More HP Slate Details: $549 Starting Price, Five Hour Battery

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Engadget has managed to get a hold of an internal Hewlett Packard document that directly compares the HP Slate tablet to Apple’s iPad.

HP gives itself the advantage for having pen support, a 1.6GHz CPU (Atom Z530), 1080p graphics acceleration, built-in expandability, and two cameras but acknowledges that Apple has the edge when it comes to a higher resolution screen (1024×768 versus 1024×600), faster Wi-Fi chipset, lower starting price, and 10 hour battery life.

Up until this point, I’d personally been extremely interested in the HP Slate as a viable alternative to the iPad but two major shortcomings are presenting themselves as deal-breakers.

First, the non-upgradeable 1GB of RAM is going to have its work cut out for it when trying to run Windows 7 Home Premium. Second, and most importantly, the five hour battery life kills it altogether. No matter where you take the Slate, you’re either going to need to bring the AC adapter or worry endlessly that you’re going to run out of juice. Not enough RAM will likely make the Slate sluggish but useable, but the lackluster battery life can’t be avoided.

Like the iPad, the Slate’s battery isn’t replaceable. So you won’t be able to carry a spare around in lieu of the adapter. In an age when netbook batteries are mostly six cells or, at a minimum, three cells, the Slate’s two-cell battery may be its undoing.

That being said, if you’d use the Slate as a couch computer the battery life won’t matter that much. But the fact that it’s being positioned as a portable computing device with a full blown operating system and built-in USB, memory card, and HDMI output features suggests that it could theoretically replace your laptop or netbook altogether.

slate

Full specs of the Slate, according to the document:

- 8.9-inch 1024×600 multi-touch screen

- 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU

- Intel graphics, plus “graphics for 1080p playback” (likely a Broadcom chip)

- 32GB ($549) or 64GB ($599) solid state drive, upgradeable via SD card

- 1GB DDR2 memory, not upgradeable

- 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, optional 3G

- SD card reader, USB port, dock connector

- Windows 7 Home Premium, plus “HP touch-optimized UI”

- Two-cell battery for “up to 5+ hours of use”

- Inward facing VGA webcam, outward facing 3-megapixel camera

Not to already start looking forward to the second version of the HP Slate, but such a device would benefit from a newer CPU (the Z530 is already two years old), at least 2GB of RAM, and as big a battery that HP can fit into the thing without making it too heavy. There’s a reason why the iPad’s not running the full Mac OS X operating system (yet). This is it.

Still no word on an official release date for the Slate, either, short of a rumored June launch. It’s looking more and more likely that direct competition to the iPad will come in the form of an Android tablet.

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