When you talk about business grade tablets, there aren’t a lot of choices, but HP’s ElitePad 1000 G2 looks to provide a dose of shiny silver aluminium professionalism to those who aren’t at all into Lenovo’s black ThinkPad style.
Made for business, HP’s ElitePad 1000 G2 brings with a style that will seem familiar to anyone who has ever played with a tablet, and yet some insides that will draw the professional folk closer.
First there’s a 10.1 inch display running the Full HD compatible resolution of 1920×1200, sitting behind Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 and supporting an optional wireless digitiser pen.
Underneath this screen, you’ll find a quad-core Intel Atom Z3795 clocked at 1.6GHz, paired with 4GB RAM and either 64 or 128GB of storage depending on the model you end up getting (our review model was a 64GB version). Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 runs here out of the box.
A microSD slot is included in the tablet, able to expand on the storage provided using this slot.
Wireless options are catered for with 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi as well as Bluetooth, and there’s even an option for mobile data in the HP ElitePad with a 4G LTE modem included also supporting GPS.
Cameras are taken care of by way of an 8 megapixel rear camera with a flash, and a 2.1 megapixel 1080p equivalent camera on the front without a flash.
Tablets tend not to have many buttons and few ports, and the HP ElitePad 1000 G2 is exactly what we expect, with two buttons up on the top edge for power and rotation lock switch (not technically a button), a button on the back for the volume rocker, and a Windows button along the bottom edge of the display to bring you back to the Start screen, while the ports include a 3.5mm headset jack up top, a proprietary charge and dock connector along the bottom edge, and a slot at the back for microSD and the microSIM.
Let’s talk positives first, because the ElitePad 1000 G2 isn’t bad at all if you’re after a mobile computer with good looks, a great screen, and a decent amount of performance.
First is the aesthetics, and it’s hard not to see HP’s G2 as being modelled off the original Apple iPad because really, that’s what this tablet looks like, although it has taken some changes to the body.
The ElitePad is obviously a little thinner and shaped more for modern design, so it tapers off towards the edges more than Apple’s first-generation tablet, but the thin aluminium design with similar obvious edges are there, and while it’s a design Apple has since retired, HP’s incarnation looks good, and it’s comfy to hold too, thanks to that solid aluminium casing.
It’s almost all metal too, by the way, except for the top where some of the casing is plastic, likely for the antennas for WiFi and 4G, since both are included in this tablet.
Over to the screen, and since we’ve already complained once this week about a sub-par tablet screen, it’s lovely to see a company paying attention and using an excellent panel in the same size.
Here in this tablet, HP has provided a Full HD 1920×1200 display, providing close to Retina pixel count at 224 pixels per inch on the 10.1 inch screen, with excellent viewing angles providing a lot of colour from most viewpoints.
This is the sort of screen tablets should be coming with at a minimum, and HP has even made it support touch technology, with an optional accessory coming in the form of a stylus, which is positive for those people who need it.
Performance also feels positive here, with the 4GB RAM and Intel Atom Z3795 providing enough speed to let you get some work done and plenty of web surfing.
For the most part, we had no problems jumping between apps and using it for browsing the internet. Office and productivity apps should be fine here, too, though the screen isn’t quite fast enough for typing on, an issue we’ll get to shortly.
Fortunately, the battery is solid, and while six to seven hours of consistent use are possible, you might even find it’s better as one of those “use occasionally” gadgets, providing several days of use if you’re only using it every so often, which we found in our test.
But if you like ports for using a tablet like a laptop, you are, sadly, out of luck.
You see, the HP ElitePad 1000 G2 has more in common with the first generation iPad beyond that slick metal slightly bevelled design which is, as we’ve mentioned already, very similar.
It also sports a port at the bottom that is very proprietary and yet does its best impersonation of the original Apple iPod dock.
Unfortunately, it is not that old school connection which was replaced by Apple a few years back.
Rather, it merely looks like it and serves HP as a way of connecting dock accessories or charging the tablet.
If you’ve ever read any of our phone or tablet reviews, you’ll know that we’re not huge fans of proprietary connections, and HP’s not-quite-iPod-dock connector ranks pretty highly as it means you won’t be able to ever forget the power charger and find one easily, unless you work colleagues have the exact same device.
It also means you’re out of luck for expanding the ports of the ElitePad 1000 G2, as there’s no microUSB or regular USB or HDMI or anything really on the tablet itself.
HP has included a converter to take you from the proprietary dock port to a USB port in the box, but you’ll need to remember to bring this with you, otherwise — yes — you’re out of luck.
There’s also no option for a keyboard, or not one that we’ve seen, anyway.
There is a dock that you can get, an optional accessory that will act as a port replicator and turn that proprietary port into something a little more useful, and with it you can keep a keyboard plugged in, but it’s not the same as the made-for-purpose keyboard cases we see for the numerous other tablets out there, including one HP’s ElitePad 1000 G2 competes directly with.
That means you’ll be typing with the onscreen keyboard only, and while Microsoft’s update to Windows 8.1 has made this a lot better than under Windows 8 regular, the combination of the touchscreen HP is using and the Intel Atom processor means it won’t be as fast as your fingers if you are, in fact, supersonic on a physical keyboard.
If you are like this — you speedy typer, you — expect to see numerous errors as letters and words crash together. We sure did, and put this review through a fair amount of editing to make sure there wasn’t an abundance of made-up smushed together words for your perusal.
Cost is one final dilemma, because at $999, HP’s ElitePad G2 1000 is not a cheap tablet, not by a long shot.
To its credit, HP has provided 4G access, and it’s in a tablet that looks good, feels excellent, and doesn’t come off as thick to the fingers, which we’re sure some professional-types out there will appreciate, but this is a little over a grand for an Atom-based tablet with no accessories boxed in and 64GB of total storage, but under 20GB available to you.
That’s a price that goes beyond Apple’s own iPad benchmark, and while the two can’t technically be compared, we’re sure you’ll be thinking about it when taking that wallet out.
We know we would.
HP’s take on the business tablet is a pretty one, and we’re reminded of a slicker take of Apple’s first generation iPad, albeit with an operating system that will let you get a lot more done if you’re in the mood for more than just content consumption.
We also like the screen and the construction, and if you’re after Windows 8 with 4G, you should definitely look this way, but just beware that the price HP charges here isn’t terribly easy on the wallet, fetching $200 more than Lenovo’s own effort which even manages to outdo HP in some ways.