07/07/2011, 08:36 AM
HP TouchPad benchmarked against the Apple iPad 2
Having had the TouchPad for about 24 hours and being a regular user of the iPad2, I though it might be useful to share my thoughts about their relative strengths and weaknesses.
IPad's is brighter. Some have speculated that HP defaults to lower brightness to save battery. I don't care for the auto brightness on either unit, but the TouchPad's is more noticeable when enabled. Otherwise equal.
Call it a tie but consider battery life
Numbers on the keyboard are a huge improvement by the TP over the iPad. That said, I have to use the large setting on the TP's keyboard to type with any speed.
Auto-correct is a mixed bag. The TP has a better method to reject the auto correct - simply backspace and space again to reject the auto-correct vs. Ipad's requirement to wander up and tag an x - but it doesn't have contractions, like didn't, pre-programmed. It also seems a bit less capable of recognizing typos.
Call it a tie.
OS / Multitasking
This is where the TP really shines. It's possible to leave a video running, launch a game and play that, jump into mail or a browser and back to the video all smoothly and intuitively. iOS can't touch it. WebOS on the TouchPad, however is noticeably less responsive and more laggy than iOS.
Win TouchPad, but please make it snappier HP!
Both the iPad and TouchPad have standalone email clients that support POP3/IMAP and, most importantly, SSL/TLS. It's amazing how many other devices require your email to go through some other intermediary like your ISP's BBES or Gmail, etc. For those of use in the corporate world, direct connection to our corporate IMAP over SSL is critical and both the iPad and TouchPad deliver this.
Overall the TouchPad email client is better in that you can work on multiple drafts at the same time without uploading them to your IMAP server and then reopening them as you have to on the iPad. The TouchPad client has oddities though: sometimes it only fetches headers and doesn't display the message body when clicked until you quit email and restart it and sometimes the preview of the message body will display some of the HTML formatting information instead of the actual body of the message.
Win TouchPad on functionality iPad2 on reliability
The included browser for the TouchPad has one glaring advantage over Safari and the third party browsers for the iPad: Flash. What it lacks, again like the email client, is reliability. Sometimes pages only load partially or won't load until you quit and restart the browser or toggle your WiFi connection. Feature wise the TP's browser lacks on really key feature, IMHO, and that's "open link in background." This should be trivial to add (it would be open in background card for the TP), but I really miss it as I read forums where I'll open multiple thread in the background and then browse them one-by-one. Also, Safari isn't great but iCabMobile (a paid App for the iPad2) is very, very good.
Win TouchPad on Flash, iPad on the rest
Case, Hardware, Weight, etc.
This is an easy win for the iPad2. The HP's weight isn't an issue for me, but it's plastic case just seems cheap next to the aluminum of the iPad2. Yes, the TP has much better speakers, but I almost never use speakers as the vast majority of my tablet use is on long flights where headphones work much better. I also find the TP to be rather thick compared to the iPad2.
Again, the iPad2 wins this one easily. I've been using the iPad2 since about the time of its release and had a total of one app freeze and never had a system reboot spontaneously. The TouchPad has spontaneously rebooted on me three times in 24 hours - not good.
- TouchPad needs a QuickOffice with editing capability. The iPad 2 has Apple's (paid) office suite and it's good.
- Touchpad can print natively with no additional app; iPad 2 cannot.
- iPad 2 has a (paid) ssh app, Touchpad needs one.
- Neither has OpenVPN support (iPad 2 has it if you jailbreak it and pay)
- iPad has a bunch of video player apps to support all manner of formats. I'm not sure which ones the TouchPad supports
- Calendars are about equal
- Contacts are about equal
- Skype: this is an interesting one…iPad has to use the iPhone app for now which is small but works…the TouchPad has Skype integrated into "calls" and "messaging" which can be strange since it's not a standalone app.
- Messaging on the TouchPad is great
Win TouchPad for included apps
Win iPad2 for paid apps
EDIT: This was added after the fact but very important: Notifications
iOS is particularly braindead with respect to notifications. HP and WebOS get this right. I can't say how maddening it is to be trying to work on an email and while people are sending you skype text messages in iOS. You get interrupted completely by a middle-of-the-screen announcement. WebOS politely notifies you in the upper right-hand corner without interrupting.
Win (big) TouchPad
I like the TouchPad's ability to work without a computer. The iPad requires iTunes.
The TouchPad is considerably more fun to use thanks to webOS and multitasking but it's also far less stable than the iPad 2. It has the feeling of an early-release linux distro - it churns and lags at times and sometimes spontaneously reboots like it's not quite a final release...like it's beta software.
I plan to keep it for now in the hopes that HP quickly release an update to fix the stability and bugs. My next international trip is in nine days and I'll likely take the iPad2 since it's more of a known and has the longer battery life (one flight is over 14 hours), but I really hope the HP and its TouchPad can get its act together quick as it's just that much more fun to work with than the giant iPod Touch that is the iPad 2.