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HP drops 4 new Slate tablets in surprise release

Hewlett-Packard this week released a trio of Android tablets powered by Nvidia Tegra processors for the holiday shopping season, including a pair of 7in slates and an 8-incher, as well as the new 10in HP Slate10 HD with a dual-core Marvell chip under the hood.

HP Slate7 Plus

The HP Slate7 Plus, sporting a 7in, 1,280 x 800 display, is available for $149.99 (£91) on HP's retail site. It runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and sports Nvidia's Tegra 3 application processor, while offering 1GB of DDR3 SDRAM and 8GB of internal storage. The Wi-Fi-enabled tablet, available in a silver finish, measures in at 194.7 x 122.7 x 10.7 mm and weighs 340g.

The Slate7 Plus has a 0.3-megapixel, front-facing VGA video webcam with an omni-directional microphone and 5-megapixel, rear-facing camera for still photography and 720p video. The tablet's 4000 mAh lithium polymer battery provides up to 6.5 hours of battery life between charges, according to HP. Ports include a headphone-microphone combo slot, a microUSB slot, and a microSD slot for expandable storage up to 32GB.

HP Slate7 Extreme

Priced at $199.99 (£121), the HP Slate7 Extreme is another 7-incher but comes loaded with more powerful hardware than the HP Slate7 Plus, including a 1.8GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 chip with four ARM Cortex A15 cores and an additional "battery-saver" core.

The Slate7 Extreme also runs Android 4.2.2 and has 1GB of memory but ships with a 16GB internal storage drive. In addition to 802.11b/g/n WiFi, this tablet supports Bluetooth 3.0, making it Miracast-compatible. HP is promising up to 10.5 hours of battery life courtesy of the 4100 mAh lithium polymer inside the Slate7 Extreme, which is available in slate silver.

This tablet features a 7in diagonal WVA IPS HD multi-touch screen with 1,280 x 800 resolution and supports external Ulta HD 4K displays via an HDMI port, as well as having a combination charging-micro USB slot, a headphone port, and a microSD port for storage expansion up to 32GB. The 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera and 5-megapixel rear-facing camera round out the major hardware specs, while the Slate7 Extreme measures in at 200 x 120 x 9.4 mm and weighs 320g.

HP Slate8 Pro

The HP Slate8 Pro is the priciest of the new quartet of consumer tablets at £279, and is available in a snow-white finish. It's also got a 1.8GHz Tegra 4 chip under the hood but unlike HP's new 7in tablets, the Slate8 Pro is running Android 4.2 and not 4.2.2 at the moment.

In addition to its higher-resolution, 1,600 x 1,200 display for a larger, 8in diagonal WVA multi-touch screen, the HP Slate8 Pro possesses a more powerful, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera than the Slate7 Plus and Slate7 Extreme, featuring auto-focus, an LED flash component, and HD video recording capability. The Slate8 Pro's front-facing webcam is a 720p unit and the tablet measures in at 220 x 141.5 x 9.9 mm and weighs 451g.

The Slate8 Pro has a 5680 mAh lithium-polymer battery offering up to 11.5 hours of power between charges, per HP, while 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 are both supported in the tablet. You're getting 16GB of internal storage and 1GB of onboard memory with this system, as well as an HDMI port for moving content over to Ultra HD 4K displays and a 32GB microSD expansion slot.

HP Slate10 HD

Finally, the HP Slate10 HD is available for £229 and it's the only one of the four with a Marvell application processor instead of one from Nvidia. The silk grey tablet has Marvell's dual-core, 1.2GHz PXA986 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) under the hood running Android 4.2.2, with a 7000 mAh lithium-polymer battery serving up to 10 hours of battery life, according to HP.

You're getting 1GB of memory and 16GB of onboard storage (plus the regular 32GB microSD expansion slot) with the Slate10 HD, which as its name indicates, has a 10in diagonal multi-touch display with 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution. The tablet's dimensions are 259 x 178 x 9.7 mm and it weighs in at 630g.