HP Elitepad 900

HP announced the Elitepad 900 a little while ago and it didn’t seem to create that much buzz, with me personally or the tech-sphere in general really. The only thing I knew about it was that it doesn’t meet the 1368×768 minimum resolution to enable the “snap” feature in Windows 8. I’ve been concentrating on the Samsung & Lenovo offerings and that’s where we’ve been seeing the customer interest too (the still elusive Surface Pro aside); but having played with one today my opinion has changed.

It looks good. It feels good. It’s sleek. It’s light.

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You’ll notice as you admire those images that it’s sleek edges are uninterrupted by ports, of any kind – this is certainly odd. The HP ElitePad 900 has available for it a range of “expansion jackets” – the one I had today was the “Expansion Jacket”:

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The above jacket comes in 2 parts & clips around the device to offer a good range of ports:

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  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x HCSM/MMC card slot
  • 1 x Combo stereo/headphone port

It seems you can use the jacket as a form of easel for the tablet but that wasn’t apparent to me whilst handling it today.

That rectangle you see in the centre of the jacket (in the first picture) is an additional battery which adds around 80% to the battery life of the device – handy for long days away from chargers! It appears that the battery is not part of the jacket but rather an additional option (see this HP page here & the spec page here).

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Even jacketed, the ElitePad 900 still looks quite stylish and is still easy to handle and hold. As this jacket contained the additional battery it did add a noticeable amount of extra weight, making the device too heavy to hold for any real length of time. The jacket on its own is 260g while the battery is another 190g, so a total of 450g added to a tablet that weights 680g (1.5lbs) – making a total of 1130g (2.49lbs).

Another accessory available for this tablet is a comprehensive (and very well made/heavy at 1.48 lb) docking station, giving you those required ports when at desk.

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You get:

  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x powered USB 2.0
  • 1 x Combo stereo/headphone jack
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 1 x Smart AC Adapter

making it a very well connected device. You can dock it with or without the expansion jacket :

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but it seems i forgot to take pictures of it jacketed in the dock! You’ll notice the stylus pen in a couple of those pictures – this is also an additional option for the ElitePad, although sadly it wasn’t working on the unit I trialled. I find pen input on the Samsung 700t to be excellent and very useful so it’s good to see this as an option for business users.

I used the VGA port to connect the device to my monitor and use it as a second screen, which worked very well. Also, the snap feature is then available.

ElitePad 900 Specs

The spec of the device are reasonable:

  • Intel Atom Z2760 (1.5GHZ, “upto 1.8GHZ using Intel Burst & Hyper Threading)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB Flash storage
  • 10.1” 16:10* 1280 x 800 Gorilla Glass 2 screen
  • 2 x cameras (1080p front, 8MP w/LED rear)
  • 9.2mm thickness
  • Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • HP hs2350 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband module w/GPS Support**
  • HP hs3120 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband*

*This gives users an extra 5% usable space over a 16:9 screen (according to HP)

**Not all models will have 3g capabilities.

 

Accessories and costs

The docking station is $149 (HP Site)

The expansion jacket is $99 (HP Site)

The expansion battery is $149 or $99, depending which page you look at (HP Site or HP Site)

The ElitePad case is $39 (HP Site)

There will also be a “Productivity Jacket” which gives:

  • integrated keyboard
  • “”several additional ports”
  • SD Card reader

and allows you to use the ElitePad like a clamshell notebook. I can’t find final specs or a price for this as yet. HP say it will be available “Spring 2013”, here’s a picture until then:

image

The pen is an additional item but I can’t see a price for that either.

The full range of accessories is:

  • • HP ElitePad Productivity Jacket
  • •HP ElitePad Expansion Jacket
  • • HP ElitePad Rugged Case
  • • HP ElitePad Case
  • • HP ElitePad Jacket Battery
  • • HP ElitePad Jacket and Battery
  • • HP ElitePad Docking Station
  • • HP Tablet Stand
  • • HP Executive Tablet Pen
  • • HP ElitePad USB Adapter
  • • HP ElitePad SD Card Reader
  • • HP ElitePad Serial Adapter
  • • HP ElitePad 10W A/C Adapter
  • • HP ElitePad HDMI & VGA Adapter
  • • HP ElitePad Ethernet Adapter
  • • HP ElitePad Smart A/C Cable
  • • HP Multi-Tablet Charging Module

The multi-tablet Charging Module will be very useful for companies looking to have a number of tablets as pool/loan devices. This will give an easy, tidy way of keeping them safe and charged.

Conclusion

My biggest issue is the  lack of connectivity ports without the jacket; I find it far from inconceivable that people will leave the jacket at home when they set off in the morning, in the hotel room when they checkout, on the adjacent seat on the train etc. etc. and then you’re stuck. Yes, you can have additional jackets dotted around but that is an extra cost and certainly not ideal. That said, it’s been pointed out to me (by the HP Category Manager) that it does ship with a USB adapter. This means even without the jacket/s users will still have a USB port through which to connect peripherals.

Not having the snap feature is mildly annoying but I feel one would quickly get used to not having that at your fingertips, so no biggie there. Interestingly, HP’s line on leaving out snap is this:

Snap doesn’t currently work with Outlook – or some other business applications – which are pretty vital for day-today
commercial use. Here’s the thing: The ElitePad supports the Windows 8 Snap feature when docked and
connected to an external monitor. So, it’s a consumer-centric function that isn’t yet optimized for a business tablet.

I do think the Atom processor and 2GB RAM could give some organization cause for concern as to whether this will be powerful enough as a laptop replacement. Having plentiful and quick access to trial units will be the best/only way to get past this in many instances – letting customers trial the device in real world settings and see how it fares.

All in all I’m very impressed with HP’s ElitePad 900. It’s clearly aimed at businesses and they’ve done a good job of providing everything they will need, making this a real contender for large scale enterprise rollouts and laptop replacement efforts. I’m very excited to talk to customers about this device and get their feedback – that’s always the key part!

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