Little Things Add Up to Irritations

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-10-22 Print this article Print

There are several little things about the Slate 500 that can be irritating. For example, when the orientation is changed from vertical to horizontal, or vice versa, the image on the screen disappears while the change is made. There is the daunting feeling that maybe the unit has crashed; when the image does return, you breathe a sigh of relief.

Making images larger or smaller by opening or closing two fingers or more across the screen is not nearly as smooth as the iPad. This was among the most disappointing attributes of the Slate 500. The image was slow to change sizes-very slow-and when it did change, the result often wasn't what was desired, and the type we were trying to read wasn't readily located.

Because the Slate 500 screen is smaller than an iPad's, many people are going to want to increase the size of the Website content they're reading more often. If all Slates are as slow-moving as the one we tested, HP is going to have to answer to a lot of frustrated users.

Granted, any touch screen would turn out second-best to Apple's. But there's no question that a user will have to employ an entirely different touch approach in working with a Slate 500; the touch control is different and it's simply not as responsive as an iPad.

See a video of the Slate 500 in action.

On the Slate 500, Web pages do not magically appear out of a central location on the screen, as on the iPad; they simply pop into place. Nothing wrong with that; it's just different.

Again, the screen itself is smaller than the iPad's; naturally, links, buttons and images are all smaller, making it a bit more difficult to navigate-especially for users with eyesight challenges.

Keyboard smaller, but pen is available

The keyboard-which rolls out from the side at a button press-is quite a bit smaller and harder to use than the iPad's. For this reason, a small pen is included in the Slate package for precise typing and button-pushing. People with larger fingers will have some difficulty, but that's the case for all touch-screen devices.

While we certainly would not call the Slate 500 a clunky device, it is a little more difficult to use than an iPad. But with all those important business features, the cameras, the Webcam port and everything else, there will surely be a substantial number of buyers waiting in virtual lines to buy it.

That's right, virtual lines. You won't find the Slate at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target or Fry's Electronics. HP, at least at this point, is not going to sell it via retail. If you want a Slate 500, you'll have to go the HP Website and buy it there.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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