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HP Slate 2

HP Slate 2

HP announced a revamped Windows 7 tablet computer that now includes an Intel Atom Z670 (“Oak Trail”) processor and a $100 price cut. The “Slate 2” has a 8.9-inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, 2GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of solid state storage (SSD), and an N-Trig active digitizer for pen operation.

HP’s new Slate 2 is a replacement for the company’s Slate 500, which went on sale in 2010. That business-oriented device hasn’t been seen much in the wild, since the company didn’t sell it at retail, and we’re guessing its successor won’t be targeting consumers either.

Like the original Slate 500 — as well as the recently released Dell Latitude ST, the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 and the Motion Computing CL 900 — the Slate 2 supplements its capacitive multitouch screen with N-Trig DuoSense technology. This lets users operate the tablet using either the usual finger gestures or with an active pen, though HP doesn’t say whether it supplies the latter with the device (as Dell does).

And again like the other tablets mentioned above, the Slate 2 uses Intel’s Atom Z670 processor, with the standard SM35 chipset. The Slate 500 had included the Atom Z530 along with a Broadcom BCM70015 video accelerator, but here, HP apparently reasons, the “Oak Trail” processor can handle HD video all on its own.

Compared to the Slate 500, the Slate 2 gets a $100 price cut, starting at $700. Leaving out that Broadcom chip probably helped, as did the fact that the ‘2 has a 32GB SSD in its entry-level configuration (you can still upgrade to the 64GB that the Slate 500 offered).

According to HP, the Slate 2 has an 8.9-inch screen with a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. This is one area where we think HP should have spent a few more dollars: Microsoft says tablets and other devices will need at least 1024 x 768 pixels to display Windows 8’s Metro-style applications, so Slate 2 buyers will be frustrated if they try to upgrade their device’s operating system next year.

HP’s Slate 2 does include a trusted platform module, a feature that’s optional on Dell’s higher-resolution Latitude ST. It also offers BIOS-level support for Computrace Pro software, allowing customers to remotely delete data at the file or operating system level. An available “HP Retail Mobile Point of Sale Case” attaches to the Slate 2 and adds both a barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader, according to the company.

The Slate 2 is also equipped with dual cameras: an outward-facing three megapixel unit, and a VGA-resolution webcam. According to HP, it has a USB 2.0 port, a combo headphone/microphone jack, and a connector for an optional dock (which includes two USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port).

Wireless networking (802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0) is on board, and HP also offers its un2430, a EVDO/HSPA cellular module that uses a Sierra Wireless setup. Bundled applications include the Evernote note-taking app and Swype text-input software.

Features and specifications listed by HP for the Slate 2 include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom Z670 clocked at 1.5GHz
  • Chipset — SM35 Express
  • Memory — 2GB of DDR2 RAM (non-expandable)
  • Storage — 32GB or 64GB SSD
  • Display:
    • 8.9-inch capacitive touchscreen, plus digitizer for pen operation
    • 1024 x 600 pixel resolution
  • Camera — 3 megapixel (rear facing) and VGA-resolution webcam (front facing)
  • Expansion:
    • Mini PCI Express slot (dedicated to broadband option)
    • SD slot
    • docking port
  • Wireless:
    • WLAN — 802.11a/b/g/n
    • WWAN — HSPA/EVDO cellular module (optional)
    • PAN — Bluetooth 4.0
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x HDMI
    • audio — microphone/headphone combo jack
  • Power — 2-cell battery provides up to six hours of operation
  • Operating range — 50 to 95 deg. F
  • Dimensions — 9.2 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight — 1.5 pounds

Further information

According to HP, the Slate 2 will be available worldwide later this month, with Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Home Premium, and Windows Embedded Standard 7 operating system options.

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