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  1. cgk
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       #1  
    Now obviously we've had reviews of the touchpad in the past but those have been from the perspective of people who actually wanted a WebOS tablet or more simply a tablet and were willing to pay full price for it. As far back as last week, I was saying to people that I had no use for a tablet and couldn't work out why I'd buy 400 for one. Then the Touchpad hit 89 and away we go.

    Here are some of my first thoughts as a cheapskate users


    Initial impressions of the device

    On taking it out of the box, my first impressions were that it's a sturdy if chunky piece of kit. The screen is very bright and clear however it's an absolutely nightmare for fingerprints - however you'll only notice those when the screen is off.

    Initial set-up

    Very straight forward to do except for a minor problem when I tried to add a credit card to the app store - it simply would not accept any of the ones I tried. After a few hours, I re-tried and it just seemed to work. The adding of my various accounts (Photobucket, Skype, Google*, corporate exchange, facebook) was easy to do and it started pulling in information straight away -however it's a shame that it does not seem to support Picasa? (I have all of my photos there).

    However I think for many of the type of people who will be buying this for 89, they will completely miss that if they go into 'accounts' and add accounts it will pull the information they require. I spoke to one person yesterday who had completely missed this.

    Cards and swiping

    A very straight forward metaphor that I think a lot of people will really like when they get use to it. However, I had quite a few two many card errors (yes I'd updated the OS), so I've found it is best to keep things to three or four cards.

    Browser

    The Browser is ok, I really wouldn't say more than that - it's functional but slow and I notice it has a problem where fonts are often displayed as distorted. It's also not clear to me how I'll make bookmarks - I'm sure I am missing something obvious. Moreover, I notice on a lot of sites (Precentral included), I have to keep clearing the cache otherwise it displays an old version of the page - not particularly helpful on a talk forum!

    Apps

    Honestly I could only find two or three apps I'd want to download and only one of those are paid apps. However I'm not sure that is a big problem because for a device that cost me 89, I'm not going to be spending 5 or the like on apps that might have no future.

    In regards to some of the software already on the device:

    * Adobe PDF reader is very slow compared to other devices, very slow.

    * Calender is nice and clear and it's great how you can turn on and off very sources - however I can see no way to put it into a agenda view *unless* you put it into exhibition mode?

    * Email client is nice and very functional - had no problems at all with it.

    * Facebook works well and is a really nice client - something that is going to be important to a lot of cheapskate users - however Facebook is having a big revamp in it's functionality this week, so it will be interesting to see if this breaks and is not updated. Additionally, the exhibition mode for facebook is really really nice.

    Preware

    Originally I was going to run the device stock for a week but then saw a thread here that indicated how easy it was to install preware. It took me literally five minutes to install it and start applying performance patches. For someone from an android background, this is many times simpler for the average user than what you have to do there.

    I also then overclocked the device to 1.5ghz and it really makes a difference to the general experience of using the device. Before doing this, the device would often be unresponsive, it would simply freeze for a couple of seconds.

    Touchstone

    I don't have one - I'm simply too cheap to spend 50% of the cost of the tablet on a stand.

    Intital conclusions

    At the start, I said that I had no interest in tablets and I think that's still the case. For 89, even if it is completely unsupported going forward by HP (and I'm guessing for legal reasons, they will keep the servers on during the warranty period), as long as I get six months use out of it, I'll be happy. I can see it being used mainly for reading Pdfs in my office and browsing the internet while I'm on the sofa. However, after this breaks, I still can't see myself paying upwards of 200 for a tablet - I'm simply too cheap to do so.

    However for 89, as long as you know what you are getting into, I think this is a fantastic bargain.





    * Just for any google users who might be caught out by this, if you have enabled two-factor authentication on your account, then you need to log into google and get a one time password rather than trying to use your regular password, otherwise like me, you'll be thinking "I'm sure I got my password right this time".
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  2. #2  
    Hi,

    I'm pretty much in the same position. I consider myself a pretty tech-addicted guy and used several smartphone operating systems in the past, including Symbian UIQ, Windows Mobile, iOS (on friends devices) and Android. However, I wasn't really considering buying a tablet - mainly because it simply seemed too expensive to me regarding the use I could imagine for it.

    Two days ago I received my Touchpad and began updating it and following this EXCELLENT guide how to apply some very useful tweaks: http://forums.precentral.net/hp-touc...ted-guide.html

    After playing a while with the OS I have to admit, that the OS itself is pretty good. I really like the E-Mail client, the browser and many more things. In this regard I cannot really confirm the aforementioned problems with the browser. Synergy is as well pretty good and started to sync most of my accouts immediately. The only thing I miss is a support for picasa syncing in the gallery.

    However, I noticed several flaws as well. I simply can't get several basic functions to work. One can argue with the cheap price, one can argue with the fact that the Touchpad was just released recently. Still, there are _today_ alternatives available that just provide these functions. The basic, non-OS-addicted user will simply not care how much potential a OS might have, but whether a device provides certain functions easily or not. Some of the things I miss are:

    - a decent eBook reader. A tablet simply HAS TO have a decent eBook reader. I just can't understand why HP didn't provide one preinstalled from the beginning on which would provide ePub support etc... The App Catalog doesn't really provide solutions, as pReader seems to me more as a workaround than a smooth and great eBook reader.

