Show the HP ElitePad to a non-technical friend and they’ll likely describe it as ‘an iPad’. A square slate, all black Gorilla Glass on the front and silver aluminum on the back, the moderately stylish ElitePad does differ from the competition, but mostly in ways of which we’re not personally enamoured. The bezel is wide and the corners rounded in an almost cartoonish way. And the tablet’s edges taper to a point that is almost sharp to the touch – it’s a strange style point, because at 9.2mm this qualifies as a thin full-sized tablet (thinner than the iPad with Retina Display). It’s also not as heavy as you might expect from an Intel tablet – at 680g it is in the same ball park as the 650g iPad, and blows out of the water the Surface Pro(Microsoft’s own Windows 8 slate weighs 900g and is 13.5mm thick).
There is, alas, a single proprietary connector at the bottom. This allows the ElitePad to connect with a number of accessories – but only HP’s own accessories. And we found the connector had a tendancy to slip out in our tests. At the top of the ElitePad is a power button, screen rotation lock and headphone jack. A volume rocker sits on the left. You can find welcome MicroSD and micro-SIM slots on the righthand side.
Generally the ElitePad feels unremarkable but classy. You certainly wouldn’t feel ashamed to plonk it down on a meeting room table, and it feels built to last, but the silver back of the ElitePad did pick up black marks in our few days of carrying it around.