The idea of an Android based All-in-One Android desktop system really took off over the last week with Acer, Lenovo and HP all announcing units. While the Acer and Lenovo devices have yet to reach our shores, the HP Slate 21 is now on-sale and in-store at The Good Guys, selling for $447. I was interested in this so I went along to a store to have a look. Bear in mind that this is purely based on a 10 minute hands-on with the in-store unit, but it was more than enough to give me a very quick and dirty first impression.
The concept of an All-in-One actually interests me personally as a device for the Kitchen. With the HP Slate 21, my only concern is that the screen isn’t exactly water-poof. I tend to have my Nexus 7/10 propped up in the kitchen with recipes etc on the screen but having to wash/dry my hands every time I want to interact with the device is not something I want to do. Give it some Ingress protection(preferably an IP58/67 rating with dust and waterproofing due to dust(Flour) etc in kitchens) or some Samsung style hover touch control and I’d be good.
Performance on the Tegra 4 was quick and swiping between homescreens and through menus was quite fast and responsive. Loading the Apps was likewise quite a pleasing experience, I’d want to spend some time with Gaming, specifically some First Person shooters like Dead trigger to see how this keyboard/mouse interface holds up, but initial thoughts are it’s fast, talking of the accessories.
The accessories could do with an upgrade, specifically the mouse wasn’t that great in terms of response, nor feel in the hand, it has quite sharp corners and isn’t really ergonomic at all. The keyboard was decent to type on, but nothing special. All that said, I`m sure the $447 price tag is one of the deciding factors when it comes to picking accessories.
The screen is very nice, it’s easily legible inside – and let’s face it, at 21.5″ you’re not exactly going to be transporting this badboy outside or anywhere mobile, at least often anyway. The colours are nice and vibrant and tend to look pretty true to life without looking washed out.
Size wise it’s pretty darn nice to have 21 odd inches of screen real estate, but some modifications to the OS would be appreciated to enable some sort of multi-window applications to fully utilise this space, but HP has left the underlying OS alone. The HP Slate 21 runs what appears to be very much Stock Android 4.2.2(Tablet edition) just like their previous hardware releases; that’s not to say there aren’t changes, there’s HP specific Apps installed, but it’s stock and that alone with Android’s lack of multi-s nothing there you need to worry about in terms of skinning etc.
As a quick and dirty hands-on I am really wanting to investigate the HP Slate 21 Pro a little more. We’ve asked HP for a review unit so we can check it out on a more long term basis, and with three manufacturers releasing them, it seems the All-in-One Android desktop could be here to stay – at least for a while depending on sales.