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.

The TouchPad is also noticeably chunky and heavy at 740g 139g more than the iPad 2.

The power of the web browser helps to offset one of the TouchPad's major shortcomings limited app support. It is, of course, early days, but even so the current count of just under 1,500 is disappointing and many of those apps are designed for lower-resolution Pre phones. Much of what you need apps for on other tablets (such as listening to internet radio) is covered by the browser's Flash support but this doesn't cover everything - as mentioned above, there are no third-party Office apps, and just one Twitter app; the unfortunately-named Spaz HD.

However, HP is keen to stress the ease of developing apps in a business environment. The company claims on its website that as webOS is 'built on standards like CSS, HTML5 and JavaScript' it's the 'ideal platform to develop your organisation's custom apps'. Custom apps don't have to appear in the App Catalog but still have to go through HP - the app developer submits the application to HP, and HP sends back a download link for the app to be accessed from the TouchPad.

Other business-friendly TouchPad functions include automatic data wipe after a certain number of failed password attempts and remote wipe of lost or stolen devices if you leave your tablet on the train you just need to log in to the webOS portal at www.hp.com and choose to lock or wipe your tablet remotely. Also, as the TouchPad's data is all backed up over the air, with the exception of media files such as music and photos, a replacement TouchPad can have its data restored automatically over the internet again, without having to plug it into anything.

So what's our verdict?


HP's TouchPad may be currently hamstrung by a lack of choice in the App Catalog, but the webOS operating system and integrated applications are so good that they go a long way towards compensating. Multitasking is handled better than on Apple and Android tablets and, document editing aside, the TouchPad feels like the first tablet we've used which can truly stand up to business use - where you have several tasks on the go and need to flick easily between them. Once there's a decent Office document editing suite in the App Catalog and some of the glitches are ironed out, particularly in the calendar, HP's TouchPad could be the tablet to beat. Until then however, we'd recommend waiting until these issues are resolved before considering a roll out. If you need to roll out a tablet now, the iPad 2 is still our top pick.

Display: 1,024x768 9.7in LCD OS: HP webOS 3.0 Camera: no rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixels forward-facing GPS: none Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 RAM: 1GB Bluetooth: v2.1 with A2DP, EDR Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n Connectivity: None Storage: 16GB Ports: 1 x microUSB2 Slots: None Dimensions: 240 x 14 x 190 mm (WxDxH) Weight: 740g Battery: Lithium Polymer 6300 mAh