Over the past several months, more and more operational areas of the hospital are inquiring about using a tablet/slate type device to help improve work flow for their respective areas. As part of this inquiry, I have been reviewing devices other than the iPad to see if any of them stack up. Recently, I was provided an HP Slate 500 to review for use within clinical and back office operations. This device was initially intriguing as it comes with Windows 7 which would allow for the device to be managed under traditional corporate tools (i.e. SCOM, SCCM). This intrigue faded very quickly as I began using the device and came to the following conclusions.
The Slate supports a 8.9″ diagonal WSVGA wide-viewing angle touchscreen that allows for interaction with touch or via a stylus. The responsiveness of the screen when using touch is very slow to respond and is not completely accurate on first touch. This makes for very poor experience when trying to navigate through various applications.
The Slate comes with a 1.8Ghz Atom processor which is completely undersized to support Windows 7. In using this device for standard productivity tasks the processor gets completely overwhelmed and the performance noticeably suffers.
In addition to having an inadequate processor, the Slate only supports 2GB of memory. For anyone, who has ever used Windows 7 should know that this enough memory in order to have an optimal performance experience.
The wireless NIC comes with Integrated 802.11b/g/n which should be more than adequate in most situations. However, after a review by a wireless network administrator, the lack of an “a” radio may be of issue in some Healthcare organizations as they try to balance devices across the different radios.
Absent from the Slate is any cellular wireless connectivity which is a major miss for those that are truly mobile such as outreach physicians. Granted a USB cellular card could be used but who really wants to carry this with them when they are trying to minimize devices while on the road.
Some of the nice features of the Slate is that it comes with the following other hardware that is desired by a lot of organizations that are looking at tablet devices:
- USB 2.0 port
- Integrated 3 MP camera which took adequate pictures for documentation purposes
- Integrated VGA web cam which worked well when doing a video conference with the Cisco client
The Slate utilizes Windows 7 Tablet operating system and it’s associated features. Windows 7 tablet is fa fine OS when used on adequate hardware such as Fujitsu Lifebook. However, it is not suited to run on hardware that is being used in most tablet devices today.
Just to make sure that I wasn’t giving the Slate a fair shake, I provided the device to a clinician and an inventory specialist to round with in order to garner their feedback. In both instances, they contacted me to come back and pick up the Slate after less than hour of use. Both of the testers indicated that the performance and responsiveness of the device was not acceptable.