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Slate 7: The new rival to Google’s Nexus 7

HP Slate 7HP may be a little slow off the starting blocks when it comes to getting into the tablet market. But it is going in with a very appealing pricing strategy.

Founded in a garage in Palo Alto, California, by Bill Redinton Hewlett and Dave Packard, HP is the world’s leading PC manufacturer.

Now the American multinational is hoping to take the tablet market by storm. Its HP Slate 7 will be available in April at a pocket-friendly RRP of $169. It’s not the first time the company has tried out a tablet, failing to set the world alight with its TouchPad in 2011.

But this time, the price tag puts HP’s first Google-powered tablet firmly in competition with the likes of the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD, which cost around $70 more.

So, what do you get for your money? Well, quite a lot actually. With its stainless steel frame and soft-touch back, the Slate 7 looks and feels a lot more expensive than it actually is.

In terms of size and weight, it’s pretty close to its main rivals. It’s just 0.1-inch thicker than the Kindle Fire HD and, at 13.05 ounces, weighs in at less than the Kindle Fire HD does. It is heavier than the Nexus 7 though, which weighs a mere 12 ounces.

One of the Slate 7’s unique selling points is its sound quality. It has Beats Audio built in, which its makers say offers users a richer, more robust sound. HP Mobility Global Business Unit senior vice president Alberto Torres says Beats really comes into its own when you’re using headphones to listen to your tunes or watch a movie. But, the Slate 7 does have inbuilt stereo speakers for those who prefer to share their entertainment with friends.

As you might expect from a company with a global reputation for making quality printers, the new tablet has a wireless printing function through the ePrint app which allows you to print from most applications.

Savings do have to be made somewhere though for the Slate 7 to come in at this price point. The 1024 x 600-pixel display, for example, doesn’t match up to the resolution of the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7, which are both 1280 x 800.

But HP does say it makes up for this with its unique High-aperture-ratio Field Fringe Switching technology, which allows you to better view wide angles – handy, it says, for looking at large documents or for gaming.

The Slate 7 is powered with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and a 1.6GHz ARM A9 dual-core processor. There’s 1GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board storage.

The device also features two cameras – a VGA gizmo on the front and three-megapixel camera on the back.

Expected to be revealed at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona this week, HP say they have “a very strong value proposition” with the Slate 7, which they confidently say has a “far superior” design to the Kindle Fire HD or the Nexus 7.

And, HP clearly has lofty ambitions for its new tablet as it has already said it will be releasing more tablets in other price points in order to be the world leader in the tablet market.

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