In June, HP announced that it would be launching a new laptop in August, and that this particular laptop would run Android rather than Windows or Chrome OS. We managed to get some hands-on time with the new HP SlateBook during the company's HP Connected Music event on 23 July, so here's our HP SlateBook review based on our experience with the laptop so far.
We'll be updating this article with our full review once it arrives in the labs for testing, but for now, you can get an idea of what the HP SlateBook looks and feels like, what it's like to use and what its specs are here in our hands-on review.
HP SlateBook hands-on review: Design and build
The first thing you'll notice about the HP SlateBook is that the company has decided to go for a bright yellow design. It's the only colour available (although we expect that HP will consider launching new colours if the laptop proves to be a success), and probably won't be to everyone's taste. We rather liked it though – it's vibrant, fun and not over-the-top. We appreciated HP's decision to limit the yellow to the base/sides, hinge and HP logo, finishing the rest of the device in a smooth black (HP seems to call it Space Silver but it sure looks black to me).
Despite the fact that the HP SlateBook runs Android, it's in no way a tablet. HP already offers several 'hybrid' products such as its Pavilion, Envy and Split, each of which can be used as a tablet or laptop by folding back the display or detaching it completely.
The SlateBook has a fixed hinge, so you definitely don't want to attempt to bend it back on itself or remove the display from the keyboard. It's simply a laptop with a touch screen display, but the difference is that it runs the familiar Android mobile OS.
It's both strange and impressive, then, that the SlateBook sports a 14in display. It's rather odd to see Android running on such a large screen, but actually it kind of works. We'll talk more about the software later in this review.
Overall, the HP SlateBook is a good-looking device. Build quality is excellent, and the full-size keyboard felt great to type on. We also loved the large touchpad on the SlateBook. The wedge shape is ideal to help ease the pressure on your wrists, too.
The keyboard comes complete with handy back, home and multitasking keys just like those you find along the bottom of the screen in Android.
It's pretty thin and light, weighing 1.68kg and measuring 1.59cm thick. That's thinner than the MacBook Air, but a little bit heavier. If you've got a big enough backpack, you should be able to carry the SlateBook around with you all day without noticing too much extra weight. HP is offering a SlateBook backpack with matching yellow detail as part of a bundle deal, too.
One big design downfall we noticed was that the hinge isn't quite stiff enough to make using the SlateBook's touchscreen an enjoyable experience. We're not keen on using the touchscreen on laptops anyway, but for anyone that does use it, the wobbly SlateBook display will be irritating.