HP TouchPad Review Roundup: Could Do Better

The HP TouchPad tablet device, which HP has extremely high hopes for, will see a release tomorrow on July 1 and we’ve been bringing you plenty of news and also speculation about this webOS tablet, along with the price. As the first reviews have started to appear we thought it might be useful for our readers if we took a good look to give you an HP TouchPad review roundup, although it looks as though overall the verdict might be ‘could do better.’

Many have wondered if the TouchPad could be a genuine rival to the iPad 2 and we’ll give you a brief recap of TouchPad specs. It features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, NFC capability and also a 1.3-megapixel camera for video chat although we’ve previously noted the rather odd lack of a rear camera which most of us expect these days. It also has a 9.7-inch XGA multitouch display. The first review we looked comes from the inimitable Engadget and is by Tim Stevens.

As you expect from an Engadget review this is hugely comprehensive and looks at everything you can think of starting with the hardware, performance and battery, display and audio, software, Touch to Share and Pre 3 compatibility, camera and even accessories. One of the most interesting aspects about the TouchPad will be its ability to exchange contact and messaging by synching it over Bluetooth with the Pre 3 when it arrives. For instance if you get a call to your Pre 3 you’ll be able to answer it with your TouchPad, although we’re not quite sure why you’d want to! Alternatively instead of texting on a small phone keyboard, tap it out on the TouchPad instead for ease.

Touch to Share is a great feature and pretty nifty, enabling the user to literally touch one device against another to transfer a webpage or a URL for example. Overall though the verdict for the TouhPad was a little disappointing after such high hopes, as it was felt that it didn’t live up to expectations. This reminded us of the reviews for the Motorola Xoom which promised much but was felt by many reviewers to feel unready. Shortage of apps was one problem but the hardware was also said to be disappointing and performance was not everything it could be. So not a great start for the TouchPad.

On to the next review by Mark Spoonauer over on Laptop, another very detailed look at the HP TouchPad. Straight away we noted a rating had been given of 2.5 out of 5 stars awarded so it’s not looking too promising. Spoonauer noted that the features of the TouchPad and the “slick interface” make the TouchPad seem like it would be pretty good initially. However by the end of the review it came in for similar criticism as the Engadget review, as it was said to feel unfinished. There were pros including the interface, Beats Audio speakers, integrated Skype and the webOS phone compatibility among them. Cons though included the performance being sluggish and buggy, heavy design, lack of apps selection, poor battery life and more. Looking at the whole picture it was concluded that the HP TouchPad would be a “tough sell” especially against lighter and slimmer tablets such as the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Finally we took a look at a review on Cnet by Donald Bell who gave the TouchPad a 3.5 out of 5 star rating, so a little better this time. Again the Palm WebOS interface got the thumbs up along with Beats Audio, flash-enabled web browsing and third-party compatibility for messaging, email and calendar services. Drawbacks though were the heavy design, lack of rear camera and HD video and limited apps. In conclusion Bell felt that the TouchPad’s performance, features and design, all put it behind other tablets available at the moment.

We have a suspicion then that HP will be rather disappointed looking at the first reviews for the TouchPad come in. Overwhelmingly the feeling seemed to be that the reviewers really wanted to like the TouchPad and like it a lot, but that there were just too many areas where it felt lacking. What are your thoughts on the TouchPad reviews? Would you still think about purchasing the TouchPad or maybe you’ve decided to head for another tablet instead? Let us know with your comments.

  • Natalie Morgan-Bradford

    I did buy this tablet and pre-ordered it, but was immediately let down for the bugness/sluggishness. quite frankly its also boring. So it goes back 1st thing Tuesday. Now I got my eyes set on the Toshiba Thrive…Looks like a winner.

    • sillykittycat

      Yes, I agree completely, it was a real letdown for me as well!