Till now, ASUS hasn't had much competitors in dockable Android tablets. Positive, we have seen the odd model from Lenovo and other companies, but for the most half, "Transformer" has grow to be a type of phrases like "Kleenex" -- you recognize, the type that refers just as a lot to a class as a particular brand. Nonetheless, HP is throwing its hat within the ring. The SlateBook x2, solely the corporate's second Android pill, is a 10-inch slate that competes on value as a lot as performance. For $480, the keyboard dock comes included, and the tablet itself boasts some prime-notch specs, together with a 1,920 x 1,080 display and a Tegra 4 processor. And, after all, along with being a keyboard, that dock has a built-in battery of its personal, promising to increase the entire runtime to up to 12.5 hours. So is it adequate that you're going to remember to not name it a Transformer? With a matte plastic lid, executed up in a severe gray color, it would be straightforward to dismiss the SlateBook x2 as bland. The truth is, the SlateBook is memorable, mostly because it is one of the lightest tablets we have ever dealt with. At 1.34 pounds for the slate alone, it is lighter than both the current iPad (1.44 pounds), as nicely as the Toshiba Excite Professional, which weighs the same 1.39. As you'd anticipate, then, that makes it simple to carry aloft for an extended time frame, not that you'll have to for those who make use of that keyboard dock. Even with the bottom hooked up, the whole thing weighs in at 2.8 pounds, making it slightly lighter than a similarly sized laptop computer, even HP's personal Pavilion TouchSmart 11. What's good, too, is that the center of gravity right here is within the heavier dock piece, so not only is the pill gentle, but it surely additionally never tips over backward when you're working with it in your lap. That one winning quality apart, though, this can be a design with problems. For starters, while the plastic finish does a great job resisting scratches, it manages to point out a very good deal of fingerprints, even if it does not have a glossy floor. Ditto for the shiny metal logo on the rear cover, which can be ripe for grease stains. We're certain it was meant as a premium touch (steel accents often are), however greater than anything it just appears out of place. Worse, HP hid an important buttons! Both the facility button and quantity rocker are situated on the back facet of the system, each flush with the lid in order that even if you realize what general area they're in, they will still be difficult to seek out by feel. Even after weeks with the pill, I was more prone to flip the pill over and press the facility / lock button than successfully hit it with my finger. Which gets pretty previous after you have unintentionally let the tablet go to sleep for the umpteenth time. Since HP designed the SlateBook so that there are barely any outlined edges -- just gently sloping curves -- the company's design group had to place all of the ports on the bottom aspect, the one that fits into the keyboard dock. There, you'll find a headphone jack, a proprietary charging port and an exposed microSD slot to enhance the 16GB of constructed-in storage. After all, you have additionally acquired a pair of cameras, together with a 720p front-going through webcam and a fairly wimpy 2-megapixel rear shooter (no LED flash). That about covers the pill itself, but as a result of this is meant to be used in laptop computer mode some of the time, you'll also find a handful of ports on the accompanying keyboard dock. These embody a USB socket, extra headphone jack, HDMI-out, a full-sized SD card reader and one other charging port -- the identical kind of proprietary socket featured on the pill itself. Possibly it's as a result of we have tested one too many Transformer tablets, however we were sure the SlateBook's keyboard dock was going to be cramped, flimsy and a pain to kind on. It seems, although, that our fears have been unfounded. After a few years of cramming practically full-sized keyboards into tiny laptops (see: the Pavilion dm1z), HP is bringing that very same components over to its new Android pill. Although the keys right here don't necessarily supply extra journey than what you will get on an ASUS Transformer, the underlying panel is sturdier, permitting it to face as much as more insistent typing. Also, contemplating this isn't quite a full-sized layout, the buttons are properly-spaced and generously sized. In reality, yours really hardly ever made typos while responding to emails, looking Chrome or even scripting this evaluate. Pairing a trackpad with an Android tablet is a humorous thing. On the one hand, Android wasn't designed for use with a mouse and keyboard. On the other, once you've got gotten used to typing on a keyboard dock, it may really feel cumbersome to elevate your hand away from the keys to scroll by means of a webpage or hit the little refresh icon. Principally, if you've got already settled into a typing groove, it's solely pure to need to throw in a two-finger scroll. Because it occurs, the