HTC Flyer review

25 May 2011

A fine 7in tablet, and the lack of Android 3 doesn’t hurt it much, but the price is far too high

Price when reviewed: 
600more
4

HTC is well known for ploughing its own furrow when it comes to mobile devices. It insists on using its custom Sense UI on Android smartphones, and its first tablet, the HTC Flyer, is no different. Where most modern tablets are opting for Android 3, this device plumps for a Sense-enhanced version of Android 2.3.

HTC Flyer

If that sounds strange, just wait until we get to the rest of the Flyer’s quirks. Instead of joining the 10in herd, it’s a 7in device like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and it doesn’t have a dual-core processor either – in its place there’s a fast, single-core 1.5GHz CPU. It comes with a stylus for old-school pen operation, augmenting the usual finger-driven tapping, swiping and pinching.

It’s definitely different, then, but the key question is: does this make it any better? Well, it certainly looks the part, and the 7in 1,024 x 600 screen is lovely. Anyone worried the stylus might mean reverting to resistive technology can breathe easy; it’s a capacitive unit, and a pretty bright one at that. We measured it at 379cd/m[sup]2[/sup], considerably brighter than the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Contrast isn’t bad either at 654:1, lending movies, games and pictures real punch and vigour.

HTC Flyer

We like the idea of the stylus, too. Tap anywhere on most screens and the Flyer takes a screenshot that can then be annotated using a series of pens and brushes. Hold down one button on the stylus and you can highlight text; hold the other and you can erase what you’ve just scribbled down. The selection of brushes and nibs, plus HTC’s Notepad app, will give your absent-minded doodles a whole new lease of life.

Build and design

As with most HTC devices of late, the Flyer is nicely put together. It’s hewn from a chunk of aluminium with white plastic bumpers at the top and bottom of the rear panel, and feels better made than the Galaxy Tab, which is built mostly from less classy, shiny plastic. It’s light enough to hold comfortably in one hand and use as an eBook reader, something you certainly can’t say of the 10in Android tablet crowd.

HTC Flyer - rear shot

In fact, as it’s running Android 2.3.3, the Flyer feels more like a phone than the recent tablets we’ve looked at, and that’s an impression underpinned by the presence of the HTC Sense UI with its handy widgets and apps.

Detail

Price ex VAT £500
Price inc VAT £600
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 4
Performance 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 3

Physical

Dimensions 195.4 x 13.2 x 122mm (WDH)
Weight 420g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 7.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 600
Resolution screen vertical 1,024
Panel technology TFT

Battery

Battery capacity 4,000mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1,500MHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 1,000MB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? no
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Accessories supplied Stereo headset
Upstream USB ports 0
HDMI output? no
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 2.3