Executives on the go will soon have more compelling business devices to choose from. HP is expanding its business tablet lines with the ElitePad 1000 and the ProPad 600. Both running Windows 8.1, the ten-inch slates offer better resolution and 64-bit performance. While the ElitePad 1000 is a refresh of HP's existing ElitePad 900, the ProPad marks the start of a new product line for the company. The $739 ElitePad 1000 will be available in mid-March while the ProPad 600 is expected to retail in April at a lower price than the ElitePad.
HP really worked on improving the ElitePad's display, bumping up the resolution to 1920 x 1200 (from 1280 x 800 on the ElitePad 900) and employing a direct-bonded 10.1-inch diagonal Gorilla Glass panel. This brings the display closer to the surface rather than having an air gap and makes the screen brighter. The company also added a faster processor, replacing the previous 32-bit chip with a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom Bay Trail processor. With 4G support and a 1.5-pound light footprint, the ElitePad 1000 looks to be a great tablet for those frequently on the move.
A docking connector at the bottom of the tablet makes it easy to turn the ElitePad 1000 into a laptop for improved productivity, and it is compatible with HP's Smart Jacket range of accessories that extend battery life while boosting functionality. The Security Jacket also adds more user authentication capabilities with smart card support and a fingerprint reader.
In our review of the ElitePad 900, we liked the slate's design and display and look forward to seeing how the direct-bonding technology will improve the visual experience in the ElitePad 1000. Although it added bulk to the tablet, the $199 Productivity Jacket (from the Smart Jacket range) provided a comfortable keyboard, two USB ports and an SD card slot.
Appearing to be a watered down version of the ElitePad line, ProPad is a new product range that packs a lot of the same technology that's in the ElitePad. The ProPad 600 offers the same direct-bonded high-res display and 64-bit architecture, but sports less premium material such as the machined aluminum back on the ElitePad 1000 and doesn't use the Bay Trail class of processors. It also lacks a docking connector for an integrated keyboard dock. A built-in microHDMI port makes it easy to share presentations on the big screen and with 64GB internal storage with a micro SD slot to expand storage by up to 2TB, you won't have to worry about running out of space.
If the ProPad ends up costing less than $500, it could rival Microsoft's $449 Surface 2 in providing business-level performance in a tablet form factor for a similar price. We look forward to getting our hands on the ElitePad 1000 and the ProPad 600 to see how they stack up against the competition.