I purchased three HP touchpads during the firesale in early August 2011 when the tablets were being pulled off the market. Two were for seven year old boys to play games on, and one was for personal use. Overall, I have to admit that the HP touchpads are decent-quality tablets with an amazing price tag when purchased in like-new condition off popular auction sites.
The biggest concern I held upon purchasing the tablets was the webOS operating system. Upon first use, however, I realized that webOS was very similar to both Android and IOS, and was just as user friendly. In my opinion, webOS only has two drawbacks. The first and minor drawback is that apps are no longer being produced. However, the app store still held a variety of apps, from angry birds to weather to notebook apps. There are enough apps to make the tablet useful, although more apps would be better.
There is one major drawback that anyone purchasing the HP touchpad should realize. The webOS operating system still has quirks and bugs. Users may encounter random issues while using the tablet. In fact, one of the seven year olds tablets froze on us after a few months. I was unable to fix the problem, so I had to send it into HP for repair/replacement. At least HP was very helpful and professional. The replacement tablet was free and was shipped quickly.
Other bugs I have encountered mainly revolve around the app store. Some apps cannot be downloaded for odd reasons one day, but can be downloaded the next without issue. It appears that webOS was never polished quite as nicely as it should be. However, these quirks are not enough to interfere with normal day to day use. They only pop up every now and then.
Overlooking the software issues, however, the tablet itself is built very well. Battery life is average to above average for a tablet of this size. The screen has great resolution, and the camera is about average for a tablet. The tablet itself is physically durable, as the now ten year old boys have yet to break a tablet while roughhousing.
The Bottom Line –The HP touchpad a perfectly priced tablet to be used as an eBook reader, web-surfer, and light gaming platform (for children and adults alike). The oddities of webOS makes using this tablet for work not recommended. Although these tablets are no longer available new, they can easily be had in like-new condition on popular auction sites.
For those seriously looking for a cheap tablet that can be run on a reliable operating system, it is worth mentioning that the HP tablet can be run on either Android or Linux. Specifically, the Android releases of Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich have been successfully run on the touchpad, while multiple Linux releases can be run. However, communities around the touchpad are beginning to die back. If you are interested in installing either operating system on the tablet you should first find a small community with the skill to advise you in case if something goes amuck.