These days it's hard for a 7-inch tablet to stand out, but that's not stopping the HP Slate 7 Extreme from making a valiant effort. The device is geared toward multimedia experiences and features a few unique qualities that may catch the wandering eye of anyone looking for a Google Nexus 7 alternative.
The Slate 7 Extreme bears some resemblance to the Nexus 7 tablet, but the HP's front-facing speakers and stylus give it enough of a difference for its design to differentiate it from the Google tablet. The 7-inch device houses a stylus on its bottom-right corner and, when ejected, prompts a customizable menu screen that lets you easily select which stylus-specific apps you'd like to launch.
While using the stylus, the screen was quick to respond with no lag time. The stylus itself was traditionally thin, light, and comfortable to hold for the small period of time it was used. In conjunction with the stylus, the Slate 7 Extreme also features HP's palm rejection technology, which -- as you may be able to guess -- helps reject any interference from placing your palm on the touch screen while using the stylus.
The Slate 7 Extreme has a 1,280x800-pixel-resolution IPS screen and houses a Tegra 4 CPU with 1GB of RAM. In addition to your choice of 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, it features a microSD card expansion slot.
When it comes to photography, the Slate 7 Extreme has an edge over the competition thanks to its Camera Awesome integration. It's the first time the SmugMug app will be available on an Android tablet, and it features typical photo settings like HDR and panoramic. Tablets aren't know for their camera quality, but the addition of Camera Awesome seems like a promising addition to the Slate Extreme 7's average 5-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front-facing shooters.
Cursory use of the 7-inch tablet was pleasurable thanks to its comfortable build and zippy performance. The smooth texture on its back combined with its trim size and light weight made the Slate 7 Extreme cozy to hold in either one or both hands. Navigating the OS was smooth and the touch screen was quick to respond to gestures.
The Slate 7 Extreme is expected to go on sale in November, but pricing for the 7-inch tablet has yet to be announced. Check back to CNET for updates and a full review once it becomes available.