[First impressions] HP Slate6 VoiceTab: HP’s new ‘voice-enabled tablet’

HP Slate 6
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ASUS ZenBook 13 14

The last real mobile device from HP was the HP Pre 3 in 2011, one of a handful of products from the Palm and WebOS acquisition. Early this year at the 2014 Mobile World Congress (MWC) however, the US tech giant announced two mobile products to mark its return into the mobile segment – the HP Slate7 VoiceTab and HP Slate6 VoiceTab. The two mid-rangers are targeted at the Asian and Japanese market, a tentative if calculated first step. I’ve had the HP Slate6 Tab for a couple of weeks, launched with Malaysian MVNO RedOne.

HP Slate 6
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A good-looker, but is it enough?

If you’ve seen the unboxing pics, the overall impression based on looks alone is positive. At a glance you’ll see characteristics of the Samsung GALAXY Mega, HTC One and perhaps even the BlackBerry Z30 in there. Being a six-incher it’s a big device, but thanks to its scant 160g weight and thin side profile (8.6mm depth), it’s slightly more portable.

Build and material quality is average, with the flashy carbon fibre-ish back cover possibly the best aspect of the device in the cosmetics department.

So, a mid-range ‘phablet’ from HP, which they rather label ‘voice-enabled tablet’. Regardless, the current mid-range market is a highly competitive one, thanks to the bar being set high with phones like the class-leading Moto G, Huawei Honor 3C, ASUS ZenFone series and Xiaomi Redmi. Cheap and good, redefined.

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On paper, at least, the Slate6 looks to impress – a quad-core 1.2Ghz Marvell PXA1088 with a Vivante GC1000 GPU and 1GB RAM. A dual-SIM phone that supports 2G GSM and 3G/HSPA, the Slate6 packs a 6-inch HD IPS display (245PPI), 16GB storage and 5MP autofocus main camera and 2MP secondary camera.

The Slate6 runs plain vanilla Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which I really like. No fancy custom UI, but perhaps that’s a good thing. Bloatware is kept to a minimum, apart from a few HP utilities including HP e-Print, HP File Manager, HP Connected as well as productivity suite Kingsoft Office.

In terms of realworld performance, the Marvell SoC comes off as average. Honestly, I expected more. The Marvell isn’t commonly found like a Snapdragon or the increasingly-popular MediaTek SoCs, but rather “underwhelming” to put it mildly. More in the full review.

Some good bits though, is the big 3,000mAh battery that gives it a consistent 13-14 hours of use daily and the additional 25GB of cloud storage from Box, and the RM120 rebate from RedONE if you sign up for a RM58 plan.

Full specs at hp.com.my/slate6.

Pricing and availability

The HP Slate6 VoiceTab retails at RM999 and is available sans contract from HP Online Store. www.hpshopping.my. Get a unit for RM879 with a redONE RM58 plan. Full rates and more info at www.redone.com.my

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Stay tuned for a full review.

ASUS ZenBook 13 14
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