A sleek and colourful design, Beats Audio speakers, a 14-inch touchscreen, plenty of input and output ports — all nice specs to see in a laptop. This particular PC, though, distinguishes itself by running Android rather than Windows; HP's new SlateBook PC is banking on Google's operating system to drive down prices.
An Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of RAM and up to 64GB of internal storage keeps things running smoothly, and going on our previous experience with devices with those specs it should be capable enough for basic everyday work or home usage. It's a bit mystifying why HP is releasing the SlateBook alongside its existing and new Chromebooks, but more cheap laptops on the market can't be a bad thing.
Android is inherently more customisable than ChromeOS, but it's also a little less restrictive — it's open to the entire range of Android apps on the Google Play Store rather than those released solely for ChromeOS. Being built to run Android means it's happier with storing files locally rather than on online storage, too — you don't need an always-on Internet connection to use an Android device to its fullest.
Although it hasn't been confirmed for Australia just yet — we're checking that with HP — the US$399 SlateBook PC will go on sale in the States from early August. Interestingly enough, the SlateBook looks like it'll depart from the usual Android tablet masses by not sticking an obnoxious skin on top of the operating system — the announcement video shows a lot of regular Google apps like Gmail and the unmolested app drawer.