trackpad right here is responsive sufficient that you possibly can page up and down without having to take your hands removed from the keyboard. It is a finicky setup, although, and more than as soon as, we gave up and swiped the touchscreen as a substitute. On the plus facet, the touchpad's surface area is larger than we might have requested for, and the Android hotkeys (dwelling, again, search, quantity controls, et cetera) ought to be indispensable to anyone already used to keyboard shortcuts on their regular laptop computer. We'd be lying if we mentioned full HD resolution was an ordinary function for tablets, however at least with the costly models, you're kind of within the clear. For the money, the SlateBook x2 provides a 10.1-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display. Regardless of having an IPS panel, the viewing angles are a bit slender, though we suspect that has more to do with a low brightness score than a failure of the IPS expertise. To be honest, too, we solely first seen the limited viewing angles after we played a movie with the pill mendacity face-up on a desk. And truthfully, that's primarily a situation for us reviewers (we do have to test the battery life with out the dock, after all). Because this factor comes with a keyboard, we won't think about why you'd need to look at a film with the pill lying flat -- not unless you forgot the dock at residence, anyway. Once you have put the tablet in the dock, you can regulate the display angle, so chances are good you'll find a candy spot where the colours are vivid and the contrast is balanced. To its credit, HP put the 2 audio system on the tablet's front face, in order that the sound is all the time firing towards you. Nonetheless, even supreme speaker placement does not do much to improve the audio high quality. For one factor, the quantity here is pretty low. So low, actually, that we questioned at first if perhaps the standard itself could be decent (oftentimes, gadgets with weaker sound exhibit less distortion and tinniness). Here, although, the sound is both low and tinny -- basically, the worst of each worlds. Beats, with which it has a very robust and, uh, colorful partnership. As much as we mock HP's red-and-black Beats-branded PCs, that will have been a welcome characteristic right here. HP only not too long ago re-entered the pill market, and while it hasn't at all times gotten the hardware right, it is done the good factor in sticking with unskinned Android (model 4.2.2, in this case). Even the listing of pre-installed apps is pretty light. On board, we now have: Field, Evernote, Kingsoft Office, Skitch, Splashtop and TegraZone, for locating Tegra-optimized video games. Actually, most of the non-inventory apps listed below are from HP itself, together with Printer Control, ePrint, HP File Supervisor, HP Media Player and HP Digital camera, which we'll return to in just a moment. Within the meantime, the media participant permits for playback of music, photographs and movies, with an option to stream content to a Miracast-certified display. You too can seize images or video from throughout the Media Participant app, in the event watching someone else's work conjures up you to make something of your personal. At any price, you may discover shortcuts on the home screen for HP's digicam, media player and file supervisor, however you can take away all of them with a long-press, the identical manner you'd eliminate any other shortcut. Like most different consumer electronics, the SlateBook x2 comes with a one-year warranty, together with 24/7 cellphone support. The SlateBook x2 is only the second tablet we've examined with a Tegra four processor inside, however we're already well convinced of the chip's immense efficiency potential. As you possibly can see within the desk above, Tegra 4 helps each the x2 and the Toshiba Excite Write sail past the Xperia Tablet Z (and its quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset) in benchmark exams. However the SlateBook beats the Write in every take a look at (sometimes by a giant margin), even supposing they have the identical Tegra 4 chip and 2GB of RAM. We're nonetheless not sure which means the SlateBook is distinctive for a Tegra four tablet -- we already had some misgivings about the Write's uneven efficiency -- but in a way, it would not matter: the x2 is fast and dependable. Transitions are easy and apps are quick to open. We additionally had no downside juggling between Gmail, a number of open tabs in Chrome and different miscellaneous apps, including Facebook, Twitter and a third-get together media participant. As for gaming, it was easy crusing in Fractal Combat, the place we have been able to fly our plane upside down and then flip it over again, all with none stuttering. If there's one downside to the performance, it is that the rear casing on the tablet can get warm (not scorching, however warm) with out a lot provocation. That'll be a moot point if you're using it in laptop mode, though you might discover your fingers getting a bit toasty if you are cradling the system in your hands. Once