Review by Sunetra Chakravati,
12/12/2011 4:01:51 PM
Less expensive than the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
At times sluggish performance, fiddly navigation and a lack of customisable Android charm
In the face of the tablet boom many consumers have asked themselves if any of these new devices will truly replace the laptop. Not everyone would happily ditch their next laptop for a touch-screen so what better way to compromise than with a gadget that gives you the best of both worlds?
The ViewPad is a weighty 10.1 inch beast of 870g, but it does house a 1.5GHz Atom Z670 processor. The device is entirely touch-screen, with four touch sensitive buttons on the right side of the display when in landscape mode; Search, Return, Home and Settings menus. Top middle you'll spot an built-in 1.3 megapixel webcam. Left hand side you'll find the charger, HDMI, and USB ports as well as the 3.5mm jack and microSD. Up top are two power and charge LEDs and the device's power and hold buttons and volume controls.
The tablet runs on Windows 7 and Android 2.2, so you can select which operating system you wish to use no doubt depending on what you're doing. Draft documents on Windows 7 and access app games on Android.
It's easy enough to switch between, but it's a little more of a convoluted process navigating around the programs in the Android emulation.
You don't have access to the Android Market per se, there's a version preinstalled which is not as slick or access to certain official apps like Facebook.
The processor suffers serious lags at times and the more dedicated tablet fans may find it unintuitive. Business users will find the Windows 7 part of the tablet comfortingly familiar. You'll be able to draft documents and check emails on the go and it's certainly more portable than a hefty laptop and all its accoutrements. Eight hour battery life is in its favour, and while the screen is not as sharp as other devices it can run movies in 1080p.
Web browsing is a mixed bag; yes you have the tabbed browsing of a laptop but there is a lag factor that might see you navigating away to other pages by mistake. The touchscreen was hit or miss. At times it was fine, at others there is a distracting lag factor between action and consequence. Typing is not quite as slick as it could be; if you need to input text a rather 80s graphic pops up allowing you to access the on screen keyboard. When you consider how fluid typing is on Android tabs, this looks dated.
The ViewSonic ViewPad 10pro is a tablet in the grips of an identity crisis. It doesn't know if it wants to be a laptop or a tablet, so it's sat on the fence. It's not as portable as its peers and the dual OS is certainly not for everyone. Business users reluctant to drop their laptops and dive headfirst into tablets will like the dual OS and desktop-like features when in Windows 7. So if you're more likely to use spreadsheets than apps and give touchscreen a whirl then this is something to consider. However at this price point you might want to choose a tablet with a little more direction.