iPad

Teardown of HP TouchPad: Made like a PC and straightforward to repair

The HP TouchPad has a case that's easy to open and replaceable components. This tablet is built more like a PC than an iPad.

The HP TouchPad is the company's latest effort to grab a piece of the growing tablet market. And although it's roughly the same size as the current leader (the Apple iPad), it has significantly different hardware. Depending on whom you ask, the HP TouchPad is either dead on arrival or a more productive alternative to the iPad.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the HP TouchPad

We got our hands on the HP TouchPad early. And as soon as Jason Hiner was finished with his review, I couldn't resist cracking it open. In this special TR Dojo episode, I give you a run of tablet's technical specifications, show you the hardware inside, and explain why it's built more like a PC than an iPad.

Cracking Open analysis:

  1. It's much easier to disassemble than the Apple iPad 2, but not as easy as the Motorola XOOM.
  2. HP used standard Phillips screws inside the case and most of the internal components can be removed and replaced. Provided you can find replacement parts.
  3. The display and digitizer are separate components. This lets you replace one without the other.

But along with these significant positives, there are also a few negatives.

  1. The battery can be replaced, but you must remove the main PCB to do so.
  2. The battery is also attached to the case with adhesive.

Overall, the HP TouchPad is a tablet that's built more like a PC than an iPad. Which is good if you want to repair the device, but it also means that the components require a larger case.

Internal hardware and chips:

Our HP TouchPad test unit had the following hardware components:

More HP TouchPad information:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

27 comments
Realvdude
Realvdude

I'm waiting for a device that has all of today's bells and whistles today. Both cameras (subject camera with a flash), expandability, replaceable battery, compatibility, and no marketing lock in (though I understand for 3G/4G).

uswah123
uswah123

nice gadget with impressive features Laptops in Karachi

Mal_White
Mal_White

Why compare the iPad 2 with this device? Its like comparing a Porsche with a Ford... The Fords has a bigger boot and you can repair it yourself... Big businesses will probably buy them as you can fit 4 people inside :-) I'll stick with the porsche thanks, oh , yes and the iPad 2, neither do I expect to "service" myself, but I don't need a clunker either. :-)

mckinnej
mckinnej

Except in some isolated cases what we're really talking about with the internal access is the ability to replace the battery. That's a HUGE benefit in my book. I'm on my third laptop battery in less than 5 years. Experience is telling me I would need to replace the battery before the end of the device's usable life. While I'm not a big HP fan, this is a really good move on their part. Although Apple's products benefit from being sleek and pretty, their approach smacks of planned obsolescence. In other words it puts their products in the same category as disposable lighters and flashlights, aka landfill fodder. I would definitely buy this HP over an Apple.

brad
brad

I always end up taking apart these sort of devices to repair, replace, or upgrade them. Whenever I buy a laptop I always make sure that I can get ahold of the service manual. In general IBM Thinkpads (Lenovo nowadays) come with service manuals with step-by-step instructions to disassemble and reassemble. 9 times out of 10 this sort of knowledge comes in handy during the lifetime of my laptop. While friends of mine send their proprietary, fused, laptops off to the vendor for repair, I can repair or upgrade mine within a few hours with simple tools at home. Thanks Bill for the great review. My list of tablet purchases now contains the HP... at the top!

MacNewton
MacNewton

As a tech, getting into todays new equipment is almost impossible without doing a little damaged to some clip or latch. That said, I hope this easy access option is not used too frequently! Getting replacement parts from a non-HP service shop will require selvaging components from other units. As someone said, replacing parts other then the battery will not be to cost effective. I'm interested in warranty option, with Apple Care you get 3 years of full service. What does HP offer?

maj37
maj37

Able to get it apart easy of course is all about the different philosophies of the 2 companies. Apple wants total control, sells primarily to consumers and even wants people to send it to them for repair. HP expects people to in a business to want to fix it themselves. maj

kunjbhai
kunjbhai

Isnt the RAM size 1GB instead of 1MB mentioned here?? Also is the storage expandable?

carol.fuhr
carol.fuhr

Being able to work on a piece of equipment is a very big consideration for me. I'm much more likely to buy a tablet that I can take apart than a glued-together, disposable unit.

deskhero
deskhero

Jason never mentioned it

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Makes it far more likely for me to sell them. If that's any help. ;) I know I'm fed up with Acer EEE's which are almost impossible to get apart without breaking plastic clips. However it may be one thing to be easily pulled apart and another finding replacement parts which don't involve a cost of more than the original buying price of the unit. Col

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

The HP TouchPad is roughly the same size and shape as the Apple iPad 2, but unlike reigning king of tablets, you can actually work on the TouchPad. Does being able to actually work on a device make you or you company more likely to purchase it?

