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HP Slate 500 Tablet PC- Very Negative Review



The HP Slate 500 has had a pretty rough road so far. GBM co-founder Rob Bushway got his hands on the device and was not pleased with it at all. He summed up his feelings with a headline that simply reads “HP Slate 500 Tablet PC – Don’t Waste Your Money.”

Rob didn’t like the device’s build quality, slow processor or carrying case. The inking experience was horrible, with the N-trig digitizer to blame. You can read Rob’s full review over at

When GottaBeMobile got started, Rob focused almost exclusively on Tablet PCs and has reviewed countless tablets, so anyone considering the HP Slate 500 should consider his words before buying one.

In the age of iPads and Android tablets, it’s easy to forget about Tablet PCs. While I really enjoy my iPad 2 and look forward to the Honeycomb ecosystem maturing, there are a lot of folks that want or need Windows applications and full desktop browsers on their tablets. There are of course compromises no matter which direction you take when it comes to tablets, but it’s very disappointing to hear that HP let a tablet of such low quality out in the wild.




  1. GoodThings2Life

    05/10/2011 at 1:40 am

    I completely agree with the processor and NTrig digitizer. They absolutely kill the experience. I’m also not fond of the glass screen… it just doesn’t have a good writing feel to it. I think the screen resolution and size wasn’t that great either… just not enough “room” to write, but then I never liked smaller notepads either, lol.

    • MichaelJCollins 07

      09/29/2011 at 4:13 pm

      do not buy this machine if you intend on using it every day.
      i used it normally for about 6 month

      and then my screen started acting funky IE the curser would
      jump around all by its self after trying a few thing with tech support. me an
      hp figured it would be best to send it in to them . so, they sent me  a box and i mailed it in. a few days later i
      called in to see how everything was going. they 
      forwarded me to the billing department and told me that since there
      where “deep scratches on the screen that my warranty  was void and it would cost me 500+ dollars to
      have it repaired or i could by another coverage plan for 200+ and they
      would  fix  it for me. 
      i opted to have them send it back to me un-fixed  and since i did not allow them to do the
      repair i am now being billed  80+ dollars
      because “they checked it out”


      i  promise every one
      that reads this that i only used this thing with the stylus in a normal
      fashion. and i just received it back and all i see are minor scratches on the
      screen that are from the stylus.

      • Mark

        11/18/2011 at 7:36 am

        I would agree – I’ve been using the Slate now for about 3 months and in general, it’s an ok experience; the glass screen is way to susceptible to damage with a plastic pen (who thought this made any sense?).  As for the crazy movement of the cursor, I was having this too and dug around until I found the solution was to remove the N-trig software, reboot and reinstall it, works fine now (and I was thinking for awhile it was haunted).
        I only wish the pen would stop chewing up batteries so quickly – you now how hard it can be to find AAAA batteries?

  2. DNel

    05/10/2011 at 2:27 am

    Cutting corners by using sub-par processor and N-Trig (when I saw N-Trig it was an automatic “no buy”) makes for a tablet that gives a bad name to Tablet PC. Shame on HP. I agree with GT2L that the screen size for a real tablet has to be larger than 7″ tab size screen especially when windows-7 isn’t optimized for pen/touch input. If Microsoft were to add its tablet functions into Windows Phone 7 and put it on a tablet, 8.9″ or 10.1″ would definitely be a game changer (wishful thinking)

    • ChrisRS

      05/10/2011 at 3:09 am

      MS will do this. If history is a guide, Win Phone 7 will be in decline, Win Phone 10 will be a year late, and it will be announced immediatly after the release of WIndows 10 – to to released as with windows 11, or 12.

      MS sould get their act together and move NOW.
      WIN 8 IS TOO LATE!

      I don’t know what HP was thinking, but the hid the Slate 500 long enough that they certainly don’t look proud of it.

    • GoodThings2Life

      05/10/2011 at 1:32 pm

      FWIW, the one gripe I DON’T have with the HP Slate is Windows 7’s pen/touch input. I actually find it quite accurate on that point. It’s more about screen real-estate with the way applications are designed for higher resolutions that I have an issue with. :)

    • Scooter

      07/09/2011 at 3:25 pm

      The display on the HP Slate 500 is 8.9″.

  3. Bluedevil

    05/10/2011 at 8:38 am

    Rob, I used to follow your inking posts. I just purchased an HP Slate 500 and I’m not sure what to say. I definitely don’t like the NTrig (my last slate was a Dell Latitude). My unit’s construction is better than yours. The lack of a pen silo is very, very frustrating.