more, although, it by no means gets pants-scorchingly sizzling, so you shouldn't have to regulate your usage habits a lot, if at all. HP claims that with the dock attached, the tablet can final as much as 12.5 hours. That is a best-case situation, of course -- one we weren't able to replicate. In our admittedly taxing rundown test, which entails looping a video off local storage with WiFi on and the brightness fixed at 50 p.c, the pill itself lasted simply six hours and 34 minutes -- that's almost 5 hours lower than the present iPad, and three hours less than ASUS' Transformer Pad Infinity. Even the Nexus 10, which we faulted for therefore-so battery life, lasted about an hour longer in the identical check. Sadly, considering how heavy the dock is (1.46 pounds), it does not enhance battery life nearly the way we expected it to. With the dock connected, we received an additional two hours and 15 minutes of runtime, bringing the whole to eight hours and forty nine minutes. All instructed, that is a respectable showing for a 10-inch pill, however remember, there are models like the iPad and Transformer Pad Infinity that can ship equal or better results with out the help of a dock. On the plus side, we do appreciate the optionally available battery life widget HP included, which exhibits you the remaining juice for each the pill and the bottom. Not exactly a consolation for such subpar runtime, however at the very least you get a sense of how quickly you're losing steam. Like we said, ASUS does not have all that much competitors in the dockable Android pill class. The Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 we reviewed a 12 months in the past has been discontinued, and nothing comparable has taken its place. Acer has some dockable tablets, but all of them run Windows 8; the closest thing we can recommend is the forthcoming Iconia A3, and even that's not a fair match, as it's a lower-price product with inferior specs (1,280 x 800 display, et cetera). The most direct competitor, perhaps (apart from something made by ASUS), is the Toshiba Excite Pro, a 10-inch tablet with a sharper 2,560 x 1,600, 300-ppi screen and the same Tegra four chip used within the SlateBook x2. At $500, it is priced similarly, and it comes with 32GB of inner storage, not 16 (both means, you get a microSD slot). The apparent commerce-off, as far as we can inform, is that the keyboard is sold separately for $42, and even then, it isn't a proper keyboard dock, but a wireless keyboard. At any charge, we have not tested it, so unfortunately we won't vouch for its performance or battery life. However, we did review the Excite Write (the identical tablet, just with a pen digitizer) and we encountered some efficiency glitches. Hopefully, though, that is the type of factor Toshiba can address with a firmware update across your complete Excite line. In case you do insist on waiting for ASUS to refresh the present offerings, it is already announced the brand new Transformer Pad Infinity, which additionally has a Tegra 4 chip and 2,560 x 1,600 screen. It is also able to 4K output, according to ASUS, though that is mostly a gimmick at this level, if we're being honest. Excited? So are we, however the corporate hasn't really introduced US pricing or availability but, so we won't even say for certain how long you is perhaps ready for this. These embody the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, a skinny, waterproof tablet that begins at $500. Then, of course, there's the iPad ($499 and up), not that that's a helpful suggestion for anybody already offered on Android. This probably goes with out saying, but the HP SlateBook x2 is just a sensible buy in case you intend to make good use out of the keyboard. It is necessary to do not forget that the dock isn't a enjoyable additional right here: it comes within the field, and it defines the way in which you are supposed to use the product. When you do expect to spend plenty of time on email and notice-taking, this is the most comfortable keyboard dock on any Android pill, and it helps enhance the battery life too. As a standalone pill, though, the x2 affords skimpy battery life and awkwardly positioned quantity and power buttons that can be arduous to seek out by really feel -- even when you have been using it for some time. The neatest thing we will say in regards to the tablet itself is that its Tegra four chip yields fast, stable performance. Even then, Tegra 4 will probably energy lots of units launched in the approaching months, so it is not like HP can really claim credit for that. Principally, then, if the keyboard is just an accessory for you, you would be higher off spending $500 or so on a tablet with longer battery life and a extra gorgeous display. It isn't like you've got got any scarcity of choices. All merchandise beneficial by Engadget are chosen by our editorial staff, unbiased of our father or mother company. A few of our tales embody affiliate links. If you buy something by way of one of those hyperlinks, we may earn an affiliate fee.
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