I’m always excited when a new gadget arrives to test and the HP ElitePad was no exception. Designed with the enterprise user and corporate IT department in mind, the ElitePad also promises to deliver the style and user experience that consumers demand. Using a company provided laptop or tablet shouldn’t be a cause of embarrassment, be it going through airport security or around the family dinner table. So lets see how the ElitePad lives up to the promise and how it compares to the HP Envy X2 I reviewed earlier.
First the hardware specs. The ElitePad has a 10.1″ diagonal display with a Corning Gorilla Glass 2 screen and 1280 x 800 wide angle display. It comes with two built-in cameras, a rear facing 8.0 MP ideal for high resolution stills and a front-facing 1080p HD camera ideal for Skype or other video conferencing tools. The processor is a dual core 1.80 GHz Intel Atom processor and storage is provided by a 64G SSD drive. More on accessories and connectivity later.
While the shipping box was light enough, the size seemed rather big for a 10″ tablet.
Opening up the box doesn’t yield a lot of clues to what is included in addition to the tablet itself.
But alas, a bit of unwrapping yields the answer.
In addition to a lightweight AC adapter and the ubiquitous video dongle, the box contains a sturdy dock with a multitude of connections. In fact, after just a few hours use, it seems like the functionality of the dock is going to be one of the key selling points of the ElitePad for enterprise users.
The back of the dock has a standard VGA connector, an HDMI connector, power, and ethernet.
The side of the dock has two USB connections and a headphone jack. I plugged my HP wireless keyboard adapter into the USB and the ElitePad immediately recognized it without having to load any additional drivers. I don’t care how good the on-screen keyboard is, power users will want a real keyboard for extended use.
The ElitePad comes with a full version of Windows 8, not the slimmed down Windows RT designed for tablets, and that should come in handy for running the myriad of corporate applications expecting a full-blown Windows OS that an enterprise user needs. The setup process did however identify a few places where Windows 8 was not 100% tablet ready. Plugging the ElitePad into the dock sits the tablet horizontally. While I had no problem turning my head to read every last word of the license screen:
Filling out the registration screen using on the on-screen keyboard didn’t work too well with the screen horizontal and I had to remove the tablet from the dock to view it vertically.
Luckily a few screens farther into the setup process, Windows 8 finally recognized it was on a tablet and the screen correctly displayed horizontally in the dock.
Running standard Windows 8 no doubt helped HP’s own corporate IT department create the ElitePad configuration screen, which walked me through setting up secure access to HP’s corporate web site, loading a full version of Office Professional, and other internal HP setup.
So far so good. Together with the HP EliteBook 9470m laptop I started using a few weeks ago, the two weigh less than the EliteBook 8440 I recently replaced so traveling should be no problem. Even more exciting, my laptop bag even has room for one of the upcoming HP Moonshot servers we will be launching soon. So check back here for more stories on all three.