HP isn't a brand that typically plays in the budget space, but its upcoming Slate 7 tablet is undeniably an inexpensive option. Does that make it the best value you can get?
HP Australia has confirmed that we'll see the Slate 7 in Australia in April at a starting price of $199. Outside of random percentage-off-everything type sales, I'd be surprised to see much discounting at that price point, simply because there's so little wriggle room to actually cut the price down.
The last time HP had a tablet at that kind of price, however, it was the ill-fated Touchpad. HP's undeniably late to the Android tablet space, and there are some rather solid competitors in the small tablet space. HP may well point to its build quality or the fact that the Slate 7 is Beats Audio certified, but how do the rest of the specifications stack up? For the purposes of comparison, I've kept it within the Android ecosystem and looked at two other tablet options; Google's popular Nexus 7 and Kogan's recently announced line of budget 8" tablets.
|Brand||Price (ms)||Screen Specifications||Operating System||Processor||Storage||Estimated Battery Life||Connectivity|
|HP Slate 7||$199||7-inch 1024x600 HFFS display||Android 4.1||1.6 GHz dual-core A9 processor||8GB+MicroSD||~5 hours||802.11 b/g/n|
|Google Nexus 7||$249||7" 1280x800 216ppi IPS display||Android 4.2.2||1.3GHz Tegra 3 Quad-Core||16GB||Up to 8 hours of active use||802.11 b/g/n|
|Kogan Mini 8" Dual Core Tablet||$129||8" 1024x768 Capacitive Touchscreen||Android 4.1||Dual Core 1.6GHz||16GB+MicroSD||Not stated||802.11 b/g/n|
The specifications don't tell the entire story. If you're after just the cheapest possible tablet, the Kogan would seem the most logical bet, but then you're more likely to see fewer Android upgrades, and the lack of information on the screen or battery life is a concern. Google charges a little more for the Nexus 7, and it lacks expandable storage, but Nexus devices are always first on the block when it comes to Android updates. That puts the Slate 7 in a somewhat uncomfortable position. It's certainly inexpensive, but it's possible to get either a slightly better product for not much money, or a more basic product for a fair price cut.