HP ElitePad 900 Review

As tablets have become more versatile, their use in business has grown. Now, carrying over their years of experience building business-friendly computers, HP has made the leap into the world of business tablets.

First attempts are often a bit rough around the edges, but the HP ElitePad 900 sure makes for a stylish debut. Of course, aesthetics only count for so much.

The ElitePad offers an impressive range of accessories and a beautiful display, but mediocre performance and battery life compared to tablets in its class make it tough to justify the hefty price tag.

Hands-On Impressions

The ElitePad 900 is an impressive-looking piece of hardware. The machined aluminum body, measuring in at 10.25-by-7.0-by-0.36 inches, strikes an excellent balance between durability and aesthetics.

It may not be the most rugged tablet on the market, but there’s little doubt it’ll stand up to just about anything an on-the-go professional can throw at it. It survived the strenuous MIL-STD-810G military testing, so ordinary use should present no problem.

Another advantage to the aluminum body is weight. At 1.37 pounds, even long-duration use remains reasonably comfortable.

Tablet Tour

Compared to tablets such as the Dell Latitude 10, a tour around the ElitePad 900 is rather brief. The standard power and lock button, headphone jack and orientation lock are perched atop the device.

On the left side is a volume rocker, while the right side sports a small cover that conceals SIM and microSD slots. Rather than the typical placement along the device’s edges, however, HP has moved everything just around the corner to the back panel. It’s unusual, but the placement feels quite natural.

Atop the back panel is the NFC chip, marked off by a strip of black rubber. The bottom includes stereo speakers and dock connectors. It all works well enough, but the lack of connectivity options is downright disappointing.

Those who require USB or other ports will be forced to purchase a docking station or one of several protective Smart Jacket covers that provide additional ports.

Resolving the Details

Compared to tablets based on beefier hardware, Atom-based tablets generally suffer from a distinct disadvantage in resolution. At 1,280-by-800 pixels, the ElitePad is no exception. The display is still reasonably sharp, however, and it should be more than adequate for a business environment.

The 400-nit IPS panel is plenty bright, and color and contrast are great. The screen glare is thankfully kept to a minimum, and viewing angles are quite good as well.

Under the Hood

As with every other Atom-based tablet, the HP ElitePad 900 packs a 1.8-gigahertz Atom Z2760 processor and two gigabytes of RAM. Storage options include 32 and 64-gigabyte solid-state drives.

Surprisingly, similar specifications don’t necessarily produce similar results. Real-world performance is at least tolerable under most circumstances, but the ElitePad consistently lags behind compared to tablets such as the Latitude 10 and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2.

Battery life is acceptable, but it pales in comparison to the best this class has to offer.

Tablet Roundup

The HP ElitePad 900 can certainly sell itself on aesthetics and build quality, and few tablets surpass it in this regard. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 offers similarly high quality, though the design may not be preferable for everyone.

The Dell Latitude 10 and Acer Iconia W700 both suffer from bulky, somewhat uninspired designs, and neither feel as sturdy as the ElitePad. The Iconia W700 shines on the strength of its brilliant display, which is easily the best of the bunch.

Its impressive specifications also deliver great performance, while the ElitePad 900 produces unexpectedly poor results. Despite the fantastic design, accessories, and display, the ElitePad’s poor performance and lack of built-in connectivity make it a mediocre choice.