The HP ElitePad 900 is a Windows 8 tablet for business. We continue our ElitePad 900 review with a look at accessories, software and the bottom line.

HP ElitePad 900: accessories

I'm going to review the HP accessories separately, as they add additional cost to the ElitePad. But they do ramp up its functionality, so they are relevant here. You don't get a USB adaptor in the box, and also have to pay for HDMI/VGA adapter and for a stylus. There's what HP calls the ElitePad Expansion Jacket that is both a protective case and allows you to quickly and easily store, share, and transfer files with an integrated micro SD reader. You can also slip in a battery to keep your ElitePad charged. The Expansion Jacket costs £88 inc VAT without a battery.

There's also the ElitePad Docking Station, a small stand via which you can charge your HP ElitePad back at the desk with the HP ElitePad Docking Station, or set up your tablet as a secondary screen. Combined with a keyboard the Docking Station could make your ElitePad a viable small, low-powered PC. The Docking Station costs £115 inc VAT.

HP ElitePad 900: software

The good news is that the ElitePad runs Windows 8 Pro. It is, in essence, a full blown PC - albeit one without a keyboard, optical drive or USB connectivity. You can install and run any software you can run on your desktop PC, system requirements allowing.  

HP adds in HP Client Security and HP BIOS Protection, and Microsoft Defender 3.5 is included so you can swerve third-party security software. (Even though there is a risk entailed here, I'd take it - I wouldn't want to install too much software on such a low-spec PC.)

Windows 8 runs well in general, although we found it irritating that we had to hit keyboard to get the onscreen keyboard to appear when attempting to fill in web forms and so on. And that reflects the problem with Windows 8 on a business tablet. Personally I am a fan of Windows 8, on my desktop and laptop PCs, at least. It offers me everything I had on Windows 7, with a thin shell client on the top that allows me to access social media, music, movies and so on. The front end, the Modern UI, works well on the ElitePad - that keyboard issue excepted. But trying to use the Desktop in any depth is difficult without a dedicated keyboard. And that's the point of a business tablet, surely?

HP ElitePad 900: the bottom line

I like the ElitePad 900: it offers similar functionality to the Surface Pro in a much smaller and more stylish shell and - probably - at a cheaper price. Battery life excepted, however, it's not in the same league performance wise. And to get full use out of it as a business tool we suspect you'd need the docking station, and a keyboard and mouse. All of that would take you up to around £1,000 inc VAT, so you have to question whether a business tablet is what you need, or whether you should shell out a few quid more than get a decent Ultrabook.

HP ElitePad 900

Specs

HP ElitePad 900: Specs

  • Intel Atom Z2760 (1.5 GHz, up to 1.8 GHz using Intel Burst Technology and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, 1 MB cache, 2 cores)
  • Windows 8 Pro 32
  • 177.3x260.2x9.2mm
  • 64GB eMMC SSD
  • 2GB RAM
  • 25.7cm (10.1in) diagonal WXGA wide-viewing angle (1280 x 800)
  • Capacitive multitouch screen
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator
  • Integrated stereo speakers
  • Integrated 1080p with LED (front-facing)
  • 8MP (rear facing)
  • 802.11a/b/g/n (2x2) Bluetooth 4.0 HS combo
  • headphone/microphone combo
  • power connector
  • SIM
  • microSDHC
  • 2-cell (25 WHr) polymer HP Long Life
  • Starting at 630g
  • 1-year limited warranty