Channel 5

HP Slate 21

Thursday 12 December 2013

G-Rating

Rating of 2

The basics

Meet the HP Slate 21, a massive 21-inch, all-in-one desktop that brings Android to the big screen. We took the huge touchscreen hybrid for a spin to see if it can really replace your computer, or find a place on your kitchen counter. Read on to find out what we made of it in our full review.

Bluetooth is back: The second coming of an age old tech!

Read our review of the Kobo Arc 10HD

The good

At first glance, you probably wouldn’t notice this is powered by Android. The HP Slate 21 looks just like a desktop, with its 21-inch, 1080p IPS panel touchscreen, but it runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The screen is brilliantly bright, with superb viewing angles, plus you can tilt it at various angles you want too, using the kickstand. It's easy to use while standing on a table top or as a smart TV of sorts viewed flat from the other side of the room.

The machine looks great, a solid slab of white glossy plastic with a silver trim and sturdy build quality. There’s a bevy of ports on the rear, including power, two USB sockets and an ethernet connection. On the side you’ll find the SD card slot, headphone jack and another USB port.

A front-facing 720p camera is ideal for video chats and Skype calls, while underneath is a wide speaker grill which gives off surprisingly decent DTS sound. The Slate is powered by a speedy Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor, which means browsing through Android is a snap and games run very well, too. HP has made hardly any changes from the stock Android experience, so the device boots up and wakes up quickly. If there's space in yours, we could see this working well in the kitchen, providing just enough computing power to pull off quick web searches, play YouTube videos and browse recipes.

The bad

Unfortunately, the negatives seriously outweigh the positives. The HP Slate 21 only packs 8GB of storage, which isn’t much for a desktop, though HP has softened the blow with 25GB of free cloud storage from Box. You can add more storage with an SD card or an external hard drive, but you really shouldn’t have to.

And while HP has armed the Slate with a speedy Tegra 4 processor, it’s paired up with a paltry 1GB of RAM, which means multitasking is a tedious affair. You’ll often find yourself frustrated with the Slate as you try to go from app to app. Oddly enough, HP has picked a processor that has excellent power management, but it doesn’t need it, as the Slate’s always hooked up to the mains, which makes us think HP could have added something beefier under the hood.

While its size and screen resolution are perfect for entertainment, you can forget about motion-based games, as there’s no accelerometer onboard. Even if there was, it’s too heavy to wave around: trying to play a round of Angry Birds Go! with tilt controls would be laughable. On top of that, its touchscreen is laggy, making precision-based games a tough endeavour. Playing Cut The Rope was painful, and we even found ourselves pressing the wrong hyperlink when web browsing - that or the screen didn’t register a tap at all. You can also forget about tapping buttons near the edges of the screen, as the bezels get in the way more often than not. As it’s a scaled-up tablet, you’re delivered websites that are optimised for mobiles by default, which makes web browsing frustrating, especially as there’s so much screen real estate to play with. You can choose to view full versions of websites, but you really shouldn’t have to.

The HP Slate 21 doesn’t come with its own keyboard and mouse either, so you’ll have to supply your own if you don’t want to be stuck with the touchscreen. And using external peripherals is a challenge in itself. Each app handles additional inputs differently, so you might find yourself tapping the screen more often than not. To make matters worse, you can't just use this as a budget monitor - no HDMI-in means you can't hook up a Now TV Box or Mac Mini to it either.

Read our review of the Nexus 5!

AllSeen Alliance: Tech world's plan to make the smart home a reality!

The bottom line

HP’s attempt at an over-sized Android device that acts as a PC is full of faults. The bottom line is it just doesn’t work that well, but at least it's fairly inexpensive at £329. The 1080p display looks great, but to actually use, it’s just frustrating. Overall, it’s a valiant and interesting effort from HP, but it’s one that falls very short indeed.

Currys Top Products

HP Slate 21 is tagged with HP, HP Slate 21, Android and all-in-one. Select a tag (HP, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (5)

Leave a comment

Mark Robinson

What world are you living in? i know you review high end Gadgets but in these Harsh times of Austerity and little wage increases in the last five years this is not inexpensive. Some times the Gadget Show is too Snobby for it's own good. Seriously flawed product too.

Report as inappropriate
Murat Erbakar

It is wonderfull i think. I bought one. Best price is here: www.hpslate21.com

Report as inappropriate

This comment has been removed.

This comment has been removed.

glyn

I have two now! and it does come with a keyboard and a mouse, also didnt really notice the lag issues you state - perhaps the android updates fixed this? for less than £200 this is a fantastic bit of kit - comes with office, connects to a printer, plays BBC iPlayer etc - what more can you want? brilliant value - and if you really want to use windows, you can remote desktop to a windows PC from it. I don think it was designed to play motion games, it was just a lower price version of the windows based touch screen PCs that HP sell

Report as inappropriate

Join Channel 5

Creating an account is free, will only take a few moments and will allow you to enjoy the full benefits of 5FWD and Channel 5:

  • Create lists of your most wanted and owned products
  • Leave article comments without having to re-enter your login details
  • Get updated with all the latest gadget and car news

Leave a comment

Please note that we will not expose your email, but we might use it to email you back. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.
* mandatory field

  • AKG Y50 headphones

    When you think of fashion headphones, you're likely to think straight away to Dr Dre's mammoth Beats…

  • Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

    Are you ready to ditch your point and shoot for just a cameraphone? Samsung's betting on you…

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 3

    Microsoft claims the Surface Pro 3 is “the tablet that can replace your laptop”. With a 12-inch…

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

    Meet the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4, the South Korean tech maker's latest flagship slate, and it's…

  • Nvidia Shield Tablet

    Last year's Nvidia Shield handheld games system was a true innovation, offering fantastic internal…

  • Sony Xperia M2

    Sony's flagship Xperia Z2 is one of the most feature packed phones on the market, but it does come…

  • Pringles Party Speaker

    When you think of speakers, you wouldn't think of Pringles, right? The snack company is popping out…

  • Energy Sistem BT5+ Bluetooth headphones

    Meet the Energy Sistem BT5+ headphones, a low-cost pair of headphones that are capable of ditching…

  • 8Bitdo NES30 Gamepad

    Bluetooth joypads aren't a new invention in the smartphone scene, but we can assure you that you've…

  • Alcatel OneTouch Pop C1

    Meet the Alcatel OneTouch Pop C1, the smaller sibling to the One Touch Pop S3. Once again, there's a…