HP ElitePad 1000 review

HP's ElitePad 1000 morphs into anything with the right case, for the wrong price

hp elitepad 1000 case front angle 2

HP ElitePad 1000

“HP’s Elitepad 1000 is an attractive, solidly built business tablet with available accessories that add greatly to its functionality. But they also add to the price, which is already high for an Atom-powered device.”
  • Attractive design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Improved display and performance
  • Long battery life
  • Expensive
  • No real ports without optional jacket
  • Processor still slow
MSRP $739.00

Creating the perfect convertible business tablet seems to be one of the primary quests of PC makers over the last few years. As evidence, I present Microsoft’s Surface Pro (1-3), Dell’s Venue 11 Pro, Lenovo’s ThinkPad 10, and the previous version of the tablet we’re looking at here, the HP ElitePad 900.

The 900 was an interesting (if expensive) business device, in that it was an attractive tablet that, with a cadre of docks, jackets, and other accessories, could morph into a compact notebook, a desktop with lots of ports, or a device for taking handwritten notes.

The ElitePad 1000 is very versatile—so long as your IT budget can handle the extra cost of accessories.

We dinged the 900 mostly for being underpowered. Now, with the ElitePad 1000, HP has updated the device with a newer quad-core Atom chip and doubled the RAM to 4GB, while retaining backwards compatibility with the 900’s accessories, and increasing the screen resolution.

Performance is undoubtedly better. But in a world now crowded with Atom-based competition, as well as the Surface Pro 3 (which starts at $799 with a more powerful Core i3 processor and a larger screen), the ElitePad still seems pricey at $739—and that’s before you add any accessories.

Taking many forms

Just like last year’s model, the ElitePad 1000 is clad in a very solid-feeling and attractive aluminum shell that’s nearly as nice as anything made by Apple. And its 1.5-pound weight is less than the Surface Pro 3 (1.75 pounds), but a third heavier than the 0.96 pound iPad Air 2. To be fair, the iPad’s screen is smaller than the ElitePad 1000’s 10.1 inches, but the Surface Pro 3 has a noticeably roomier 12-inch panel.

As much as we like the tablet’s luxurious metal shell and reasonably light weight, both effectively vanish if you use one of the tablet’s jackets, which are mostly made of flexible black plastic.

HP sent the Productivity Jacket our way for testing. It adds an SD card slot and a USB port to the tablet, along with a cramped, but otherwise decent keyboard. The Productivity Jacket also costs $200, which pushes the combo close to $1,000. And the together, you end up with a 10-inch netbook-like device weighing a hefty 3.4 pounds—hardly a lightweight by today’s standards.

Other available accessories include an Expansion Jacket, which adds USB and HDMI ports ($149 with a second battery or $79 without), a $199 Security Jacket that adds ports and a SmartCard and Fingerprint reader, a $120 Desktop Docking Station, as well as various cases and covers.

Suffice it to say, the ElitePad 1000 is very versatile—so long as your IT budget can handle the extra cost of accessories. And chances are, you’re going to want at least one of the above accessories, as the tablet itself is only adorned with an audio jack, a MicroSD card slot, and a proprietary charging port.

Desirable display

The display in the previous ElitePad was attractive and bright, but its 1,280 x 800 pixel count was lackluster—especially for an expensive device. This time, HP has kicked things up a notch to a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200.

That’s still less than we’ve seen in high-end laptops, like the Yoga Pro 3, or in premium tablets like the Nexus 9 and iPad Air 2. But the pixel count of the ElitePad 1000 feels like enough for tablet apps, and a good fit for desktop productivity. Add more pixels and you’d wind up doing a lot of squinting on those desktop programs that still aren’t optimized for high-res displays.

Updated Atom is still Atom

The ElitePad 1000 runs a quad-core Intel Atom Z3795 quad-core processor, and the tablet now has 4GB of RAM, a very welcome addition for anyone doing more than email and light Web browsing. The base system I tested also comes with just 64GB of built-in storage. You can of course add more space for storage via the MicroSD card slot. But if you need to install more than a handful of programs, you’ll want to opt for a model with more internal space. There was less than 25GB of free space on the boot drive of our review model.

In PCMark 7, an older test that I ran to see how the ElitePad 1000 compared to the previous model in overall performance, the 1000 scored 2,672, while the 900 managed a score of 1,291 on the same test. That’s certainly a major improvement.

In the SiSoft Sandra’s Processor Arithmetic test, the ElitePad 1000 scored 17.39 GOPS, which again looks good compared to the ElitePad 900’s score of 8.32 GOPS. But the newer low-power Core M processor in the Yoga 3 pro scored 29.33 on the same test. And typical Ultrabooks with Core i5 processors get close to 40 GOPS on this test.

You should have no trouble getting a full workday’s use out of the ElitePad 1000.

Essentially, the ElitePad 1000 is powerful enough to handle light productivity tasks and moderate Web browsing without feeling sluggish. But if you need to work on large Excel files or do more than very basic image editing, you should look for a device that has a Core processor. If you’re wedded to the idea of a tablet, that includes Microsoft’s Surface Pros and Dell’s Venue Pro 11. The latter could be found with a Core i5 for under $600 when I wrote this.

The good news is, despite the tablet’s fanless design, the metal frame and the processor’s efficiency helped the device remain cool to the touch, even when benchmarking, just like last year’s model.

Battery life

Low-power devices typically do well on battery tests compared to more powerful laptops or convertibles, and that’s the case here as well.

The ElitePad 1000 lasted five hours and 55 minutes on our Peacekeeper browser-based battery test. That’s just two minutes longer than the 5:53 showing of last year’s ElitePad 900. But keep in mind the newer model does much better on benchmarks, and has a higher-resolution screen. The Yoga 3 Pro, with its brand-new low-power Core M processor, lasted just three hours and 44 minutes on the same test.

HP-Elitepad-1000-back-angle-2

In real-world use, if you keep the screen brightness set at about 50 percent (which shouldn’t be a problem, as the screen gets very bright), you should have no trouble getting a full workday’s use out of the ElitePad 1000. And remember, if you need more than that, you can get a jacket with an extra battery. With both batteries, HP says the ElitePad 1000 can last up to 20 hours.

Conclusion

Like its previous iteration, the ElitePad 1000 is a well-built tablet that’s also one of the most versatile mobile devices available. And with updated internals, it’s also better equipped to take on more than just basic productivity.

But its price is hard to justify, especially when you start factoring in accessories. The tablet itself can be found online for about $700 if you shop around. But add $200 for the keyboard-packing Productivity jacket, and you’re up to $900. For $30 more than that, you could get a much more powerful Surface Pro 3 with a Core i3 processor and a Type Cover keyboard that has a larger screen, but weighs less overall.

And if battery life is more important than performance, both the Dell Venue 11 Pro and the Lenovo’s ThinkPad 10 are available for less than the ElitePad 1000 with the same Intel processor. Both of those tablets also have keyboard and desktop docks, which generally cost less than the ElitePad’s various jackets.

Highs

  • Attractive design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Improved display and performance
    Long battery life

Lows

  • Expensive
  • No real ports without optional jacket
    Processor still slow