HP brought the Android experience to the big screen with the Slate 21 last year and today announced a beefed up version for office and commercial use. Starting at $399, the Slate 21 Pro is a 21-inch all-in-one that costs the same as its predecessor, but targets a more sophisticated user with improved specs and preloaded security and IT management software. We got a sneak preview of the Slate 21 Pro, which will be available March 6, 2014, and our first impressions show this Android 4.3 behemoth has potential to be an effective home office device.
Packing improved specs from the Slate 21, such as 2GB RAM instead of 1GB and 16GB storage from 8GB, the Slate 21 Pro promises better performance than its older brother. We observed smooth operation for the most part as we looked through all apps and went back to the home screen. Images were beautiful on the Pro's bright full HD display. We noticed vibrant purples, greens and blues on a wallpaper featuring a setting sun above a winding road. HP's rep also showed off a nifty feature - with an HDMI-in connection and a USB upstream cable(included), you can use the Slate 21 Pro as an extended display for your Windows 8 PC . The function did not work perfectly during our demonstration as we observed some lag in setting it up, but we appreciate the ability to use both Android and Windows operating systems on the Pro's touch-enabled screen.
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Designed for a home or small business office, the Slate 21 Pro also comes with Citrix Ready for IT management. HP's rep showed us how the app lets users access remote programs that are not installed on the Pro such as Microsoft Word or Excel. We liked the software upgrades on the Slate 21 Pro, but were somewhat dismayed that the all-in-one still sports the same chunky chassis (albeit in a more business-like black hue) with the same odd bezel as the older device. We are also concerned about the current dearth of apps able to make full use of the device's ample 21-inch display. When we reviewed the Slate 21, portrait apps such as Snapchat looked odd, taking up just the center third of the screen, despite HP saying it has software that optimizes programs for the large display. There weren't portrait apps pre-installed on the demo version of the Pro, but we don't expect many users to install such apps on this device.
The Slate 21 Pro also comes with a wired mouse and keyboard, both in matching black, and has the same Tegra 4 processor, front-facing speakers and array of ports as its brother. It's noticeably heavier at 13.6 pounds compared to the Slate 21's 10.69 pounds. We look forward to putting the Slate 21 Pro through our tests in a full review. Stay tuned for more information.