A square slate, all black Gorilla Glass on the front and silver aluminum on the back, the HP ElitePad 900 is a stylish Windows 8 tablet. The bezel is wide and the corners rounded. Edges taper to a point that is almost sharp to the touch.
At 9.2mm this qualifies as a thin full-sized tablet. It's also not as heavy as you might expect from an Intel tablet - at 680g it is in the same ball park as the 650g iPad 4.
There's a single proprietary connector at the bottom. The connector had a tendancy to slip out in our tests. At the top of the ElitePad is a power button, screen rotation lock and headphone jack. A volume rocker sits on the left. You can find welcome MicroSD and micro-SIM slots on the righthand side.
Generally the ElitePad feels unremarkable but classy, built to last, but the silver back of the ElitePad did pick up black marks in our few days of carrying it around.
HP ElitePad 900: display
The ElitePad has a 10.1in multitouch Gorilla Glass display. It's an LED display with a WXGA resolution. That gives it a pixels per inch of 150 - not poor in comparison to your Windows laptop, but very far from the eye-catching displays of consumer tablets such as the Nexus 10. An image aspect ratio of 16:10 makes it a widescreen display in its native landscape format, which will be good for business tasks such as email and spreadsheets.
Text on the live tiles in Windows 8's Modern UI is occasionally a little unclear, but on documents with white backgrounds everything is fine. Viewing angles are pretty good, too. Photos look pretty good - occasionally a little washed out and lacking a tiny bit of detail.
HP ElitePad 900: performance, specifications, battery life
The ElitePad is perfectly adequate for general web-browsing and office use. But the sacrifices made to fit a Windows PC into such a svelte frame are there to be seen.
Where the Surface Pro turned in an Ultrabook-like PCMark7 benchmark score of 4751, the ElitePad could stretch to an average score of only 1444. That's not a disaster - the ElitePad is adequate for basic tasks such as web browsing, streaming video and running Microsoft Office. Don't even think about trying the latest Windows games, however.
In our GeekBench2 tablet and smartphone benchmark the ElitePad returned an average score of 1430.
We were impressed with the ElitePad's battery life. With moderate use throughout the day we found we could get a day out of the ElitePad which is the basic for tablets, and strong for an Intel Atom device.
You get 64GB or 32GB of storage, as well as that MicroSD card slot.
HP EitePad 900: cameras
The ElitePad has an 8Mp rear-facing camera, and a front-facing 2Mp webcam. That webcam is no slouch in the video department, able to capture 1080p HD video. Your camera's shot button is a tap of the screen. Software options include brightness, contrast, flicker and exposure, and you can set the megapixel rating of shots captured.
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 ElitePad 900: the bottom line
The ElitePad 900 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. We award three and a half stars.