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HP Slate VoiceTab 6 and 7: Budget Phablets With a Colorful Twist

HP isn't exactly a household name when it comes to smartphones, but the company is looking to command a presence in the phablet space. The PC maker announced that its $249 Slate VoiceTab 6 and $229 Slate VoiceTab 7  will hit a slew of European markets after initially debuting in India earlier this month.

Aimed at emerging markets, both the Slate VoiceTab 6 and 7 are equipped with modest specs. Each phablet is powered by a 1.2-GHz Cortex A9 quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and  runs on a nearly stock version of Android 4.2.2. Both handsets also offer a dual SIM option and include HP's DataPass service, which gives owners 250MB of free 3G data per month when Wi-Fi or other services aren't available. HP Slate VoiceTab buyers will get 16GB of onboard storage that's expandable to 32GB via a microSD card slot. Both handsets also feature a 5-megapixel main camera.

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The only striking difference between the two versions is the size and resolution of their displays. The 6-inch variant comes with a 720 IPS display, while the 7-inch slate sports a 1,280 x 800 resolution IPS panel. Despite these differences, screen icons appeared crisp and clear on both handsets.

Unlike other phablet makers such as LG and Samsung, HP doesn't apply a heavy skin over its Android-based devices. This means that HP Slate VoiceTab buyers will get a nearly stock Android experience with little to no alterations to the basic UI.

HP offers an array of multicolored back panels for the VoiceTab 6, including bold pink, green, purple, deep blue and grey colors. HP tells us that these back shells are interchangeable. We didn't see these colors for the VoiceTab 7 during our hands-on session, but HP says its larger phablet will get interchangeable back panels as well. The texture of the 7-inch model also felt coarse unlike the 6-inch variant, which features a smooth rear panel.

The Slate VoiceTab 6 and 7 may offer different display sizes, but the front of the devices look identical otherwise. Both handsets sport super slim side bezels that make the display look even roomier than it already is.

HP doesn't typically launch smartphones in the United States, but the company said that it's considering bringing both phablets to the US market.