IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

HP Pro Slate 8 review

HP’s business Android tablet is no Galaxy Note knock-off

  • Lightweight; Good battery life; Hardware-accelerated encryption; Good quality screen
  • Stylus features need work; Encryption not on by default

While all eyes are on HP's upcoming split into two separate companies, the consumer-focussed HP Inc and the plainly-named Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the old HP continues to release new products. Given this context, you'd be forgiven for thinking that HP would be treading water or coasting with its Pro Slate 8 Android tablet. Or that, with its stylus and note-taking features, this 8in mini tablet would be a mere imitation of Samsung's Galaxy Note range. That couldn't be further from the truth.

HP Pro Slate 8: casing

A lot of tablets aimed at the enterprise tend to be plain-looking, but the Pro Slate 8 looks far classier. From the front it looks like a super-sized HTC One M9 with its shiny metal rim and large speakers at the top and bottom of the screen (in portrait orientation). Despite the narrow bezels on the left and right hand sides of the screen (again, in portrait orientation), we found it was reasonably easy to avoid inadvertently touching the screen. This was due to the raised chamfered edges which gave us a place to rest our fingertips.

The tablet's plain grey backing is sadly made out of plastic rather than metal, so it therefore bended under pressure more than we'd like. It's still reasonably sturdy though especially when compared to the alarmingly creaky Nexus 9. Still, it's lightweight at 350g making it easy to hold and use for relatively long periods of time.

HP Pro Slate 8: stylus

What really sets the Pro Slate 8 apart from the competition is its stylus. Like other tablet styli, you can use it to take notes and jot down sketches - the HP Notes and Corel Painter Mobile apps are preinstalled. The former can perform basic OCR on your handwriting and while it wasn't quite as accurate as a Livescribe, the results were still good enough to use after a little editing.

The stylus has basic pressure-sensitivity for use in Corel Mobile Painter so you should, in theory, be able to create sophisticated drawings with lines of various thickness and boldness depending on how hard you press down. In practice, the accuracy and reliability of this feature left much to be desired. It sometimes misread how much pressure we were applying with the stylus, leading to missed strokes or lines that were darker and thicker, or lighter and narrower, than we intended. It's good enough for rough sketches, but little else.

An optional fake-leather folio holds both the tablet and a standard notepad together so you can use the mirrored feature on the go

The Pro Slate 8's stylus-related features don't stop there. Instead of writing directly onto the screen, you could use mirroring mode instead. Whatever you write or draw onto a piece of paper will be automatically copied, in real time, into the HP Notes app. It looks very futuristic, but it's very rough around the edges. The accuracy of both OCR'd text and of captured drawings was far worse compared to using the stylus traditionally. You can, of course, save your mirrored notes as mere static bitmap images, but this is less useful compared to having digitised, searchable text.

HP Pro Slate 8: encryption and MDM

Unlike many other Android devices, the Pro Slate 8 supports hardware-accelerated encryption. Annoyingly, this isn't enabled by default and the tablet won't even begin the process unless it's plugged into a charger. It'd be far more preferable, from a security standpoint, if encryption were enabled by default.

For SMBs, HP is pushing its own Touchpoint Manager mobile device management service. This cloud-based service allows administrators to remotely lock and locate lost or stolen tablets as well as reset passwords and enforce security policies. It's not confined to the Pro Slate 8 either - it also works with devices running Windows, Android 4.0.3 Jelly Bean or later and iOS 7 or later. It costs 7 per user per month, with a far more spartan and therefore considerably less useful Basic service at 1.60 per user per month. You can, of course, use your own MDM service if you already have one in place.

HP Pro Slate 8: battery life and performance

The HP Pro Slate 8 isn't just relying on its good looks and business-specific features for its appeal. Its battery lasted just over 12 hours when playing H.264 video on a loop which is very good for a mini tablet. The only similarly sized tablet we've seen that can last longer is the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact which managed 19 hours in the same test.

Performance was good too. Although the quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor is no longer the bleeding edge state of the art, with 64-bit processors from Qualcomm as well as others now available, it's still fast. It fared well in our benchmarks and in everyday use, stuttering only when switching between lots of apps open simultaneously. We had few complaints about the responsiveness of the touchscreen - it only occasionally had trouble keeping up with our finger swipes and taps.

HP Pro Slate 8: screen, camera and Android

Like the iPad Mini 2 and Mini 3, this tablet has an 8in screen (7.9in according to HP) with a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels. This high pixel density means text looks very sharp. The screen is exceptionally bright too with accurate-looking colours, wide viewing angles and good contrast.

We weren't expecting much from the eight megapixel camera, but it turned out to be surprisingly decent. Although it wasn't able to capture very fine details, especially outdoors in overcast conditions, shots were generally well-lit, reasonably sharp and with faithfully captured colours. Low light shots weren't any good with a lot of blurry smeariness, but overall it's perfectly acceptable as a secondary fallback camera.

Although a few units in channel may still have Android 4.4 KitKat pre-installed, our fresh out of the box review unit came with Android 5.0 Lollipop instead. Thankfully, HP has resisted the urge to tamper with Android, so it's little different from Google's stock version.

HP Pro Slate 8: conclusions

The HP Pro Slate 8 is a very good Android mini tablet. Although its stylus-related features aren't quite good enough to justify its price premium over the superb Apple iPad Mini 2, it's still an excellent choice - especially if you need to deploy in-house apps that take advantage of Android's relative flexibility over iOS.


Its business features need a little more finesse, but this still is a surprisingly good Android mini tablet

OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop

Display: 7.9in 2048 x 1536 pixels

CPU: 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor

GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 330 graphics chip


Storage: 16GB

Dimensions: (WxHxD) 137 x 207 x 8mm

Weight: 350g

Featured Resources

The Total Economic Impact™ Of Turbonomic Application Resource Management for IBM Cloud® Paks

Business benefits and cost savings enabled by IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ of IBM Watson Assistant

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by Watson Assistant

Free Download

The field guide to application modernisation

Moving forward with your enterprise application portfolio

Free Download

AI for customer service

Discover the industry-leading AI platform that customers and employees want to use

Free Download


Microsoft releases 5MB Outlook Lite app for Android
Microsoft Office

Microsoft releases 5MB Outlook Lite app for Android

3 Aug 2022
Laser printers vs Inkjet

Laser printers vs Inkjet

2 Aug 2022
Best business smartphones 2022: The top handsets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more

Best business smartphones 2022: The top handsets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more

23 Jun 2022
HP Envy 6432e review: Beauty that’s only skin-deep

HP Envy 6432e review: Beauty that’s only skin-deep

27 May 2022

Most Popular

UK water supplier confirms hack by Cl0p ransomware gang

UK water supplier confirms hack by Cl0p ransomware gang

16 Aug 2022
Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security

8 Aug 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

29 Jul 2022