ViewSonic ViewPad 10 review
If nothing else, the ViewPad shows Atom-powered Android tablets could have a bright future - but this one is too raw to recommend
Review Date: 9 Nov 2010
Reviewed By: Tim Danton
Price when reviewed: £365 (£429 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The ViewSonic ViewPad 10 is unlike any other tablet we've seen: it not only runs Google Android but also Windows 7 Home Premium. After switching it on you're offered a DOS-style dual-boot menu, with Android at the top and Windows 7 below. Android boots up in around 15 seconds; Windows in less than a minute.
ViewSonic sells this vision as "The best of both worlds", and occasionally you get glimpses of just how good an idea it could be. In particular, Android flies along at a blistering speed. Drag the screen from left to right and the next one screams into position quicker than a politician chasing a bandwagon.
The responsiveness extends to web browsing too. Enter an address and, on a fast Wi-Fi connection, your chosen site will hove into view before you've had time to blink: the BBC homepage took a mere five seconds, half the time of the Apple iPad. Apps appear on the screen in a flash and all Android's usual back-end settings menus respond crisply. This, just to be absolutely clear, is a fast tablet PC.
There are also a terrific variety of ports. Two USB ports on the left mean you can use the ViewPad as a "proper" computer even when running Android. We plugged in a USB keyboard and mouse and were soon entering text at a speed that other slates can only dream of. (We experimented with a Bluetooth mouse as well, but our hopes were dashed: we could pair but not connect.) There's even a mini-VGA out.
The screen itself is a 10in capacitive display with a 1,024 x 600 resolution - typical netbook fare, but with the added advantage of support for multitouch. At full brightness it looks suitably impressive, and with regards to its representation of colours, we've no complaints. What it won't do is whack you between the eyes with its sharpness, and viewing angles are narrow too.
Where things go wrong
The big problem for the ViewPad 10, however, is that it runs Android 1.6. For starters, that means no Flash support, but it also means that the majority of new apps developed for Android 2 tablets won't work.
Of the apps that are bundled, a version of DataViz Documents to Go (able to create and edit Word- and Excel-compatible documents) is probably the best, but even that was buggy: on occasion it quit when we flicked to other programs. We were even more disappointed by the YouTube app, where the audio lagged behind the video.
Again, the thorn in the side of android based devices...
The slow reaction of hardware vendors to update and take advantage of the latest OS. SOmething Apple has sown up. For all its other issues Apple has this under control and will benefit from that stability.
I'm crying out for a tablet, but nothing has hit the market yet that has convinced me, either on price or execution.
I remember our quest years ago, to find the ultimate smartphone for our business users. It took many years and many itterations for the smartphone revolution to happen, I hope that the tablet manufacturers can learn from that experience and get it right, quickly!
By Bluespider on 9 Nov 2010
...that the resolution isn't 1024x768, at least.
That way, you could change the 'display' DPI to 125% which will make thise 'x's much, MUCH easier to tap with your fingers. Also, all the icons would be much bigger, making Windows 7 that bit easier to use with touch.
It's also a shame that no hardly any Windows 7 reviews ever mention that little magical bit of information.
By rhythm on 21 Nov 2010
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