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HP overreaches and underdelivers with the SlateBook x2

Armando Rodriguez | Aug. 27, 2013
It's a tablet, it's a laptop, it's a disappointment any way you use it.

Speaking of ports: Aside from the aforementioned USB port, the SlateBook has a MicroSD card slot, a full-size SD card slot, and a full-size HDMI port. The MicroSD and SD slots each support memory cards with a capacity of 32GB, so theoretically you could augment the 16GB of on-board storage with an additional 64GB of memory.

Since the tablet does most of the computing, the SlateBook is top-heavy and will tip over if you angle the screen too far back. The hinge on the dock is really rigid, and you need two hands to open the SlateBook to a usable position. Shaking the SlateBook slightly causes the screen to wobble, something you usually encounter only on cheap netbooks.

It'll bring your world crashing down
Powered by a quad-core 1.8GHz Tegra 4 processor and 2GB of RAM, the SlateBook doesn't come close to matching the processing power of other laptop/tablet hybrids such as the Surface Pro or Lenovo ThinkPad Helix. But while those competing devices run a desktop-centric operating system, the SlateBook ships with the more finger-friendly Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. You may not be able to run the full versions of Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, but you do have access to a large number of touch-optimized apps that perform similar functions. Granted, very few of the apps you run across will be optimized to take advantage of the SlateBook's 10-inch display, but you should have no shortage of software to choose from.

The SlateBook's beefy processor has enough power to run almost anything in the Google Play Store, and I managed to play a few high-end games such as Shadowgun and Riptide GP2 without encountering any problems. I did, however, have difficulty using pretty much every other app that came preinstalled on the device: Google Magazines, the Play Store, Gmail, Skitch, and YouTube all crashed multiple times for no discernible reason. It seemed to happen only while the tablet was docked, leading me to suspect that the apps all had compatibility issues with the dock in particular. Because the SlateBook is a niche device and not, say, a superpopular smartphone, these compatibility problems are likely to remain unaddressed.

When the apps weren't crashing left and right, many of them benefited from the additional keyboard and mouse. Using the Chrome app felt no different than using Chrome on a traditional PC, and the included Kingsoft Office app made a passable substitute for Word and PowerPoint. (I wrote part of this review using the Kingsoft Office app on the SlateBook, but I switched back to my MacBook because the SlateBook's smaller keyboard was harder to type on.) All of the apps work fine when you use the SlateBook as just a tablet, but it seems wasteful to have a device that's realizing only half of its potential.

 

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