iPad 2 vs HP TouchPad

The long-rumoured iPad 2 is now a reality, but how does it stack up against its competitors? We're already engaged the new iPad in a tense spec-off with Apple's original version as well as the Motorola Xoom so this time, it's the turn of the HP TouchPad. Read on to find out what happened when two tablets went to war...

Dimensions

1st: iPad 2
241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm; 601g
2nd: HP TouchPad
240 x 190 x 13.7mm, 740g


Portability is inevitably going to be an important issue when you're shopping for tablet. Apple has upped its game with its second-generation iPad offering a tablet that's 33% slimmer than its predecessor at just 8.8mm, compared to the HP TouchPad's relatively chunky profile of 13.7mm. The iPad is a tiny bit longer than the TouchPad, although it's a fair bit smaller in terms of width and at just 601g it's considerably lighter then the 740g bulk of the HP. On balance, Apple easily takes the first round.

Display

Tie: iPad 2
9.7-inch, 1024x768, LCD with IPS
Tie: HP TouchPad
9.7-inch, 1024x768, LCD with IPS



The HP TouchPad has clearly taken a few cues from the iPad when it comes to the display, sporting an identically sized 9.7-inch screen. Both devices use LCD technology with along with IPS for a decent viewing angle. The two screens also sport the same slightly unusual 1024x768-pixel resolution, resulting in a slightly square screen shape, unlike most other tablets which have 16:9 widescreen ratios. We have no choice but to call this round a tie.


Engine Room

1st: HP TouchPad
Qualcomm APQ8660, 512MB RAM
2nd: iPad 2
A5 dual-core CPU, 512MB RAM



Several of the new mobile devices announced in 2011 are powered by dual-core processors and the same applies here. The  TouchPad's dual-core Scorpion CPU from Qualcomm is reportedly capable of offering 1.2GHz of processing power which puts it slightly ahead of the Apple's 1GHz A5 CPU. However, when it comes to performance, the A5 certainly sounds impressive, with Apple claiming it to be twice as fast as its predecessor (the A4) with a GPU that's nine times as fast. When it comes to RAM count, the iPad 2 reportedly has 512MB putting it neck and neck with the TouchPad. We're giving HP the benefit of the doubt in this case thanks to the slightly higher processing speed clocked by its CPU.


Storage

Tie: iPad 2
16, 32 or 64GB
Tie: HP TouchPad
32 or 64GB


One of the many things that HP's TouchPad has in common with the iPad is its lack of expandable storage. It will be offered as 32 or 64GB versions, while the iPad 2 will be available as 16, 32 or 64GB models. The second-gen iPad was widely rumoured to be getting an SD card slot in order to expand its storage capabilities, however, these plans were crushed at the last minute due to reported "engineering issues". Maybe this is something that we can expect to see on the third generation iPad, but for now, these two devices are identical in terms of storage (depending which memory configuration you choose, of course).

Battery

1st: iPad 2
10 hours
2nd: HP TouchPad
8 hours


The TouchPad claims to offer equal to or more than 8 hours of video, while the iPad 2 offers 10 hours. When it comes down to it, there probably won't actually be that much difference between the two, or at least not enough for you to buy one device over the other. Having said that, if the estimates are accurate then the iPad may well have the advantage. We're reliant on the manufacturers to tell us the battery life at this stage, but as soon as we get the devices in for a closer look we can let you know more.

Software

1st: HP Touchpad
webOS 3.0
2nd: iPad 2
iOS 4.3


Software is a very difficult area to compare as there are so many elements involved, and opinions tend to be subjective. From what we've seen from the TouchPad so far, webOS 3.0 looks impressive and offers a range of handy features like wireless printing, good app integration, the Synergy syncing system and the all-important flash-supporting browser.  Apple's new iOS 4.3 offers a few nice add-ons including improved Safari performance along with Home Sharing so that you can get all your content over Wi-Fi, aling with AirPlay improvements. It's a tricky one to call, but we think that the lack of flash support on iOS gives the advantage to HP's webOS.


Apps

1st: iPad 2
Lots and lots
2nd: HP TouchPad
Not that many


At the risk of sounding like Apple fanboys, it's hard to deny that Apple still rules the app-based roost with its market-leading app store and gargantuan selection of apps. Some rivals, such as Android, as slowly but steadily catching up but HP still drags a fair way behind. The iPad 2 also includes FaceTime and Photo Booth built-in, along with iPad versions of GarageBand and iMovie for $4.99 each. Although the TouchPad will have apps available, HP has struggled to garner developer support in the past so it will be a while before it can compete with the likes of Apple.


Connectivity

1st: iPad 2
Wi-Fi/3G/BT/HDMI support
2nd: HP TouchPad
Wi-Fi/3G/BT/mUSB/NFC


When it comes to tablets, all most of us are really looking for is Wi-Fi and 3G support. Naturally, both of these device offer both although, like its predecessor, the iPad will be available as a Wi-Fi-only model. Similarly, the first version of the TouchPad will only offer Wi-Fi, so you'll have to wait until later in the year for mobile broadband. the TouchPad also features a micro USB port as well as NFC technology. This nifty addition allows you to pass information between your tablet and a Palm/Pre phone. Both devices offer Bluetooth 2.1, while the iPad also has the added advantage of HDMI support so that you'll be able to link it up to your HDTV using an optional connector ($39).

Imaging

1st: iPad 2
Front-facing cam, rear cam, 720p video
2nd: HP TouchPad
1.3MP front-facing webcam



Imaging has never really been the iPad's strong point on account of the fact that the original models haven't got any cameras. Everyone has been banging on about this from the day it launched, so Apple really had no choice but to include a front-facing cam at the very least. The iPad 2 not only has a VGA front-facing cam for use with FaceTime, it's also equipped with a rear-facing cam that's capable of capturing 720p video. HP's TouchPad only manages to muster a front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam for voice calling, making this another clear win for Apple's tablet.

Price

1st: HP TouchPad
Unknown
2nd: iPad 2
Wi-Fi: £439/£510/£612, 3G: £541/£612/£714


Apple will be offering its new iPad lineup for a the same prices as it's first-generation range. Although no price has yet been set for the TouchPad, we'd be very surprised if it didn't cost less than Apple's tablet as if it were priced any higher, it simply wouldn't sell. We're tentatively awarding this round to HP for now based on our educated guess, but of course this could change when HP makes its prices official. We doubt it though...

Conclusions

If you can hold off from buying a tablet until the summer then the TouchPad is by no means a bad choice, although you'll have to wait even longer if you want 3G capability. In the meantime, it's entirely possible that a similar tablet could come along and steal the TouchPad's thunder before it's even available. Having said that, it certainly looks like a good choice if you're got a Palm/Pre phone, thanks to the integration that it offers.

On balance, we have to admit that the iPad 2 looks like a better all-rounder thanks to its slimline design and the amount of useful apps on offer, as well as it's HDMI support. If you're after a cheaper tablet with the same screen dimensions as the iPad 2 then the TouchPad might be worth considering, but don't expect the array of functions to measure up in the same way.

 

What do you think of the new iPad? Which tablet will you be going for?