HP TouchPad review

The TouchPad, HP's webOS-based tablet, is finally here. Does it have what it takes to take on all the other tablets out there or is it already a has-been? Chris Finnamore flexes his fingers and finds out in our review.

Another example of HP's webOS tablets and smartphones working together is the ability to pair a TouchPad and a Pre 3 together using Bluetooth. The TouchPad can then be used to view and reply to texts and emails received on the phone. According to an HP spokesperson this feature will only work with the Pre 3 and wouldn't be drawn on when or if it will be available on previous Pre phones.

Oddly, while WiFi is built-in, 3G is not. A 3G-equipped version of the TouchPad is due out in the US later this summer. Another unusual omission is the absence of any sort of video-out port for connecting a projector or TV which will disappoint presentation givers.

We were impressed with one of the TouchPad's chief advantages over the iPad its Flash support.

You can always use the web browser to open Google Docs word processing documents and spreadsheets we found we could edit smaller text documents, but large spreadsheets were a bit too much for the TouchPad's 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM to cope with.

Otherwise, the web browser dealt fine with almost anything we threw at it. Graphics-heavy pages loaded quickly and were easy to navigate with smooth scrolling, and we were impressed with one of the TouchPad's chief advantages over the iPad its Flash support. Instead of sad boxes showing plugin errors, web sites let us click on embedded video and audio content, and sites encoded entirely in Flash worked beautifully. Having the entire web at our fingertips made browsing a more rewarding experience than on the iPad, and web pages looked great on the TouchPad's vibrant 9.7-inch, 1,024x768-pixel display.

There's a forward-facing 1.3 megapixel webcam for video conferencing, but there's no corresponding rear-facing camera which is unusual for a tablet. Although it's highly unlikely most people will use a tablet for taking photos, a rear-facing camera would still have been useful for showing the other video caller what you're looking at.