This is the good HP. We knew that HP had been planning on making some new Android hardware, but the Slate 7 is still a pleasant surprise. Because it's good.
The Slate 7 is built on almost-stock Android. "Almost" means that a few things are added—Beats audio and, sigh, in-app PRINTING (THANKS HP REALLY WANTED THAT)—but other than that, it's the same build you'd see in a Nexus (though this is built on 4.1.1). Integrated, not skinned. Playing with it, it's just as fast and fluid as a stock build. This might be a better way to do Android.
As for the hardware, you'd never guess from holding it that this is a $169 tablet. Its got a soft touch back plate and a stainless steel side, and, more importantly, it feels sturdy without being heavy, and is comfortable to hold in portrait or landscape because of its 16:10 size. It's essentially like using a variant of the Nexus 7 that is made differently, but not perceptibly worse. And cheaper.
The 1024x600 display isn't amazing for its vibrance or sharpness, but it's on par with the Nexus, and its color imperfections sort of reminded me of the Nexus 7's screen.
The stories, though, are the builds. Of the Slate 7 itself and its version of Android.