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Posted on September 2nd, 2010 by Sasha Muller

ViewSonic ViewPad tablets review: first look

With many of IFA’s halls still resembling something more akin a building site than a cutting-edge technology show, we were surprised to find that Viewsonic’s stand was already well up and running. And, to a chorus of heart-stopping crashes and bangs from the grumpy Germanic workmen nearby, Viewsonic gave us a hands-on look at their latest 7in and 10in ViewPad Tablets.
The smallest of the touch-powered pair, the 7in ViewPad, is a truly gorgeous little device. There’s more than a passing resemblance to a gigantified iPhone 4, with the aluminium-effect strip round its edge and glossy black back paying a more than welcome homage to Apple’s finest. We were entirely surprised to hear that it’s an all-plastic constuction, though – this is one classy feeling device.
Those good looks are backed up with a solid set of hardware within. Viewsonic has thankfully resisted the temptation to fiddle with custom skins for Android 2.1, and the combination of a responsive capacitive 800 x 480 display and a 600MHz Qualcomm Snappdragon processor makes for a fairly responsive experience. Transitions between pages were a toucch juddery and scrolling through websites wasn’t perfectly smooth, but it’s certainly usable. The screen is bright and crisp, too.
And in an attempt to usurp the Dell Streak as the largest mobile phone in existence, the 7in ViewPad also doubles as a phone, with cellular and 3G modems nestling alongside 802.11g and Bluetooth.
The 10in ViewPad is a rather different and novel beast, however. A brushed aluminium rear contrasts with the matte and gloss black spreading around its sides and bezel,
Both the 7in and 10in models will be hitting the shelves sometime in October

Viewsonic 7in Tablet Android Home screenWith many of IFA’s halls still resembling something more akin to a building site than a cutting-edge technology show, we were surprised to find that ViewSonic’s stand was already up and running. And, to a chorus of heart-stopping crashes and bangs from the grumpy Germanic workmen nearby, ViewSonic gave us a hands-on look at its latest 7in and 10in ViewPad Tablets.

Viewsonic 7in Tablet rear camera

Click here to read our full ViewSonic ViewPad 10 review.

The smallest of the touch-powered pair, the ViewPad 7, is a truly gorgeous little device. There’s more than a passing resemblance to a gigantified iPhone 4, with the aluminium-effect strip around its edge and glossy black back paying a more than welcome homage to Apple’s finest. We were entirely surprised to hear that it’s an all-plastic construction, though it feels pleasingly solid. You’d better have a cloth to hand, though, it’s a veritable smudge-fest.

Viewsonic 7in Tablet PC Pro homepageThose good looks are backed up with a solid set of hardware within. ViewSonic has thankfully resisted the temptation to fiddle with custom skins for Android 2.1, and the combination of a responsive capacitive 800 x 480 display – yes, it ’s multitouch – and a 600MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor makes for a fairly responsive experience. Transitions between pages were a touch juddery and scrolling through websites wasn’t perfectly smooth, but it’s certainly usable. The screen is bright and crisp, too.

Viewsonic 7in Tablet buttons portsAnd in an attempt to usurp the Dell Streak as the largest mobile phone in existence, the 7in ViewPad also doubles as a phone, with cellular and 3G modems nestling alongside 802.11g and Bluetooth. Physical connections, meanwhile, extend to a headphone output and both SIM and microSD card slots.

A bigger tablet to swallow

Viewsonic 10in Tablet Android home screen

Viewsonic 10in Tablet Dual bootThe 10.1in ViewPad is a rather different and novel beast, however. ViewSonic has brought netbook and tablet together in an unholy matrimony, with Intel’s Atom N455 processor, 1GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD lurking within. Stranger still, this tablet is a dual-booting curio, with both Windows 7 Home Premium and Google’s Android OS present.

Viewsonic 10in Tablet Win 7 PaintFirst impressions are rather promising. The 10.1in screen opts for an unsurprising 1,024 x 600 pixel resolution, and is bright and clear. Our first moments with Windows 7 were surprisingly painless, too: we expected the Atom processor and 1GB of memory to be horrendously sluggish, but it wasn’t the case.  We were soon prodding our way through Windows with surprising fluidity. Fast, it is not. Usable, it certainly is.

Switch to Android, however, and the ViewPad flies. The Atom processor makes mincemeat of the lightweight OS’s modest demands, and responded to finger presses and swipes with astounding fluidity. The only problem? Intel’s Atom only allows for the 1.6 build of Android and, as yet, 2.2 is just a glimmer in Google’s eye.

Also, in a decision which is likely to disappoint those with unnaturally enormous hands, Viewsonic has done away with the phone functionality in favour of an optional 3G modem. 802.11g wireless is ever-present, though.

Viewsonic 10in Tablet Android home screen

Viewsonic 10in Tablet ports 1Build quality isn’t quite the match of its 7in cousin, but the 835g ViewPad 10 still feels nice and solid in the hand. A brushed aluminium rear contrasts nicely with the matte and gloss black spreading around its sides and bezel, and a couple of USB ports lie alongside a headphone output and a microSD card slot.

Both models will be hitting the shelves sometime in October, with the ViewPad 7 retailing for around 395 Euros, and the ViewPad 10 for 499 Euros. We’ll have to reserve judgement until they make their way across the channel to PC Pro’s labs, but until then, we’re quietly optimistic that they’ll be well worth waiting for.

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3 Responses to “ ViewSonic ViewPad tablets review: first look ”

  1. Matthew Sparkes Says:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Hmm, Samsung are in the lead so far, by my reckoning…

    That is smudge-tastic, or is it just that reviewers are extra greasy after wandering around IFA all day?

     
  2. CMD Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Stick Ubuntu Netbook Edition with the Unity interface on it and you have a winner!

     
  3. Roger J Says:
    September 7th, 2010 at 8:32 am

    This ViewSonic 10″ model looks interesting, but can you write on the screen, take handwritten notes with OneNote?

     

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