On the eve of Mobile World Congress, HP surprised us by showing off a set of new phones at an evening event. The HP Slate 7 VoiceTab brings a whole new meaning to the term phablet. While we're slowly getting used to the idea of a 6-inch phone, HP decided to ratchet that up to 7 inches.
In one's hand, the Slate 7 VoiceTab feels much like any other 7-inch tablet. It has a 1,280 x 800 IPS screen, which looks nice but doesn't have the pixel density to hang with many of the other new tablets in the segment. That said, the pricing for this is meant for the international markets, and at €249, it's exceptionally competitive considering that it's a phone.
Yes, that's right. There are 7 inches of phone right against the side of your head. We tried it out ourselves; we'd be lying to you if we didn't feel a bit ridiculous. Perhaps we felt the same way the first time we held the Samsung Galaxy Note up against our faces, but given that it's getting a little awkward to one-hand a 7-inch tablet, we're finally nearing the limits of how big a phablet should be.
HP has decided to position the Slate 7 VoiceTab as a unique product for unique users rather than just trying to throw the best top-end specs at the user. Its 1.2 GHz quad core Marvell A9 processors get the job done, and the 1 GB of RAM is just enough for today's applications. It's running Android 4.2.2 right now, but luckily Android 4.4 KitKat should run on 512 MB of RAM. It has a 5MP camera that will take photos that are good enough. There are 16 GB of storage on-board, but HP wisely allowed for a microSD expansion.
Where the Slate 7 VoiceTab shines is in its support for dual-SIM. There's also the HP Data Pass service that grants the user 250 MB of data per month for two years. Users who want more than that can upgrade their plan for a fee. When asked if that makes Dell a virtual carrier, or an MVNO, the company confirmed the move. Right now that's the plan for France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK and for select EMEA countries in May.