Over the past few months, HP quietly teased a tablet in ads and marketing materials. It had the appearance of something sleek and premium. As it turns out, that tablet was the ElitePad: a 10-inch, aluminum-cased Windows 8 tablet that has all the makings of something desirable.
The ElitePad is everything you'd expect a Windows 8 tablet to be on paper. It can run in Metro or desktop mode. It feels solid when you pick it up, and the short time I spent fiddling around with it made it seem like a responsive device. And the design—its curved tapered sides, and squared off top, don't feel entirely derivative of Apple's design.
Built on top of Intel's Clover Trail platform, the 1280x800 display strikes a compromise between the mag-friendly-but-video-hostile 4:3 aspect ratio and the slightly too wide 16:9 tablet display. At 0.36 inches and 1.5 pounds, it's not the lightest or thinnest tablet around (the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD is thinner and the iPad is lighter), but it's still at the more impressive end of each spectrum. The two gigs of RAM is on par with other Clover Trail machines, and the option to include up to 64 gigabytes of internal storage is nice for a device that's pure tablet. Toss in the 1080p front cam and the 8-megapixel rear cam, and it sounds like a Windows 8 tablet people might actually want.