HP Pro Slate 8 Review: Nifty Duet Pen, Premium Pricing

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HP Pro Slate 8 Intro & Specifications

If you like the idea of using a stylus with your mobile device, then you probably prefer the precision and additional functionality over the convenience of a fingertip. That, or you've picked up a brand-new HP Pro Slate 8, a tablet targeted at working professionals that includes a rather useful and unique accessory dubbed the "Duet Pen" that enables some pretty interesting features.

In the HP Pro Slate 8's case, you can still poke its 7.9-inch screen all you want with a finger. The stylus, an accessory that ships with the $470 tablet, isn't an absolute necessity. You don't need it for everyday use but it's definitely a nice feature add. The tablet doesn't come with a convenient place for storing it unfortunately, so you'll want to find a handy spot for it. Since the Duet Pen only connects to the tablet with Bluetooth, you're also out of luck if you forget to charge it, if you want to make use of its most impressive feature that is. So as long as you pay attention and take care of Pro Slate 8's nifty side-kick, there's some interesting utility in store for more than just "consumption" on this device. 

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Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's talk about HP's new commercial class tablet. It's a decently powerful Android tablet (running Android Lollipop). Since it's a business-targeted device, it comes with HP's Touchpoint Manager software integrated directly into the tablet. That's great if your employer manages devices with HP's tools, but it's not much use if you're just an average person looking for a good Android tablet. The same is true for the tablet's built-in KeyVPN app; great if you need to use it to connect to your employer, easily ignored if you don't. Still, if you're a professional that could benefit from the management tools and VPN access, HP's got you covered here and then some perhaps.

HP Pro Slate 8 tablet
Specifications & Features

Display
7.86-inch touchscreen, 2047 x 1536 resolution at 324 ppi, with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-smudge coating
Size
5.39 x 8.15 x 0.31 inches
Weight
12.3 ounces
CPU
Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 at 2.3GHz
GPU
Qualcomm Adreno 330
RAM
2 GB
Storage
32 GB of internal storage
microSD expansion slot for up to 128 GB of additional storage
Battery Life
Unspecified
Charge Time
Unspecified
Wi-Fi Connectivity
802.11b/g/n/ac
Ports
USB 2.0 (micro-B connector); microSD slot
Sensors
Accelerometer, ambient light, eCompass, gyroscope, NFC, proximity, barometer
Camera Specs
8 MP front-facing camera
2 MP rear-facing camera
Audio
3.5 mm stereo jack and integrated speakers (DTS Sound+)
Location Services
Location-based services via Wi-Fi
Available Colors
Gray
Additional Features
External volume controls, built-in Bluetooth 4.0 + LE, Near-Field Communication, two integrated audio microphones
Warranty and Service
1-year Limited Warranty parts and labor
Included in the Box
HP Pro Slate 8 tablet, USB cable, power adapter, HP Duet Pen, and Quick Start Guide
Price
$469.00 - Find It At Amazon


The HP Pro Slate 8 pairs a 2.3-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB of memory and 32GB of internal storage. The screen, one of the tablet's better features, runs a decently high resolution of 2046×1536 (or 325.5 pixels per inch), so if pixel density and image fidelity is what you're after, this 8-inch tablet competes with some best on the market.

At a total size of 8.15 by 5.39 by 0.31 inches, the HP Pro Slate 8 is a bit uncomfortable to palm and hold one-handed unless you have fairly meaty hands—like this article's 6'5" author. Its weight feels fine at 0.77 pounds, but it could stand to be a little lighter, even for its size. As mentioned, you don't get much internal storage by default, but you can supplement the tablet with your own micro SD card for plenty of expansion. The tablet also has built in 802.11ac WiFi. The inclusion of wireless-ac means that the tablet can connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wirelesss networks. It also supports Miracast streaming, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC too (which you're more likely to use with Android Beam than Android Pay).

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The HP Pro Slate 8 has a decent 8MP camera on its rear—but no flash—and a similarly decent 2MP front-facing camera. You might rather use a better smartphone camera when out and about, but the Pro Slate 8 would be alright to use in a pinch (and in good lighting). The tablet's IPS display has great viewing angles, and it shows us a decent amount of black and white detail and contrast on lagom.nl's tests. We were unable to discern details below seven or above 252 on a 255-step gradient from all black to all white. Subjectively speaking though, the screen looked really nice and provided good brightness, contrast, and saturation with a variety of content. Let's look more at the software setup, next... 


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