HP has revealed two new Android budget devices at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona. Their features are quite similar, but the Slate VoiceTab 6 belongs in the phablet (phone/tablet) category according to its dimensions, while Slate VoiceTab 7 is a tablet. The later one differs from almost all other 7-inch tablets in that it includes telephone support.
What’s more, this is a dual-SIM device (the same goes for the 6-inch model) and it offers a classic SIM slot, as well as a microSIM slot. The first one only enables making telephone calls, while the other supports 3G. Interestingly, 4G or LTE are not supported.
Build and Design
HP’s design for both devices is quite praiseworthy. They are exceptionally robust and convincing, despite the fact that plenty of plastic was used along with the metal parts. They feel great when held in hand, and give the impression of a more advanced device. Their design is reminiscent of HTC One (or HTC One Max even more, due to its dimensions), even though they are flat across the back, not rounded.
The HP Slate VoiceTab 7 comes with a 1280×800-pixel display (the smaller model has a 1280×720-pixel screen), creating a solid 216 ppi pixel density. Thus, the appearance is somewhat above average for a typical 7-inch budget tablet. It is only when it is held close to the user’s face that teething pixels can be noticed on sloped lines and slim fonts, but this should not be considered a particular flaw, given the device’s low price.
Poor contrast sustainability, on the other hand, is something that purchasers of any of these two devices might have a problem with, as it means these displays do not support wide viewing angles. Similarly, when the ambient light is too bright or too dim, the ‘power’ of black and white tones is impaired, as well as color saturation. On the other hand, under good lighting conditions and when directly viewed, the contrast is rather good and the black and white tones are interpreted with flying colors (for tablets in this price range).
They are equipped with a 5-mega pixel back camera, with average results for this type of a device.
HP Slate VoiceTab 7 comes with a 1.2GHz Marcell PXA1088 processor and 1GB of RAM, while 16GB of storage can be expanded with memory cards. As the relatively demanding Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) is the operating system, this platform is not sufficient for running all tasks smoothly.
Despite the fact that their user interface has only been slightly modified compared to pure Android OS, in our preliminary tests, both the 7-inch and 6-inch models showed signs of slowing down when demanding games were run, while forwarding videos or while zooming in and swiftly scrolling web sites. Particularly when web sites with the so-called endless scroll are concerned — the more you scroll them, the more they find it agonizing.
HP has promised that the HP Slate VoiceTab 7 and Slate VoiceTab 6 will be available on European and U.S. markets in the next month, and revealed European prices. The bigger model will cost 250 euros, while users will have to single out 230 for the smaller model.
That is more than many 7-inch Android tablets, but the VoiceTab 7 will be almost unique for being both a regular-size tablet and a phone. And the Slate VoiceTab 6 will be less expensive than most phablets.
To learn about other devices that have been unveiled at the MWC tradeshow, visit our dedicated Mobile World Congress page.