Windows 8 – Tablet Review: HP Slate 500

When it comes to tablets, HP hasn’t exactly done very well as of yet.

With WebOS all but dead as an OS, HP has now turned its attention to future Windows 8 tablets.

Will this move make any real difference? It is too early to call, I suppose.

Beyond HP’s WebOS-based tablet though, they did offer a lesser-known Windows 7-based tablet called the Slate 500.

So is the Slate 500 a worthy chose for those looking for a Window solution? Let’s take a look, starting with system specifications:

  • 8.9-inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600
  • 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 Processor
  • 64GB SSD
  • 1 USB 2.0 Port
  • Weight: 1.72 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.21x.58×5.91-inches
  • 5 hours of normal battery use

The HP Slate 500 is surprisingly different from many of the other options we’ve reviewed at our site before. First off, it is actually a light-weight, smaller screen unit at just a little under 2 pounds. The Slate 500 feels comfortable in your hands and works perfectly if you are looking for a productivity device that also doesn’t fall short for other uses like e-reading.

Design-wise, it isn’t perhaps as polished looking as competitors like the iPad, but it has a very business-centric design that seems to fit the bill for a Windows device.

On the software side, there isn’t really anything special worth focusing on. HP ships the unit without any kind of customized software and so the Windows 7 experience is probably one of the weakest you’ll find on a tablet.

Of course this really won’t matter that much if you end up using Windows 8 Beta or Final on your machine.

You are probably already thinking, “wait, you said the resolution is 1024×600, but the absolute minimum is 1024×768 for Metro UI to work”. This is true, but luckily there are work arounds.

Following a simple registry hack you can add resolutions such as 1024×768.

The hack is designed for Windows 7 but has been tested to work just fine with Windows 8 and Metro. Sure, you won’t really have 1024×768, but Metro UI will think so and still function, maybe not perfectly but at least functionally enough for using Metro apps.

This might not be the perfect solution, but it is effective and doesn’t look bad at all.

Okay, now on to my favorite part: the hardware. Nothing too special with HP’s slate as it is a basic Atom machine, has an SD card slot, front-facing VGA camera, rear-facing 3MP camera, and other features that aren’t exactly bad but neither are they extraordinary.

Overall, the tablet provides a passable experience for tablet users looking for something that can handle basics like office, but due to its Atom base, you really shouldn’t expect too much.

Summing it up, HP’s Windows 7 offering is a good choice if you want a basic machine for testing Windows 8 and having a relatively basic tablet experience. Ironically, the machine was built with the professional in mind, but I wager it would be much more comfortable as a casual machine for light productivity uses.

The best part is that at Amazon you can get it used for as little as $439.99, refurbished for $524.49, and even new it is only $789.

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