Saturday, July 21, 2012

Overdue Touchpad WebOS review

Typed this a long time ago and I actually forgot that I have a blog :). Without further ado..

HP Touchpad

Build Quality
The Touchpad is well built. The back is made of plastics but does not feel that cheap. One thing I did not notice at first was the weight. Whenever I buy tablets, my housemates usually try them out and give their opinions. When one of my female housemates first picked up the Touchpad, her first comment was that it is much heavier than my previous tablets. To be honest, I still could not feel the difference but if you are a female you might need to take this into consideration :)

WebOS Performance
This was my first encounter with WebOS and having read Anand's (of Anandtech) thoughts on it I could not help but be excited. On some fronts, I can see why people prefers WebOS to the other OSes but on many others it falls short. OK, to start things lets talk about browsing experience.

Lets set things straight, the WebOS browser is a very capable browser. It actually feels like a full fledged PC browser. The functionalitis (Java, JS, Flash and etc.) are baked in out of the box. The flash capability is among the best differentiating factor from the Android and Safari browsers in my opinion; it is a complete flash experience! You can even stream TV channels live.

Where it falter is performance and performance is really the Achilles' heel for WebOS in general. Browsing on the Touchpad is a complete (PC-like) experience but it is like browsing on a netbook. If you try to multitask while watching flash videos you will get stutters. Heck, even if you play songs using the default music player and surf simultaneously you will get stutters.

As I bought the HP touchpad during my exam's season, I get to try the Adobe PDF reader and QuickOffice app provided by default in the Touchpad. They have no problems opening files (pdf, doc, xls and etc, not sure about Office 2007 file formats like docx though) but rendering the files take some time. When you first open up a file, you will see a blurred up image of the file and it usually take a few minutes to render properly. It is a little frustrating considering the instantaneous experience in Android.

If there is any aspects of the WebOS which I absolutely love, its the multitasking ability. Somehow, the card system feels right for tablets. You simple swipe from the bottom of the screen to the middle to minimize apps and switch between apps. To close them, just swipe them to the top. It is simple, effective and may I say, elegent. Whenever I am using Android, I frequently find myself doing this only to realize I am not using WebOS. Hopefully Google will try to emulate this aspect, it really is that good!

Audio Quality
EXCELLENT. The best I have heard from tablets so far. It is not particularly powerful but the quality is really good! The speakers never get distorted even at full volume. Highs are slightly recessed but still okay. The mids, oh the mids! The lower range is where this thing shine. I was skepticle when I first see the Beats logo as Beats tend to exagurate the bass but here they have done a good job. Online sources say that the DSP HP uses in Touchpad improves the sound quality by increasing the dynamic range of the sound. Purists might not like this but personally I have no complain :)

Camera Quality
Image quality is quite good. It performs almost as good as my notebook's internal camera and that is not really a compliment.

As WebOS will be Open-Sourced soon, this might or might not change but as it is there are very few games and apps available for the Touchpad under webOS. if you want, you can install PreWare and install community developed apps and games. I tried a few of them and found that most of the were intended for phones so you get this small phone screen on your Touchpad and there is no way to scale them up fullscreen. Not fun.

WebOS is a unique experience but after using it, I no longer wonder why it is dead. The performance is very far behind the other major OSes and this shows when Android fliessss on the exact same hardware. Get Touchpad if you like tinkering with it to get Android and you like showing off its speakers but otherwise, just get some other tablets with Android 'natively' installed.

No comments:

Post a Comment