07/01/2011, 08:36 AM
First off, being that I'm a former journalist, full disclosure. I've been a webOS fan from Day one, and before that, because of former family connections to HP, an HP fan as well. So when they merged into one happy family, I was beyond happy. I have been patiently waiting for the TP since launch, and thanks to sweettalking a Best Buy employee yesterday, I got one a day early and have been playing with it all night. Thus, onto a brief review.
So haters, go ahead and complain all you want about the color of my glasses.
The people who have been complaining about lag are about 10 percent right, but still 90 percent wrong. There's some lag at the start when you're updating everything. And when you are trying to download apps and install them and do 10 other things at the same time (actually, I've gotten it up to about 40 already). But past that, there is very little lag and very few problems loading programs. I skyped last night with my brother (who, as a HUGE Applefanboy was impressed with what I could do), while surfing the web while listening to Pandora (via backward compatibility, but all I needed was the music to play in the background and show up in notifications, which it did). It did all of this flawlessly with no real lag. My HP netbook can't do that without lagging like crazy sometimes. So, system software build gets an A-.
Flash on the browser is both fun and frustrating. The only time the unit crashed and had to quick restart (you get a boot screen but you're back in business in about 10 seconds) is when I was trying to open a website I know has a lot of Flash and a lot of problems with it. Everything was fine until I tried to switch apps, and then we had our problem. I don't know whether or not to really hold this too much against HP, however, or hate Adobe more for it. My netbook (running a full Windows 7 suite and Mozilla Firefox) can hardly handle Flash sometimes, and there have been times I purposely crash the Firefox plug-in extension (which runs Flash) just so I can actually use the webpage. So, I assign blame to HP and Adobe equally. On a very positive note, the browser handled WestLaw (I'm an attorney) amazingly well. WestLaw often crashes my netbook, and I'm happy to see the TP handle a complex website with such ease. I'll be showing up to court with this now, and I'm sure I'll be getting plenty of looks. Overall, B+ for the browser.
As for the apps...indeed, the selection is sparse. But, considering the muscle that is behind this thing, I'm not really too worried about this stuff yet. If it's 6 months from now, coming up on Christmas, and things haven't changed, my tune will be different. Remember, the iPad and Honeycomb had no real apps at the start. You have to go somewhere.
Of the apps installed, facebook and iheartradio are musts. Iheartradio is a little buggy sometimes (may be the internet I have, too), but facebook is smooth and wonderful and amazing. Kudos to HP. The calendar is a calendar (what more do you need? Animated events?) and Synergy is still amazing across the entire system. So, for the apps grade, I give it an incomplete. Check back with me in one month and we'll see where we're at.
Battery life so far has been excellent. I charged it fully before really playing around with it untethered, and after about 6 hours of pretty constant use, I still had a good third of a battery left. Excellent, as far as I'm concerned. Not amazing, but excellent. Grade B+
But, you're all probably more curious about the cons, since that's what normally is a make-or-break for people. Well, like anything in the world, there are some.
First, the build is not super sturdy, indeed. The plastic back doesn't feel cheap, but it doesn't exactly make me feel like I have confidence if this takes an unfortunate tumble it'll survive without a scratch or two. I it might be tough with the Touchstone, but a different back (like what HP has on all it's Elitebooks) would be amazing and look great. The rest of the unit feels solid and study, however. So, I'd say a C+ on build.
The unit is a little heavy, but not really that bad. You get used to it pretty quickly, and since it's easy to hold, you don't really mind the weight. Full disclosure, I do have pretty big hands, so that may be swaying me a bit. For this, the weight probably gets a C because it's a touch heavy, but not unmanageable. It's average. Which is what a C is (or used to be at least).
Finally, other bugs and issues. I did get a little annoyed when Flash made the browser crash, and I found myself getting frustrated when, at the start, there were some lags and some slight hesitations by the system. Those, for the most part, have pretty much gone away now that we're updated to everything. Sometimes, the App Catalog will be a little slow when it's loading programs or updating them, but I'm understanding of this.
If you have other questions, feel free to ask. I haven't put Preware on it yet, but that's going on this morning (actually, as we speak)
Overall grade: B+. As awesome and complete as an iPad? Um, no. Better than any Honeycomb tab I've every used or seen used? Hands down.
Finally, I'd like to remind everyone that this product, from inception to public release, took about one year to do. In the tech world, that's AMAZINGLY fast. One of my friends works for HP in a division that has done record sales (just in it's bracket competing against Dell, mostly) and said that their design line process is normally about 3 years from inception to final product. If they work under the gun, it's 2 years, best. I asked him if he could ever design a totally new product and get it to market in a year, and he said that would be insane without an army of workers and the best luck in the world. Considering the time they had, and how solid this product is, I feel very confident about where HP and Palm are going down the road. Give people some time to update webOS 3.0, and I think a lot of the software issues we have will be going away soon.
That all said, if you have questions, please ask. I may be a new member but I've been a webOS power user for a while now.
Finally, has anyone had any luck finding a case and touchstone at a store somewhere? I'm in Chicago and can't find anyone locally that carries it. Are there Walmart stores that have these? I really want one both badly.