Jeff Dickey
Jeff Dickey

...your dream device would be twice as heavy as any of the tablets today, as big (physically) as a netbook, and be twice the price of the iPad (since they have to plan on making all their profit from the original sale, not from later add-ons). Oh, and compatibility with what? There is no usable Microsoft Windows for a touch interface yet (fanbois notwithstanding); the most successful Linux-based touch system is Android, and it's got it's own compatibility problems; so that leaves the Mac. And one of the things Apple did supremely right with iOS was recognising that fingers are not mice, and designing accordingly.Don't get me wrong; I'd love to see a practical implementation of what you're lookikng for; I'd likely buy it over the iPad 9 that it would be competing against. And I do like the HP better than any of the Android tablets I've evaluated.But, really, which would you rather have: spec-based theory, or ecosystem-based practice? Those of us in the reality-based community who actually have to get stuff done will, fairly reliably, choose the latter.

Realvdude
Realvdude

The american muscle car will move you (and 3 of your friends) as fast as you realistically expect to go, costs less, and you can repair it yourself. Versus the import, that touts speeds that can only practically be reached on a tract, get there with only the person you are trying to impress, cost at least 3 times more and 5 times more to have repaired (sorry, I meant serviced including oil changes) by a qualified factory technician to keep your warranty intact.

MacNewton
MacNewton

Now we can see your problem, my 5 year old MacBook pro is still on it original battery, It will only run for about an hour. But it's really out dated now, running on a G4 processor. But my point is this, if you buy an Apple iPad, the battery is coved for 3 years (with Applecare) . By the time you need to replace the batter the ipad 5 will be out. Thats life move on. We are taking about electronic devices not collectable cars.

MacNewton
MacNewton

A modern Tablet should not need to be opened up and repaired by someone that is not a certified tech. After three years of service, its time to move on. Any device thats older then that will be very out dated. If you think you can get replacement parts 3 years from now, well good luck with that. Save your money and buy a iPad.

rrjr7
rrjr7

Bill Please update your article: Models HP gloss black finish Size 9.45 x 7.48 x 0.54 in 240 x 190 x 13.7 mm Storage 16GB or 32GB Wireless and Cellular Support Dual-band Wi-Fi1 802.11 a/b/g/n with WPA, WPA2, WEP, 802.1X authentication Integrated wireless LAN + Bluetooth combo Bluetooth1 wireless technology 2.1 + EDR with A2DP Stereo Bluetooth support Display Size: 9.7-inch diagonal LED backlit multi-touch display (capacitive) Resolution: XGA (1024 x 768) 18-bit color depth Viewing angle: IPS wide viewing-angle technology Auto rotate (selectable) Multi-touch glass display with a special coating for easier cleaning and abrasion resistance Chip 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core APQ8060 processor Camera Front-facing 1.3MP camera and digital microphone for live video calling.5 Power and Battery 6300 mAh (typical) lithium-polymer battery Charging options are HP TouchPad A/C charger plus microUSB cable, and HP Touchstone wireless charging optional.6 Input/Output (1) Charger/microUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (1) 3.5mm stereo headset/headphone/microphone jack Sensors Light sensor, accelerometer, compass (magnetometer), and gyroscope Audio Playback Internal stereo speakers and Beats Audio integrated microphone 3.5 mm stereo headphone microphone jack Audio formats: DRM-free MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV TV and Video Qualcomm Adreno 220 core Video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264 Mail Attachment Support Microsoft Exchange email with Microsoft Direct Push Technology POP3/IMAP (Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, etc.) Messaging Integrated IM, SMS, and MMS7 Environmental Requirements Temperature Operating 32 to 104 F (0 to 40 C) Non-operating 14 to 149 F (-10 to 65 C) Relative Humidity Operating 10% to 90%, non-condensing Non-operating 5% to 95%, 101.6 F (38.7 C) maximum wet bulb temperature Altitude (unpressurized) Operating 0 to 5,000 ft (0 to 1,524 m) Non-operating 0 to 40,000 ft (0 to 12,192 m) In the Box HP TouchPad; Cleaning cloth; HP Touchpad AC charger; MicroUSB cable; Getting Started guide; Navigation guide Memory2 1GB Not customer accessible or upgradeable Support and Warranty HP webOS Butler Service--90-day toll-free setup assistance. 90-day Toll-Free Limited Software Support; 24x7 Free On-device, and Desktop Chat Support. 1-Year Limited Hardware Warranty NOTE: 90-day Toll-Free Setup Assistance, 24x7 Free On-device and Desktop Chat Support subject to change without notice. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply. Consult the HP Customer Support Center for details. www.palm.com/touchpadwifi-support-na-en Docking (optional) HP Touchstone Charging Dock (sold separately)

