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Among the interesting reasons for having the existing crop of Windows 8 tablets may be the many opportunities it offers PC makers to create clever accessories. For a typical laptop, there are, Perhaps, bags and sleeves, but after getting that and perhaps a mouse, you’re just about done.
The Windows 8 tablets we’ve seen are essentially practically identical black slabs of metal, glass, and plastic, whether from Acer, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, or others. Many of these devices have even identical specs, with Intel Atom processors, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, so discovering the correct accessories is a lot more very important to differentiating from the pack.
The HP ElitePad 900 might have been at this time another slablike Windows 8 tablet, but this business-oriented system supplies the widest selection of tablet accessories we’ve seen to date, rendering it very flexible for mobile, home, and office use.
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The tablet itself starts at $699, but that only carries a 32GB SSD. Trading up to 64GB SSD to complement other Windows 8 tablets goes to $799. That’s a lot more than roughly comparable consumer tablets cost, but mobile broadband capacities from T-Mobile or AT&T are included. Some configurations also currently include 2 yrs of 4G data from T-Mobile.
The group of accessories that was included with our review unit is what really makes the ElitePad interesting. Unfortunately, the most interesting accessory — called the “productivity jacket” — isn’t yet available. It’s a keyboard case with three adjustable screen angles, an extremely nice lightweight keyboard, and expansion ports that are designed directly into the case. When available sometime this spring you will be charged $199, which is steep for a keyboard case, but that is essentially a sleeve, keyboard, and docking station in a single.
Available are an expansion jacket, with HDMI and USB ports, plus room for an optional extra battery ($79), and a weighted docking station, with multiple video and data ports ($119). Putting all three together adds almost $400 to the already expensive $799 tablet. For $1,200, you can get a 13-inch MacBook Air, Microsoft’s Core i5 Surface Pro, or for another $100, get Google’s super-high-res Pixel Chromebook. There are a large number of other worthwhile investments for the reason that price range, the main element point being that $1,200 can be an awful lot to invest on an Intel Atom/2GB RAM/64GB SSD tablet with a 1,366×768-pixel display.
There is, however, a justification because of this hefty investment. HP created the ElitePad 900 for business customers, not the everyday consumers who might buy among the many $500-$600 Atom Windows 8 tablets we’ve previously reviewed. The ElitePad is made with corporate IT department needs at heart, with support for various managed deployment technologies, such as for example HP BIOS Protection and LANDesk. Also compared to that end, the tablet itself lacks a good USB port — for security reasons, all ports are relegated to the docks and case accessories (a SIM card and microSD card slot are under a little pin-open panel). That’s something to bear in mind if you want on-the-go connectivity. Remember that NFC is made in, but has yet to become mainstream data transfer tool.
A lot of HP’s business-focused products, such as for example its early ultrabooks, make great crossover PCs and also have a whole lot of consumer appeal. The ElitePad probably isn’t among those, as its high price and security quirks aren’t as consumer-friendly as much of the other Intel Atom windows 8 tablets we’ve reviewed.
Design and features
This might come as a lttle bit of a surprise, but using the slate the main ElitePad 900 ecosystem looks virtually like almost every other Atom-powered Windows 8 tablet we’ve seen up to now. In the hand, however, the construction sticks out, with a one-piece aluminum body and a Gorilla Glass screen.
As the dimensions look similar to those of tablets from Acer, Asus, Dell, and others, a concession to the organization user is a screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio, instead of the more prevalent 16:9 within most laptops and tablets; this ratio offers you a bit more vertical resolution. The 1,280×800-pixel resolution is equivalent to what you’d find on a non-Retina Display 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the screen is bright, with decent off-axis viewing, and is quite attentive to finger input.
I came across myself using the ElitePad frequently in its productivity jacket, with a full keyboard and USB/SD card connections. Such as a heavy-duty iPad keyboard case, the jacket adds weight and size to the machine, so that it is feel similar to a chunky ultraportable notebook computer — although of them costing only 1.3 pounds alone, the tablet is quite light. The stiff hinge on the keyboard case keeps the screen from slipping, but also helps it be almost impossible to use with one hand. It slots into three screen angles, however the screen may well not tilt back far enough for your tastes.
The flat-topped island-style keyboard included in the case is really as good as the very best iPad keyboard cases, and reminds me of the wonderful keyboard case for Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet, but included in a much thicker base.
So far, so excellent. But, here’s where in fact the ElitePad and its own keyboard case come across trouble. THE TOP Pro keyboard cover includes a tiny but functional touch pad. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 has a tiny pointing stick included in its optional keyboard dock. However the ElitePad keyboard is merely a keyboard — there is no cursor control offered by all, apart from directly using the touchscreen.
Sure, Windows 8 was created to be operated directly by the finger-on-screen method, so when the ElitePad 900 can be used as an in-hand slate, it’s fine. However when create on a desk, in either the keyboard jacket or on the docking station, the system’s productivity potential shrinks. You merely solution is to hook up another mouse or other pointing device. I actually paired the keyboard case with Logitech’s T650 standalone touch pad and were left with an extremely usable combination. But HP doesn’t walk out its way to advise a touch pad and even mouse pairing.
The expansion jacket is similar to a protective sleeve, but includes HDMI and Sdcard ports, plus two USB ports. There’s a compartment inside for a not-yet-available extra battery, so that it is feel just like an oversize version of an iPhone battery case. The docking station may be the most familiar of the accessories, and includes both HDMI and VGA outputs in addition to an Ethernet jack. Dongles that hook up right to the tablet and provide Ethernet, Sdcard, USB, and video connections can be purchased separately for $29 to $39 each.
Connections, performance, and battery
Trying to hook up with the ElitePad 900 could be easy or difficult, according to your approach. The tablet itself does not have any easy to get at ports, but if you work with among the accessory jackets or the dock, you then have a reasonable group of connections. The individually sold dongles are annoying — no person really wants to walk around with a pocket packed with those. The tablet has dual cameras, an 8MP one on the trunk and a typical 1080p Webcam inside.
Every available EliteBook configuration gets the same 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z2760 GPU and 2GB of RAM, with the key variations being the 32- or 64GB SSD and different mobile broadband options. All of this signifies that the system’s performance is predictably much like other Atom-powered Windows 8 tablets we’ve tested, a few of which are expensive less.
Unfortunately, if you’re relying on the ElitePad as a workplace machine, we must hold it to an increased standard than a everyday consumer PC. Which means the Intel Atom experience can frankly be sluggish, particularly if you’re using apps, such as for example Google’s Chrome Browser, that aren’t optimized aswell for Windows 8/Atom as Microsoft’s default software (IE10, for instance). That, in conjunction with the tiny screen and relatively low resolution, made using the ElitePad fine in a nutshell bursts, however, not as an all-day (and even all-afternoon) PC.
Battery life was proficient at first glance, running for 7 hours, a quarter-hour inside our video playback battery drain test. But, taking into consideration the battery life we’ve observed in various other Atom tablets, that may run 90 minutes longer or even more, there’s room for improvement. Our expansion jacket didn’t are the optional additional battery power, so we were not able to check both batteries together.