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Product Review: HP Pro Slate 12 + Paper Folio

By CO Staff @canadaone |

Every so often, there comes a time when a new type of device is presented on the market, in an attempt to innovate on the everyday task of note keeping.

Each device claims to save you time and make your life more efficient. Today, the HP Pro Slate 12 tries to take a stab at this market. Does it succeed? How does it stack up against the competition?

Design

The HP Pro slate weighs in at about 850g, which is slightly heavier than competing tablets, and is substantially bigger than its sister product the HP Pro Slate 8. The back and sides are wrapped in a metal finish and the top screen is polished with a black bezel around the screen that meats seamlessly with the metal. This combination gave the device an attractive look and one that made it feel like a more professional device than some of its competitors.

Battery Life

On average, the device lasted for about 7 hours on a full charge. We found that the USB 2.0 charger provided with the tablet took over 8 hours to charge, and, after the battery had been completely drained, the device required an almost full charge before enabling a user to power it on once again.

Screen

The screen comes in with a length of 11.8 inches and a height of 8.7 inches, with a resolution of 1600 x 1200. While the resolution left a bit to be desired, it was able to reproduce bright colours and provided a good contrast to images. The glass screen has an anti-smudge coating, which helps to reduce the unsightly effect of fingerprints on the display.  The larger screen worked great for word and excel documents

Hardware

The tablet features a Snapdragon 800, a 2.3 GHz 4 core processor, 2 GB ram and about 32 GBs of solid state storage. It additionally provides an expansion slot for storage. A USB 2.0 is used to power the device, a 2 MP camera is provided at the front of the device, which is useful for video calls, and, at the rear, there exists an additional, 8 MP camera. Overall, the camera is a bit mediocre, but suffices for its intended purpose of capturing footage for use in video conferencing apps such as Skype or Google Hangouts.

Performance

The device, once powered on, allowed apps to be opened rather efficiently. HP provided a stock Android OS 5.0 on the device, along with some custom HP apps for use with the touchpoint stylus provided with the device, which can be utilized to handwrite notes, by switching out the bearing on the front of the stylus itself.

The stylus provided with the device is, somewhat, an oddity. As a standard tablet stylus, it operates very well and meets the basic expectations of a standard user of the device. However, the note-taking mode which accompanies the device, with the Paper Folio sleeve, gave rise to disappointment.

The Paper Folio sleeve acts as a case for the tablet, as well as a quick note-taking tool, which can be particularly useful in situations such as meetings. In order to utilize it, the user must navigate to a special note-taking app and select the correct stylus-operating mode. If set correctly, the tablet will detect the pen offset from the screen. The device interprets the bottom-left corner of the sheet of paper as the bottom-left corner of the screen and so on.

Although this may appear to be a particularly useful function, the practical application of the concept fell short. The tracking of the stylus was clumsy and inaccurately reproduced, from the paper to the screen the content which had been drawn. The Device sometimes, at random, reproduced text nonsensical, even if it were completely legible on paper.

In addition, the note-taking app provided by HP has no special functionality, such as translating writing to text, and does not have the ability to quickly activate the note-taking function, as do similar, competing devices, such as Microsoft's Service Pro 3, which can open OneNote with a simple click of the stylus.

 

Overall Summary

The HP Pro Slate 12, on its own merits, is a solid device. The large screen is particularly beneficial for use by designers, who may wish to use the Android Photoshop app, or for use by those who suffer reading difficulties and who may, consequently, benefit from the on-screen display of text in larger font sizes.

Nonetheless, the resolution may come across as a disappointment to some extent, considering the rather higher cost of the device. Furthermore, the larger size of the device may detract from its potential portability.

The stylus used with the Paper Folio extension was an additional disappointment. It did not work as well as advertised and became more of a nuisance for note-taking, rather than simply writing or drawing on the tablet itself.

Ultimately, the device holds little innovation with regard to the office space. It would have been ideal to have more ports on the device, having regard to its size, such as an HDMI port or an extra USB port.

This tablet may be a decent purchase for one who is seeking durability for work-related purposes or for those in need of a larger screen. Otherwise, however, the 8-inch Pro Slate 8 may be a better alternative for those who require the portability of a device for travelling purposes. 

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