    The problem is that I need a windows 7 slate now; or at least something that I can read PDF journal articles on and make readable margin notes. Therefor I want/need it to be light enough to hold easily. I also need it to take a vodafone USB 3G modem stick as it will be my travel laptop.

    I would actually prefer an ipad2 in terms of form factor, but the lack of readable inking and powerpoint manipulation is a problem.

    I’d really like an alternative if yo know of one; the two I know of are the Fujitsu stylus which was just released and also has an NTrig digitizer. And the ASUS EP121 which is heavier and the 2 hour battery life seems insane to me.

    Your thoughts would be much appreciated. Otherwise I’m stuck/sticking with this for the near term.

    • Anonymous

      05/10/2011 at 10:30 am

      Bluedevil: I have my eye on Motion’s CL900 for roughly the same dollar.

      • Brianflys

        05/10/2011 at 3:29 pm

        The Motion CL900 is bigger and heavier, more expensive ($899 for only 30 GB), and most importantly, not here yet. I own an HP Slate 500 and find the build quality excellent, thin and light enought so I do not expect a pen slot (the case works fine for this) and it inks well in the pen mode. I like the option for touch (in the cockpit) and ink (at home or office) interface. Tablets are tradeoffs and it sounds like the tradeoffs in the HP Slate 500 just may not be what you are looking for.

        • Brianflys

          05/10/2011 at 3:35 pm

          Correction on the pricing. I was far too low. At the Allegiance site, the price of a CL900 with 2 GB ram, 60 GB SSD, and WWAN is…over $1200, with no dock. So it is much more expensive than the comparably equipped HP Slate 500 at $799 that comes with the dock.

      • Bluedevil

        05/10/2011 at 10:00 pm

        Thanks for that. I looked at it and it looks good, albeit a bit expensive. But I’d consider paying. My main question is that is suggests a capacitive touch screen with an option for an active pen. I thought this is similar to what the ipad is and therefor is not great for writing notes, especially in the margin of documents?

        • Steve S

          05/11/2011 at 2:45 am

          The CL900 uses an N-trig DuoSense digitizer…

  4. Steve S

    05/10/2011 at 1:09 pm

    “…the ASUS EP121 which is heavier and the 2 hour battery life seems insane to me…”

    …Let’s not get too carried away, here. The EP121’s battery life is more like 3.5 hours, not 2; and if you’re really hung up about that, carry an external battery. At web sites that STILL HAVE FORUMS, Asus users have discussed this to death! The Asus weighs in at about 2.5 lbs, which makes it about 1/2 lb lighter than the TC1100. The 12.1″ screen is a bit wider (in portrait) than the TC, but is significantly longer (2″), so I admit that some will find this an issue. Finally, the 2-part Wacom pen and touch system has a few issues. Just like N-trig, Wacom is struggling to find a good operational balance between their pen and touch experience. The pen inks well, but I have experienced periods of non-responsiveness while trying to click, double-click and drag. Wacom has some work to do. Touch response is excellent (but then, so is N-trig). My take, having daily expereince with both systems, is that Wacom is not quite as good as everyone seems to think, and N-trig is not as bad…

    • Anonymous

      05/10/2011 at 2:38 pm

      I imagine Wacom is still charging an arm + leg for their stuff and that’s why everyone and their mother is going thinner, cheaper N-trig. They should both forget about pens for a minute and get some finger hover action going.

  5. Joe D'Auria

    05/10/2011 at 4:20 pm

    I purchased one and returned it a week later. As others have stated, the inking is a joke. I was taking notes in OneNote only to have black lines start popping up everywhere. I ended up sticking with my 2740p which was a replacement for a 2730p. You can’t beat the inking on these machines.

    Insult to injury, the machine is incredibly slow and has all the other issues Rob discusses. For all the hype built up around this device, I can see why the larger computing community sees Windows based tablets as a failure.

  6. Alain Chappaz

    05/10/2011 at 5:47 pm

    The inking works fine. There is a critical digitizer setting where you have to pick Pen only, touch only, Auto or both – look in the Control Panel under N-Trig. Tiny little bit of tweaking and voila, zero issues with inking. I like the build quality. My only annoyance with the device is I find the viewing angles on the screen a bit weak and the maximum brightness could be improved. As to “wasting your money,” let’s remember that this is *not* a consumer tablet by any stretch of the imagination. It is a business tool, and the tradeoffs are oriented in that direction. As for the Motion CL900, given the price difference, I wasn’t willing to overlook the non-removable battery – though I was willing to do so for the Slate… since it’s a few hundred dollars cheaper. Ultimately, I think the dream of a consumer oriented *Windows* tablet has to be set aside for the time being… I bought this looking for a no-frills Win 7 netbook with an active digitizer and by gum that’s exactly what it is.

