respectable for a small tablet. The basics here are good. So what makes the tablet extreme? Two things.
First, this Slate comes with a stylus that lives in a little port on the bottom until needed.
As you can see the pen has a fine tip, but it is not a digitized stylus as you’ll find on the Samsung Galaxy Note series or Lenovo pen-enabled tablets and laptops. The pen does offer some palm rejection and pressure sensitivity.
It’s halfway between traditional capacitive and digitized styli. This could be the best of both worlds in that regard–you get the functionality of an active pen without the high price of the technology that goes into it. HP hasn’t released pricing on the Slate7EX yet, but it appears the company is trying to keep costs low.
Another neat thing about the stylus is that it’s double-tipped. On the other end is a wide, flat wedge tip that can be used to draw fat lines or other width lines (kind of like a stub nib on a fountain pen).
In the included pen apps there is also a setting to use that end as an eraser. At launch there will only be two pen-specific apps loaded; one for notes and one for drawing. HP is working with developers to create more that work with the tablet’s SDK.
I didn’t find the stylus as easy to write with as digitized pens, but that could be due to the apps and tablet not being full production yet.
The pen glided across the screen well and balanced nicely in the hand for something so small and thin. Pressure sensitivity did work, though the resulting lines were only a little bit thicker or thinner, not the wider range I’ve seen on other tablets.
Palm rejection did work well. It will be interesting to see how the final production units compare to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.
The second thing HP thinks makes this tablet extreme is it’s gaming prowess. With an Nvidia Tegra 4 chip inside it’s bound to be great for Android games. The Slate has a mini HDMI out port, so you can hook it up to a big screen TV.
Plus, HP will have some gaming accessories available (possibly via a bundle) for the Slate7, including Bluetooth game controllers. The company is going to tout the tablet as a console alternative, which could work for some families. Young kids might be cool with this setup but older kids will probably balk at this over a Playstation or Xbox. Still, it is nice to play Android games on a bigger display.
Aside from games, this tablet should be a nice little media player. The speakers face front, the display has good viewing angles, and there will be some audio enhancements on the backend. It should be nice for watching video, at least.
Aside from micro HDMI there’s a microUSB port and a microSD card slot that takes cards up to 32GB. The Slate7 Extreme will ship with Android 4.2.
HP isn’t talking about price just yet, and the release date is slated for November (which is cutting the holidays a little close). I’m curious, how much would you pay for an EXTREME tablet like this?
Editor’s note: About $199? — Brad
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