    - support for read it later. Why is there no real solution to implement something into the browser? One very simple idea would be to add one menupoint to the "share" button right next to the adress bar. However, decent touchpad apps with RIL offline support are not available as well.

    - no ability to log out of the facebook app or to switch accounts. Personally, I would expect a device that will be used by several different persons in one household to offer a multi-user solution. But I had to find out, that other tablets don't offer this neither (though there's a patch for jailbreaked iPads). So I won't complain too much. But it simply has to be possible to easily switch between facebook accounts. I just can't log off. This is especially bad, as the browser doesn't display all functions on the facebook website correctly (e.g. if you open a picture, you can't painlessly scroll down to a thread of comments).

    - support for downloading every filetype. The browser justwouldn't let me download a digital newspaper I have subscribed to, which is provided in ePub format.

    - a decent PDF viewer. Adobe reader simply won't render the PDF in high quality when zooming in. I tried to view the newspaper I subscribed to in the PDF version (as there is neither a decent eBook reader nor the ability to download the ePub file with the built-in browser) - it looks good in the overview but is barely unreadable when zooming in. On my PC it shows up brilliantly sharp.

    All of this doesn't render the device useless or not a bargain for 99 EUR. Anyhow, I can understand why people weren't too much going for the Touchpad when it was priced similarly to alternatives (iPad, Xoom, Galaxy Tab etc.). You really have to love the OS to make the flaws up. Maybe devs will start developing more apps and solutions now that the tablet sold better than sliced bread. But HP should simply have taken care of things like these before they started selling the pad.

    Regards,
    Alphajoe
  3. #3  
    an ereader alpha version can be found in preware

    there are patches to the browser found in the browser--certainly for instapaper and I think also for read it later but am not sure.

    there are google reader apps also that work with instapaper (touchfeeds, may also work with read it later)
    glimpse works with read it later (not sure if it works with instapaper)

    I have a ton of bookmarks on my browser and it works well, look for a flag on the righthand side top and press on it

    you'll find the precentral folks helpful and none of us knew everything about the devices or apps in the first week, even in the first month or two, just ask away before assuming the device doesn't have the functionality you wish.
  4. #4  
    Are you unable to install the Kindle app? I'm a nook user myself, so I don't know if the Kindle app will let you read ePubs or not.

    Random thoughts:

    For 99 bucks, maybe $150, this is a great deal and a great tablet (even if nothing is ever updated). Once you start inching higher in price, it seems to make more sense to just save a little more and go with an alternative or a laptop.

    I do enjoy the cards for the most part. Sometimes though, when using the browser, some of the cards don't seem to update if you change focus. Like I'll open a link to read later and switch back to my original card. I'll either have to wait for the link to continue to open or refresh the page. Probably more a shortcoming of the browser than anything else.

    I haven't really looked into this yet, but would be cool if for Exhibition mode there was some sort of visualiser when you play music.

    The facebook app is the best facebook app I've used so far.

    I hope someone manages to open up the ability to pair the TouchPad with a phone to non-webOS phones. Since I'm sure it's baked into the OS, it's probably not likely.

    Printing on the other hand, why limit this to HP printers? I understand why, but I'm not going to buy a new printer to go with the new tablet. And if I'm going to be bringing my tablet along with me, it'd be nice to be able to print to a wireless printer without having to worry about what brand it is.
  5. cgk
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       #5  
    thanks for the feedback guys - So did anyone come up with a fix to the Picasa problem that both Joe and I have? It would be great to be able to pull in my Picasa photos.
  6. #6  
    No fix for the picasa, but now having overclocked it you should have no more "Too Many Cards" errors. To a certain degree at least.
  7. #7  
    Suggest spending 50% of the cost of the tablet for the "stand" that charges my $0.02
    dsalonius likes this.
  8. cgk
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       #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by sledge007 View Post
    Suggest spending 50% of the cost of the tablet for the "stand" that charges my $0.02
    Hah - I might do.
  9. #9  
    My app Slide RSS will pull in your Picasa photos via their RSS address. Just look for the RSS link on any Picasa page and use that address for a new feed in Slide RSS. A sample Picasa feed will look like:

    Code:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/data/feed/base/featured?alt=rss&kind=photo&access=public&slabel=featured&hl=en_US
    You'll get highly configurable Slideshows in both App mode and Exhibition mode, and the ability to switch your wallpaper automatically.

    If you use Instapaper (similar to Read It Later), you can try out Paper Mache. There are even patches for the Browser to send articles over to Paper Mache.
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  10. #10  
    Kindle doesn't seem available, can't find it in the App Catalog. Maybe this is geographically restricted? I'm sitting in Germany right now.

