There is a price war going on among makers of 7-inch Android tablets. This means there are a lot of inexpensive models out there, but you have to be cautious about what you buy -- even a super-cheap device can be a ripoff.
Those who would like a very good deal on a low-cost tablet from a known brand should look hard at the HP Slate 7. At $170, it is cheaper than just about all its competitors, while offering a decent feature set.
Build and Design
From the front, the Slate 7 looks just like almost every other tablet -- it's a black rectangle with rounded corners. It's formulaic, but it's a formula that works.
Because of its size, you can easily hold this device in one hand, and carry it around that way too. It also fits in a large pocket.
This HP model isn't particularly thin or light, but neither is it particularly heavy either. It's perfectly average.
This tablet's 7.0-inch display has a relatively low resolution of 1024 x 600-pixels at a pixel density of 170 ppi. The rival Google Nexus 7 has a screen of the same size but at a 1280 x 800 resolution, giving it pixel density of 216 ppi.
That said, the screen looks fine. The resolution is high enough that pixels aren't obvious, and the colors are good. It is quite readable in direct sunlight, although you have to turn the back light all the way up.
Other Buttons and Controls
Just about everything is in a standard spot on the Slate 7. The Power button is on the top along with the microSD memory card slot and audio port. There's a volume rocker on the right side, while the left side is blank.
Happily, HP didn't follow in the footsteps of all too many of its competitors and create its own power and data port -- instead, a standard micro-USB port is on the bottom edge, with a pair of stereo speakers on either side.
There is no video-out port, but you shouldn't expect one on a tablet in the price range.
There's nothing on the back but the camera... and a big HP logo.
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