rrjr7
rrjr7

Yes I have one, it is awesome! Better spread the word, this is only the beginning of great "new things" from HP.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

HP rates the TouchPad's battery life at 8 hours of Web surfing on a full charge or 10 hours of video playback.

snoop0x7b
snoop0x7b

ASUS makes the EEE... Not Acer.

MacNewton
MacNewton

With The car kit, you get a car that looks like something that would be fast and run well, but you know its only a copy of the original product. The executive jet gets you their fast, safely and in comfort. For me I like to travel fast without thinking about replacing junk parts and replacing batteries.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Whenever you buy an Apple product you need to buy insurance in the form of Apple Care is it. Seems that you are not planning for failure but expecting it to happen and then have no way other that the Apple Repair House to go if thats what you think. Here Apple is just as bad as Toshiba in the way that they are attempting to control all aspects of their products ownership and service. Refuse to tell anyone but your Trained and Controlled Service Technicians how to repair something and you are attempting to control the repair process which invariably means more expensive repairs as you control the Service Rates and Price of Spares. Yes I know that's the entire way that Apple wants to work and stiffle competition but is it the best way to do business? If it is why do so many people go to E Bay and buy new Screens for their iPhones and repair them for a fraction of the price that Apple charges for the same thing? More importantly if you are subscribing to the Short Lifetimes that Apple Expounds for its products that is an extremely [b]Expensive and Wasteful[/b] exercise. Currently the Biggest Gold Mine in the world is mining gold at 3 grams per ton of overburden that they remove and treat. IPhones on the other hand have 5 grams of Gold per ton of bare phones and that is just one of the many precious and non-replaceable materials that are used in their construction. Any idiot can see if we continue to use materials that are not replaceable at this rate we will eventually run out of them and there will no longer be the ability to make these products. The current Philosophy expounded by the Mass Makers of Electronics seems non sustainable to me in the long run and if we continue this way its going to adversely affect us all. Just my 2 cents worth though and as I will not be around to suffer I really shouldn't care but I do because I want my children's children to have the same benefits that I have and not to live in a collapsing society with no prospects. I know that failing countries and Business don't think like this, but that is even more reason to prevent their wasteful ways. ;) Col

jsaubert
jsaubert

Just because I'm replacing a device does not mean that the device is at it's end-of-life. Generally I replace my personal computer/laptop on a 18-24 month cycle. The old device doesn't get tossed; it gets spiffed up as much as possible and is given to my Mother. It may be outdated for me but is perfect for selling on eBay, YouTube, and Facebook. Replacing some RAM or a battery is far cheaper and better for the environment than tossing it and buying her a new computer. The cycle continues after my Mother; she gets the "new" old computer and the "old" old computer gets passed to my Aunt and then finally to one of the younger kids as a "toy". By that time the computer is truly beyond salvaging. I try to suck every last second of life out of electronics. I cringe when I hear people talk about "disposable" electronics (or really "disposable" anything that's not). It feels like such a backward step in innovation to adhere to outside end-of-life proclamations. In most cases it seems like people go by a devices "end-of-coolness" rather than it's end-of-usefulness. I feel the same standard should be applied to tablets and other devices as well. I'd rather my outdated tablet live on with a user that doesn't need top of the line functionality for a few years before it ends up in the electronics graveyard.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Some of us, MacNewton, are Do It Yourselfers and others are not. As Ghandi once said, "You will find that there is room for us all."

Realvdude
Realvdude

I don't blame Bill for not including a laundry list of specs or a link that is likely to change. Thanks for the link though.