ViewSonic ViewPad 10S review

9 Mar 2011

Fast, feature-packed and reasonably priced, but the screen is poor and there’s no support for Android Market

Price when reviewed 
280
4

The speed at which manufacturers are churning out tablets is mind-boggling, yet aside from Apple, none has really convinced. ViewSonic hopes to change that with the ViewPad 10S, an update to the distinctly uninspiring, dual-booting Windows/Android tablet, the ViewPad 10.

From the outside, there’s nothing that particularly catches the eye. It sports a wide-aspect 10.1in screen with a resolution of 1,024 x 600. The chassis looks plain, it isn’t light at 750g, and its all-plastic construction can’t compete with even the first-generation iPad.

ViewSonic ViewPad 10S

But then it isn’t intended to compete head-to-head with Apple’s finest: its main target is more along the lines of Creative’s 7in and 10in tablets, which are pitched at an audience keen to try a tablet, but unwilling to fork out more than £300.

With this in mind, the ViewPad 10S doesn’t look too bad a deal. The build quality isn’t luxurious, but neither is it cheap-feeling. The screen sports capacitive touch technology – one up on the Creative tablets that both have resistive displays – and it’s reasonably easy to use. There are no physical buttons on its front face: the back, menu and home controls are on a toolbar at the top of the screen – and that’s unsettling at first. You quickly get used to it, though, and for applications that occupy the whole of the screen there’s a back button on the top-right edge, next to the power button.

The rest of the specification is pretty decent. You get 802.11g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, HDMI output, 16GB of storage via a bundled microSD card, and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera. That full-sized HDMI output, incidentally, is theoretically capable of playing back Full HD video on your TV, and next to that port on a flap on the right-hand side is a USB host port for the attachment of USB thumb drives, a keyboard or a mouse. You can also buy a docking station, complete with HDMI output and USB sockets, for £30 inc VAT.

ViewSonic ViewPad 10S

It’s when you look at the internals that the real interest begins, however, because at the heart of the 10S beats a monster of a mobile processing unit: the Nvidia Tegra 250. This couples a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor with Nvidia’s own eight-core Ultra-Low-Power (ULP) GeForce graphics chip and 512MB of DDR2 RAM, for a tablet aimed not only at browsing the web, playing video and listening to music, but also enabling smooth playback of games.

Detail

Price ex VAT £233
Price inc VAT £280
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 4
Performance 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4

Physical

Dimensions 275 x 15.8 x 179mm (WDH)
Weight 770g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,024
Resolution screen vertical 600
Display type TFT

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1,000MHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 512MB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
Focus type Fixed
Built-in flash? no
Built-in flash type N/A
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11g
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS no
Upstream USB ports 1
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 2.2