Early Reviews of the HP TouchPad Not Good

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Several of the usual heavyweight tech journalists have posted their reviews of the HP TouchPad, which is officially released tomorrow in the US. Let me know if this sounds familiar – the early reviews for this latest potential iPad rival are not looking good.

Although the TouchPad is getting a lot of praise for its OS and attractive UI, it is also getting labeled as just a ‘mediocre tablet’ and worse. Apple Insider has a good roundup of early reviews, and I’ve read others that are similar. Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal says the TouchPad is ‘just no match for the iPad’.

Some of the reasons early reviewers are knocking the TouchPad include:

— Its weight – it’s substantially heavier than the iPad 2 and even weighs more than the original iPad. Mossberg says it is ‘bulbous and heavy’.

— Lack of apps – it has only 300 apps that are optimized for tablet. The iPad hit 100,000 apps this week.

— Poor battery life – Mossberg says it lasts only 60% as long as the iPad’s.

No rear camera and no camera for taking picture or videos – the front-facing camera is only usable for video chat.

— Poor Performance: Mossberg found he had to reboot the device periodically to ‘keep it from getting too sluggish’. David Pogue of The New York Times was even more scathing on the TouchPad’s performance:

It supposedly has a blazing-fast chip inside, but you wouldn’t know it. When you rotate the screen, it takes the screen two seconds to match — an eternity in tablet time …  Apps can take a long time to open; the built-in chat app, for example, takes seven seconds to appear. Animations are sometimes jerky, reactions to your finger swipes sometimes uncertain.

Yikes. This sounds like yet another iPad competitor that will end up being classed as ‘rushed to market’ or not quite ready for prime-time despite being over a year behind the initial release of the iPad. And the TouchPad is the one tablet that struck me as the most likely genuine rival for the iPad. It may well still be, but it certainly sounds like it is not off to a flying start.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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