Reviews Are In For HP’s TouchPad: Nice, But It’s No iPad

HP’s TouchPad tablet has been put through the paces by a small army of the digerati, and the results are not spectacular. Almost to a reviewer, the Touchpad seems to have evoked the same response: a well-designed tablet with a great user interface that suffers from poor, buggy performance and clunky hardware. Read on for a sampling of the conclusions drawn by early reviews of the device, which goes on sale Friday:

Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD: “H-P stresses that webOS is a platform and that the TouchPad is just one iteration of it. The company plans to add the operating system to numerous devices, including laptops, and hopes that this scale will attract many more apps. And it pledges continuous updates to fix the current shortcomings.

But, at least for now, I can’t recommend the TouchPad over the iPad 2.”

David Pogue, New York Times: “In this 1.0 incarnation, the TouchPad doesn’t come close to being as complete or mature as the iPad or the best Android tablets; you’d be shortchanging yourself by buying one right now, unless you’re some kind of rabid A.B.A. nut (Anything but Apple).

But there are signs of greatness here. H.P. is coming to this battle very late, but it says it intends to stay the course. True, it’s tilting at windmills — but at least it’s riding an impressive steed.”

Donald Bell, CNET: “The TouchPad would have made a great competitor for the original iPad, but its design, features, and speed put it behind today’s crop of tablet heavyweights.”

Joshua Topolsky, This Is My Next: “The TouchPad is far from perfect – really, not even close right now. Still, there is DNA here that is amazing, and deserves to be given a second look. What HP (NYSE: HPQ) has done in just a year with webOS is commendable, and if the fixes for some of these big, ugly bugs come as fast as the company is promising, the TouchPad could be the contender everyone over there thinks it is.”

Harry McCracken, Time: “The HP execs who are responsible for WebOS are quick to remind everyone that they work for the largest technology company on the planet, and that it’s committed to making the platform into a massive success. First, let’s see if it buckles down, squashes the TouchPad’s bugs, and convinces more developers that it’s a product with a future. This tablet bears the burden of great potential; it’ll be a real shame if it turns out to be nothing more than yet another unsatisfying, unfinished iPad alternative.