HP ElitePad 1000 G2 review: Business-grade tablet comes at a price

The ElitePad 1000 is impressively designed but pricey, especially with the optional dock you won't want to live without

business man working on digital tablet 153986794
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At a Glance
  • HP ElitePad 1000 G2

    InfoWorld Rating

    If you're looking for a Windows 8 tablet that will do real work, the ElitePad 1000 with the Productivity Jacket is an excellent, albeit pricey, choice.

HP ElitePad 1000 G2 HP ElitePad 1000 G2

The ElitePad 1000 G2 has many of the bells and whistles you'd expect on a corporate tablet -- particularly one starting at $739 list (4GB memory, 64GB drive). What HP offers that the others don't is a long-established assortment of docks/jackets that bulk up the machine (and the price tag!), while adding features you'll probably want.

The ElitePad 1000 runs an Atom Bay Trail-T Z3795 and 64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro. I found it more than adequate for light business use, but underwhelming in power-hungry situations, such as dealing with a sizable spreadsheet.

The integrated Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail) chip drives a gorgeous 10.1-inch 1,920-by-1,200 display, which I found a delight to use, both indoors and outside, even on a sunny day. If your eyesight is, uh, suboptimal -- I can relate -- you'll find that the default scaling for text on the desktop side of Windows 8.1 is a bit tiny. That's a Windows problem more than anything: HP has already turned the scaling up to maximum (Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, Display, Change the Size of All Times set to Larger). Fortunately, many of the apps you'll use -- Microsoft Office apps and browsers, in particular -- have independent adjustments for zoom.

The battery's a treat. Using my standard battery battering test -- no sound, no Wi-Fi, 70 percent brightness, continuous loop of the Windows 7 wilderness.wmv file on Media Player -- the ElitePad 1000 kept going for eight full hours. That compares to four hours or so on a standard clamshell Windows 8 machine.

When you pick up an ElitePad 1000, you'll be impressed by the build quality, and the curved back and feathered edges that make it easy to hold. The tablet itself measures 10.3 by 7.0 by 0.36 inches -- slightly smaller than a letter-sized sheet of paper -- and it weighs 1.5 pounds. Compare that to 11.5 by 7.9 by 0.36 inches and 1.75 pounds for the Surface Pro 3, or to 10.5 by 7.0 by 0.35 inches and 1.34 pounds for the Lenovo ThinkPad 10.

Remarkably, on the wireless front, in addition to the common 802.11a/b/g/n 2x2 and Bluetooth 4 (Low Energy) features, HP also offers an LTE version, which can handle HSPA+ and EV-DO. List starts at $909.

My test ElitePad 1000 arrived with the 64GB SSD option. With all of the pre-installed software (an Office 365 offer, PDF Complete, Amazon Kindle reader, a 50GB offer from Box, and the Netflix app), and Office 365 itself installed, I had a little less than 25GB of room left on the drive. However, the tablet itself includes a Micro SDXC card slot -- the machine can work with SDXC cards up to 2TB -- which makes the storage situation significantly less claustrophobic. The slot is located right next to the SIM card slot. You get into both with a thin pin like the kind you've probably used to get to a mobile phone's SIM card.

HP offers a 128GB SSD, in place of the 64GB, for an additional $100. SanDisk has a 128GB MicroSDXC card that's specifically made for the ElitePad 1000 (price: about $175).

The ElitePad 1000 also includes a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash, as well as dual microphones and good audio from the two front-facing speakers using DTS Sound +.

For security, the ElitePad 1000 covers a lot of ground. There's a TPM chip, of course, but the machine also ships with HP's custom security software: HP Client Security, including Credential Manager and Password Manager; Absolute Data Protect; Device Access Manager; HP Trust Circles. There's support for Microsoft management tools as well.

On the downside, you won't find a USB connector or one for HDMI. To use either, you have to plug a dongle into the power receptacle at the bottom of the machine. Or…

You can use one of HP's docking/jacketing products. HP's been manufacturing and refining the jackets for years. The Docking Station (retail $149) gives you four USB ports, HDMI and VGA ports, and a LAN port. You can dock an ElitePad all by itself, resting it in the cradle where it's fully accessible, or you can dock an ElitePad 1000 that's been stuffed into an Expansion Jacket.

The ElitePad Expansion Jacket with Battery (retail $229) adds two USB ports, an HDMI port, and an integrated Micro SD slot. It also brings on a battery, which roughly doubles the life of the tablet's battery.

The jacket I tested, the HP ElitePad Productivity Jacket (retail $249) includes a substantial keyboard -- not a thin, roll-up-candy tapping gizmo, but a real working keyboard with measurable throw and good tactile feedback. It's smaller than a standard-sized keyboard, to conform to the ElitePad's dimensions, but I'd rate it among the best small keyboards I've ever used. The Productivity Jacket also includes two USB ports and an SD card reader. It folds up into a magnetically anchored stand and folds out to wrap around the machine -- highly recommended.

If you're looking for a tablet that will take all the real work you can throw at it, the ElitePad 1000 with the Productivity Jacket is an excellent, albeit pricey, choice.

InfoWorld Scorecard
Usability (30%)
Performance (20%)
Security and management (20%)
Build quality (20%)
Value (10%)
Overall Score
HP ElitePad 1000 G2 8 7 9 10 7 8.3
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At a Glance
  • InfoWorld Rating

    If you're looking for a Windows 8 tablet that will do real work, the ElitePad 1000 with the Productivity Jacket is an excellent, albeit pricey, choice.

    Pros

    • Gorgeous 1280-by-1200 display
    • Thin and light at 10.3-by-7.0-by-0.36 inches and 1.5 pounds
    • Includes a MicroSDXC slot supporting storage cards up to 2TB
    • Best-of-breed battery life (a full eight hours in my tests)
    • Available with 4G LTE wireless broadband

    Cons

    • No charge indicator
    • More expensive than competitors
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