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Thursday December 29, 2011 2:27 pm

The unreleased HP TouchPad Go gets reviewed

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Handhelds, Product Reviews

Here's something you don't see every day. The webOS Nation blog has done a hands-on review of a tablet that will never see the light of day—Hewlett-Packard's unreleased TouchPad Go. The 7-inch webOS-based device was supposed to be released in the fall of this year, but HP's decision earlier this year to pull the plug on webOS and its TouchPad line of consumer tablets put the kibosh on those plans.

So what are we missing? According to webOS Nation, a pretty nifty little tablet (see a video review above). The blog got its hands on a rare prototype TouchPad Go and ran it through its paces recently.

In giving the TouchPad Go an 8-out-of-10 rating, webOS Nation raves about the tablet's "smooth and sleek" design, "solid" feel, and "fast and relatively stable" performance. Reviewer Derek Kessler actually seems to think the more compact TouchPad Go is a better performer than its full-sized, 10-inch cousin.

"Despite going smaller, HP does not seem to have gone cheaper," Kessler writes. "The Go is still just as powerful (if not more so), and it certainly feels better than the bigger TouchPads."

While "webOS works without compromise" on the TouchPad Go, the device does have some drawbacks, according to webOS Nation, which calls it "pretty thick for a modern tablet," while "the cameras both are quite poor, and application support is still lacking in comparison to the competition."

And as nice as the TouchPad Go seems to be, the blog concludes that it would have "had serious trouble competing with the likes of the Amazon Kindle, Nook Tablet, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus."

The quick take on the TouchPad Go is that it's a lot like the 10-inch TouchPad, but HP has reconfigured the placement of things like the power button, front-facing camera, headphone jack, and speakers to better conform to the smaller size of the unreleased unit.

Kessler also pried off the removable back panel of the prototype tablet—which has a soft, matte finish rather than the glossy black plastic of the original TouchPad's rear casing—to get a peek at what's inside the TouchPad Go. (He notes that the removable panel may not have survived volume production, since the larger TouchPad has a single-piece casing.)

Under the back hood is a SIM card slot, connection points for a Touchstone coil, two exposed speakers, and what the webOS Nation reviewer calls a "quasi-removable" battery, because a few screws hold it in place.

Deeper into the guts of the device, Kessler discovers that HP really didn't skimp on the hardware for its smaller tablet. The TouchPad Go prototype has a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm APQ8060 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and an AT&T-compatible cellular radio—putting it on par hardware-wise with not just the 10-inch TouchPad, but the also-unreleased TouchPad 4G, according to webOS Nation.

Given its dimensions, this tablet looks like it could have made a bit of a splash as a non-direct competitor to the iPad 2, if the skinny on its proposed release schedule is correct. Unfortunately, by the time the TouchPad Go's time arrived, HP's interest in consumer tablets had already come and gone.

This article, written by Damon Poeter, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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