HP showed us its Slate 6 Voicetab tablet at Mobile World Congress. This is both a tablet and a phone, says HP. The menus were in Chinese but we still got a look at the device and were told about the impressive free 250MB of data per month it will come with: a feature called HP Datapass.
The 6-inch IPS screen size clearly shows HP has the phablet market in its sights, as well as the small tablet space. HP calls this its: "voice-enabled tablet". Although it's technically a tablet it does have full phone functionality, with dual SIM trays. That would make it a phablet in our minds, but HP seems to think differently. And unlike a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at £600, for example, this will be just £250 and includes 250MB of data per month for two years.
HP Datapass, which is ready to go in the UK, is essentially a SIM card that comes with the tablet to deliver 250MB of data a month over 3G+. This uses already established networks that HP has deals with. But to users the device just appears to be connected via HP. For anyone who needs more data there are options to add on more at charges, that haven't been announced yet. There is also a second SIM slot meaning you could jump across to your current contract if needs be.
The design of the handset is similar to that of the HTC One, mainly because of the two front-facing speakers on the top and bottom. For the price the build quality is impressive with a nicely balanced weight and a slim bezel around the screen. There is no front button on the handset thanks to the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS running onboard. We'd expect this to be updated to KitKat for release but HP hasn't confirmed that yet.
The screen is probably where a lot of money was saved as it's running a 1280 x 720 resolution, which gives 245 ppi at 6-inches. But in reality that's plenty at this price point and didn't look bad from what we saw. Another corner cut to deliver the value was the camera which is just 5-megapixels with an LED flash. There's also a 2-megapixels snapper in the front. We didn't get to try the camera but you can imagine 5-megapixels will get the job done.
The Slate 6 Voicetab ran smoothly as you'd expect from a 1.2Hz quad-core Marvell PXA1088 processor backed by 1GB of RAM. The Slate 6 has plenty of storage thanks to 16GB onboard and support for up to 64GB microSD. There is a 3000mAh battery that should keep it all ticking along nicely so users won't need to charge it too often. Of course we couldn't test this with our hands-on.
The HP Slate 6 Voicetab has removable back covers, much like Samsung offers. It felt typically flimsy but when snapped off showed it was rather resilient. These will be available in six colours initially with more to come. The HP Slate 6 Voicetab will launch in the UK with the Datapass bundle for £250 in May.