    • Rob

      05/10/2011 at 9:52 pm

      Alain – what you just stated confirms why N-Trig has a problem. Name me one “normal” user who will do that. I can name you 16 normal business users who won’t, and they won’t dig to figure that out. Besides getting palm rejection right, the inking wasn’t even smooth. There was no comparison between wacom and n-trig in quality of the handwriting experience.

      • SKG

        05/19/2011 at 2:29 pm

         I found that setting after about a week and it’s been great.  I’ve written full page notes and gone back forth between touch/pen with no problems.  It takes a few days to get used to the right amount of pressure.  Overall, I’m pretty happy with the slate, my only two gripes are that the lack of a tablet optimized Windows OS and the pen has a spring mechanism at the tip which makes it loud write in a quiet room.  

    • Bluedevil

      05/10/2011 at 10:04 pm

      Alain, do you mean that you change the digitizer setting from touch to pen each time you change input??? Or do you find one setting works better than the others?

  7. MikeReilly

    05/11/2011 at 5:06 am

    Rob, can you please grab the Motion people and slap them a few times, and tell them they have to put a Wacom pen/touch digitizer on the CL900? Also, it needs an i3 or i5 Sandy Bridge processor, and 4Gb of Ram. The market place will reward them if they do this. I can bear it not having the power items, but I’ll never buy it without a Wacom digitizer.

    • Rob Bushway

      05/11/2011 at 3:01 pm

      I agree Mike. N-Trig in the CL900 was a disappointment. Let’s hope the experience is better than the slate 500. The pen looks the same, though.

    • Scooter

      07/09/2011 at 3:42 pm

      Wacom doesn’t seem to make digitizers at these sizes in the aspect ratio that is common on these devices which is probably why you only see them with N-Trig digitzers. If you want a Wacom digitizer in a 10.1″ device with a 16:9/16:10 aspect ratio, then you have to take that up with Wacom.

  8. Whereupon Grimble

    06/28/2011 at 4:49 pm

    what windows slate is recommended?  I just started a doctorate and desperately need a slate to take notes using OneNote…that’s really about all I need it to do…

    • Joel Venable

      07/05/2011 at 6:44 pm

      Apparently it’s between the HP Slate which most here consider marginal, the EP-121 which has good handwriting but a short battery (2-3 hours), and the CL900 which seems overpriced.
      Also, if you don’t mind writing on a desk or your lap and a bit of extra weight, don’t rule out traditional tablet PCs.  In that arena the Lenovo X220 is highly regarded, and much better spec’d for similar $$.  Battery life on that one is 8+ hours!  My finger is itching on the trigger, but still saving the money…

    • Jim Hanna

      07/12/2011 at 1:18 am

      I’ve been using Lenovo / IBM Thinkpad tablets with Onenote for over 5 years.  Compared to the alternatives I think they’re still the best tablet PCs available for handwriting.  The X201 and X220 are light – if a bit heavier than a slate – have great displays for writing, and you can also use the keyboard.  By all means, use the notetaking and recording option in Onenote, it’s amazing.
      Win 7 really doesn’t lend itself to slate only operation, but Onenote and a Tablet PC are great for handwritten notes.  The ability to search handwritten notes is an incredible time saver.
      Good luck!

  9. John Rocks

    04/28/2012 at 4:05 am

    Where the iPad has taken a very aggressive and dominant stance, I am
    disappointed that HP hasn’t taken the time to polish and tweak their products.


  10. John Rocks

    04/28/2012 at 4:06 am

    Where the iPad has taken a very aggressive and dominant stance, I am
    disappointed that HP hasn’t taken the time to polish and tweak their products.

  11. Hector Feliciano

    05/02/2012 at 6:53 am

    Well that pretty well sums it up, Rob Bushway you have an IPAD, well I do as well and after reviewing the product from a friend! I love the unit, ONLY Business professionals should buy one, However since you have an IPAD I’m sure you enjoy playing all your games. You have no clue how review a product, or for that matter coment on such a wonderful Product for the ages.
    Rob, stick to the IPAD and Droid, ( I too have those products) but I love the hp slate. and think you are wrong in all your reviews about the HP SLATE.

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