    Regarding the patches for the browser: I could find one patch to add an "add to Paper Mache" option to the browser. Unfortunately I couldn't find any patch for read it later, though the App description of "Relego" (a read it later client for WebOS) says there should be one.

    Hmmm, hope to figure this out. To read news would be my main purpose for the pad.

    Regards,
    Alphajoe
  11. #11  
    Option might be ebay
  12. #12  
    Decent review, thank you for taking the time to write it up.
  13. mike5's Avatar
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    #13  
    Don't know if Kindle is available in Germany or not, but mine is located on the 1st page of HP installed apps vs downloaded. Same page as Adobe Reader, Facebook, Calculator, Clock, etc. It works fairly well so I hope you have it.

    I haven't had as many cards open as I did on my phone, and I over clocked a few days in, but I have NEVER had the "too many cards issue" on the TouchPad. I know others have, though so hopefully, the over clocking fixed this for those that have seen it.
  14. Jman1313's Avatar
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    #14  
    Also, for slow browser issues, check your wi-fi security settings. The Touchpad doesn't like WPA (TKIP) security...switch it to WPA2 and your browsing should be better (assuming this is your issue...it certainly improved browsing speed dramatically for me).
  15. #15  
    for the ebook reader why not download the kindle app, its free on the app catalog.

    regarding the e-newspaper, what pAper is this? There are apps for the big newspapers in the catalog too

    the most important thing is update to 3.0.2
    My flickr Pictures taken by the Pre (pre plus and pre3)
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by appsotutely View Post
    My app Slide RSS will pull in your Picasa photos via their RSS address. Just look for the RSS link on any Picasa page and use that address for a new feed in Slide RSS. A sample Picasa feed will look like:

    Code:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/data/feed/base/featured?alt=rss&kind=photo&access=public&slabel=featured&hl=en_US
    You'll get highly configurable Slideshows in both App mode and Exhibition mode, and the ability to switch your wallpaper automatically.

    If you use Instapaper (similar to Read It Later), you can try out Paper Mache. There are even patches for the Browser to send articles over to Paper Mache.
    A plug: This is an absolutely fantastic app. Can't remember if you've done an HD version of Pane Free, but I love using these two apps together on my Veer.

    I never thought of using the picasa rss feed. Brilliant.
  17. #17  
    I had occasional Too Many Cards errors on the TP, which puzzles me, because I can keep an obscene number of apps open on the Veer without a hiccup. Any webOS people out there who might know why?
  18. #18  
    Thanks for the Feedback. As a good article sharing solution between all my devices will be one of the main features, I decided to try instapaper out and completely switch away from read it later. For instapaper there's an App (Paper Mache) available and a browser patch in preware (called "Add to Paper Mache"). After subscribing to Instapaper (Paper Mache doesn't work with free accounts), getting InstaFetch for my Android phone and an Instapaper extension for Google Chrome I think everything works now as it should.

    Kindle is definitely not available for my in the App Catalog. Don't have a clue why. I also tried the new native pReader App from preware which seems to be more stable. However, it's still no real solution as the bookmarks and jumping to articles doesn't work for me and the App seems still pretty buggy to me. What do I complain, it's in Alpha stage. However, it means I need to look around for another solution to read my subscribed digital newspaper. It's available in .epub, .mobi and PDF format - of which I can use none without hassle right now...

    EDIT: johnj2803, its "Die Zeit", one of the biggest German weekly newspapers. Unfortunately it's not available as an App.

    Regarding the Picasa integration I'm whondering whether the picasa API is publicly available. In this case it might not be too complicated for someone familiar with the system to write a patch...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nychotxxx View Post
    Option might be ebay
    Taking objective critique regarding a device a little to personal?

    Best regards,
    Alphajoe
  19. #19  
    I just noticed a Kobo app was available for webOS. The Kobo app on Android and iOS supports sideloading of ebooks. Might be worth giving it a try. Should support at least ePub. I think it might also support PDF.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by grappler View Post
    A plug: This is an absolutely fantastic app. Can't remember if you've done an HD version of Pane Free, but I love using these two apps together on my Veer.

    I never thought of using the picasa rss feed. Brilliant.
    Thanks for the compliment! Multi Pane is the paid version of Pane Free and is currently in the review process for the update which will add TouchPad & Pre3 compatibility. You can go to the Multi Pane thread to take a look at some of the screenshots on the TouchPad. If you already use Multi Pane on phones, you'll be able to use it on the TouchPad without paying a second time.

    Quote Originally Posted by grappler View Post
    I had occasional Too Many Cards errors on the TP, which puzzles me, because I can keep an obscene number of apps open on the Veer without a hiccup. Any webOS people out there who might know why?
    TMC errors are related to memory problems, so if you use apps that have a memory leak, you can see the TMC error with just one card. If you don't happen to be using any of those apps, you can put up a bunch of cards without ever seeing the problem. There's a tip on the front page showing that some PDK apps may not be getting enough memory, so if you apply the given fix, it may reduce the frequency of the TMC problem.
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