ViewSonic ViewPad 10S review
Fast, feature-packed and reasonably priced, but the screen is poor and there’s no support for Android Market
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.
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.
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.
|Price ex VAT||£233|
|Price inc VAT||£280|
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||4|
|Dimensions||275 x 15.8 x 179mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,024|
|Resolution screen vertical||600|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1,000MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
|Built-in flash type||N/A|
|Upstream USB ports||1|
|Mobile operating system||Android 2.2|