First Impressions of the HP TouchPad

LockerGnome’s Jake Ludington has decided to give the HP TouchPad a try. The webOS-driven tablet computer has been receiving positive reviews out of the gate, and the ability for users to experience flash elements from the web is a clear advantage in cases where the user frequently uses web-based tools that require some level of flash support. Here are some of our first impressions of the HP TouchPad:

The HP TouchPad features a 9.7-inch LED backlit display (1024×768) and a glossy black finish that is a fingerprint magnet. It’s slightly heavier than the iPad 2 and has a build that more closely resembles the slightly bulkier original iPad. That isn’t to say that it’s too heavy to use, but it could be a burdon after a long period of time. Is is comfortable to hold, however, and doesn’t have any sharp corners that would otherwise make the device feel uncomfortable.

After inspecting the TouchPad, it appears to have two reasonably-sized speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side. The built-in camera is front facing with no camera available on the back, meaning you’ll need to face the screen at whatever you’re taking a picture of. This indicates the primary use of any camera on this device will be for video chat rather than updating your account.

The 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor seems powerful enough. We were able to do some video benchmarking online and discovered that the TouchPad actually outperforms the iPad in a few rendering situations. However, this is not intended to be a processing powerhouse. It’s intended to be a tablet geared towards running web-based apps with support for stand-alone applications.

Battery life is pretty solid. HP reports say you should be able to get a solid 9 hours out of it during normal use. This appears to be a close approximation. In general, you’ll want to keep a USB cable handy to give it a charge if you intend to use it for more than a normal day’s use.

Switching between apps on webOS is snappy and easy. Navigation requires an occasiona flick and tap giving you the ability to toss unwanted windows and applications off the screen to get rid of them. If you want to look something up, Just Type gives you the ability to search on the device and on the web for something with a single search bar. This is a pretty nice feature, especially when you have a lot of apps loaded in to the TouchPad down the line.

Overall, it’s a fine device for anyone that absolutely must have flash as part of their mobile browsing experience and doesn’t want to deal with Android. Of all the tablet operating systems out there, webOS is doing a lot to prove its feasibility in today’s competitive market. Whether or not the TouchPad really takes off is anyone’s guess.