ViewSonic ViewPad 7 Android Tablet Review

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It seems like we've all been waiting for "the iPad killer." It's not that anybody thinks Apple's slate device needs to be knocked off its perch directly, but let's be honest, consumers benefit from competitive options to choose from, whether it be strictly on price or performance and innovation. 7 and 10-inch Android and Windows based tablets have been trickling out from various manufacturers over the past few months, though the pace of both development and release of these devices doesn't appear to be happening fast enough to keep pace with Apple this holiday season.  Sure, Samsung stepped up with some significant buzz for the Galaxy Tab, but in a lot of ways the total solution just didn't have the same punch as Apple's new thin and light ultra-portable.  And so we wait, while Android continues to become more robust as an OS and manufacturers from all over continue to polish and refine new slate PCs.

ViewSonic is a household name that many consumers can identify with in terms of their lineage in the LCD market.  So, at least on the surface, it would make sense that a panel manufacturer (akin to Samsung actually) would have solid leverage in components and materials, to compete in the white-hot tablet arena.  We gave you a preview of their 10-inch Tegra 2-based g-tablet, not long ago and we actually have that in house right now for testing, though there are OS updates coming that we're hearing should offer a better experience.  In the meantime, we also have their 7-inch ViewPad 7 tablet here and it has been recently buffed out with Android 2.2 for what is arguably the best tablet experience on the market currently, at least on this side of the Apple fence.  The ViewPad 7's 7-inch form factor is decidedly more portable than a 10-inch slate, and this device has every IO option you could ever want, including micro-USB, micro-SD card, and SIM card slots, as well as front and rear facing cameras. 

Let's demo it for you quickly first and then we'll dive into performance and user experience.


ViewSonic ViewPad 7 Specifications
Android 2.2-Driven Portability
  • Android 2.2 (Froyo) Operating System
  • 600MHz Qualcomm ARM11 Processor
  • Adreno 200 Graphics Core
  • Front VGA Camera and 3MP Rear-Facing Camera
  • Android Google Mobile Services (GMS)
  • 512 MB of ROM, 512 MB RAM
  • 3G Cellular Radio with Sim Card Slot
  • Wi-fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 800×480 WVGA LCD screen
  • Capacitive Multi-Touch
  • 3,240mAh Lithium Polymer Battery
  • 4–6 hrs (heavy, continuous use) 600 hrs Standby
  • Mini USB Port and Micro SD Slot Up To 32GB
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • G-Sensor, E-Compass and Ambient Light Sensor
 
  • Access to Android Market Place
  • eReader TXT, HTML, EPUB, PDF, Office
  • ViewPad 7, Charger, Leatherette Cover, USB Cable, Earphones, Quick Start Guide
  • Pre-loaded Apps

USB, Bluetooth, micro-SD card slot, SIM card slot -- that's a laundry list of specifications above, many of which iPad owners wish they could lay claim to as well, save perhaps for the 600MHz ARM11 CPU and only 512MB of internal storage.  However, drawing parallels to the iPad really isn't the right approach.  The two are very different devices really, though competing in the same product segment. In addition, micro-SD cards are cheap, so dropping in another 16 - 32GB of storage could be a small $25 - $50 upgrade.  And as you'll find out, that 600MHz ARM11 isn't quite as underpowered as you might think.  Let's drop down another level for a closer look.

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It's a cool little piece of bling. I'm not sure if it's $475.00 cool though. It was quicker doing most tasks than I thought it would be. I could see using it as my phone if it worked that way.

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I saw a similar version of this tablet in Sears today, but I think I like Archos a little more. Smile

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