HP Slate 500 for the Enterprise

This week we’ve had a HP Slate 500 to try out and see how we like it for Staff and Students. Since the release of the iPad we’ve been under pressure from all and sundry to purchase some and put them around the school, especially in the junior years. The iPad’s consumer focus makes it a nightmare on the network, and the concessions that a systems administrator has to make between device permissions, network authentication, wireless security makes them a high maintenance device. We’ve been looking forward to the Slate 500 for some time, knowing that Windows 7 Pro will work perfectly on the network, and hoping that it will be an equivalent device to the iPad, and what it may lack in style, is certainly made up for in substance.

While I’ve been happy with the Slate 500 there have been a few disappointments. Only having one USB port on the device is limiting. There’s been a few time already where I’ve wanted to attach combinations of an external keyboard, mouse, memory stick and ipod, and have had to find the dock which has another two USB ports. Adding one more USB port to the device would make a huge difference.

The onscreen keyboard in Windows 7 could be better too. Having an option to remove the row of numbers and punctuation keys to make it similar to the iOS keyboard would allow for the keys to be larger and the keyboard to occupy less real estate on the screen. The onscreen keyboard can be resized but when reduced to a reasonable size the keys are unfit for the ham fisted.

It’s also disappointing that software on Windows 7 isn’t touch friendly. If I had a Slate 500 I’d hit IE9 and a PDF reader fairly hard and so far, it’s been a mediocre experience. The advantage that iOS apps relying on touch makes them typically touch friendly. The only exception being a horse racing app that I had for about 5 minutes that looked like it was made for Windows 3.1, which was fairly amazing. It’s probably safe to assume that as more Windows based tablets appear the OS and software will gradually catch up and become touch and gesture friendly….

Anticipating a purchase of Slate 500 devices, we would want to image and control the devices through Altiris. Neither the device nor dock are equipped with an ethernet port, however, the HP USB Ethernet Adapter may PXE boot for Altiris according to Rick on the tabletpcreview.com forums.

The Slate 500 is essentially the same performance wise as the 5101/5103 netbooks that we’ve been using for the students, with a slight smaller LCD and screen resolution. The battery life supposedly is up to 5hrs, but I haven’t had the chance to confirm.

It seems that we’ll certainly get a handful and put them in the hands of teachers, students and executive staff to see how they compare to our fleet of netbooks and tablets, and whether they are a worthy replacement, or an additional tool.

I’d like to see an app for Windows Slate machines where the slate can act as a second screen for a PC/notebook. Then when I’m working on my tablet, I can find the information on the web that I need, flick that browser window to the slate. Then I can read instructions and work on my tablet without having to Alt-tab. That would be superb.

4 thoughts to “HP Slate 500 for the Enterprise”

  1. We are looking at these and use Altiris as well. Were you ever able to try to image one with Altiris?

    1. G’day Patrick

      We’re still waiting for the USB ethernet adapters to arrive, will post when they get here. From what I’ve read we should be able to PXE boot them, if thats correct then Altiris should be fine



  2. I happened to notice your post – I also have a Slate 500, and have been blogging about my experience (http://rixbits.blogspot.com/search/label/hpSlate500). A couple of things I’d say about some of your questions:

    -“only 1 usb port” – I don’t think the iPad has any USB ports, so you’re at least a step ahead there. But also, I’ve seen small USB hubs that you could stick on your slate for as low as $5 US.

    – “software on Win7 isn’t touch-friendly” – you’ll see in some of my blog posts that I talk about how surprised I was to find native Win7 to be relatively touch friendly. IE9, for instance, has built-in finger scrolling and pinch zooming. Windows Explorer is also finger enabled.

    -“slate as a 2nd monitor” – there are software options out there that allow any laptop (and thus your slate) to act as a 2nd monitor; it basically sends the display information across the network, as opposed to using video cables. I used to use it years ago before I switched to a hardward-based video spliiter.

    1. G’day Ricardo

      I had a look at your blog, nice work customising the flick gestures!

      I’ve got a 2740p tablet atm, still my Slate arrives next week, and find the touch in Win7 fairly clumsy. IE9 is pretty impressive, but I like to use different browsers for different sites and typically have IE9, FF and Chrome opened at the same time. IE9 is good and FF is OK for touch, but Chrome is pretty poor. I like the idea of reading sites / rss feeds on the slate, and I use Chrome for google reader… I should prob just switch to IE9 for most things

      If you can recommend an app for the slate as a second monitor that would be great, I’ve used these apps before too but haven’t found anything suitable, and free, yet



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