* Prices may differ from that shown
Over the passed few months I've been using a different 'tablet' PC than my normal one due to the fact that my normal one is, well, let's say it's out of action after a bit of an incident. So I was fortunate to be able to get my hands on this one so that I could carry on with what I had to do.
Anyway, after using this 'new' tablet now I feel as though I can happily give my honest opinion about it.
The tablet device I am using and going to tell you about is in fact called the Viewsonic ViewPad7 and is a rather fine little tablet PC which can be transported a lot easier than even a laptop.
** Firstly, a few specs to entice you...
* It has a 7inch visible TFT screen with a 800 x 480 display resolution
* Runs on Android 2.2
* Has a 600MHz CPU
* 512 internal memory, (RAM), with a micro SD card slot, up to 32 GB
* Two cameras, Front is a VGA (or 0.3MP) and the rear is a 3MP
* Video and still capture capabilities
* Wireless 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity
* Overall size is 180mm x 120mm x 11mm thick weighing in at about 380grams
* Two speakers
* Built in is an Accelerometer, G-sensor, light sensor, digital compass
* Supports text such as HTML, TXT, EPUB and PDF.
* Uses Android market for downloading Apps
** What does it look like then..?
It's not the prettiest of tablets with its brush silver finished sides, its shiny darker back and a few curves in just the right places. On the front there is the touch screen itself with a VGA camera on the top left and four buttons running down the right side.
Those four buttons are, (from top to bottom, so to speak), Return, Search, Home and then Menu
On the rear there is the second camera which is 3 mega pixel, then on the top there is the SIM card slot, the micro SD card slot and the volume button. On the bottom there is the Microphone pinhole, the micro USB port and a headphone jack
Finally, on both sides there are speakers, making this a stereo system in effect whilst below the left side speaker there is a tiny button that turns the screen off, saving the battery a little bit.
** The tablet itself...
The initial turn on is simple, just fully charge the battery, then press and hold down the power button which is under the left side speaker. The device fires up, taking a few seconds, so be patient, it will get there.
Once the device has booted up the screen shows up and is locked for safety reasons, to unlock it you just treat it like a smart phone, sliding the little padlock symbol along with you finger... job done, the screen is unlocked.
I won't go into to much detail about what to do with it and how to set it up as it would take to long, possibly boring some people, and as everyone who uses devices like this have there own opinion on what to have on theirs it would be just my own set up options, if you know what I mean.
But I will say that it is just like an 'Android' smart phone home screen, with your choice of App shortcuts on the home screen, a full status bar along the edge and a menu button to get into a full list of your apps.
You can add as many apps as the internal memory can hold, all you have to do is pop onto the official Android market and grab what you want, there are thousands to choose from, then download and install the apps.
It's so easy to set up the tablet to your individual specifications, swapping and changing when ever you want to.
As I mentioned in the specs this has not one but two cameras, one on the front, which is great for such things as video calling as you can see yourself on the screen together with the person you're talking too, depending on the software/app you're using of course. And the other camera being on the back of the tablet, which can be used for taking pictures and videos.
It has a couple of connection slots, such as a micro SD card slot, a SIM card slot, a 3.5mm headphone port, a standard USB slot and a mini USB slot.
The casing is quite solid, considering it is paper thin, but I still wouldn't like to drop it on a hard surface as it would no doubt shatter in more than a few places, so, like me, do keep it wrapped up in the lovely little case that comes with it, which I will tell you about later.
The 'hard keys' on the right are flush to the surface which is nice, but these keys can be accidentally pressed if for example you're getting a little over excited in a game and your hand catches onto one of them. There may be a way to lock them but I haven't come across it as yet.
** The touch screen itself...
The touch screen is 7inches in diameter and takes up most of the front, with a nice size 'frame' surrounding it.
The screen may seem small but it manages to show everything on it quite clearly, giving you all the options that you need to see, such as the status bar, which when pulled down using a sliding finger, shows you the information about what is running on the tablet at that time.
Along the top the is what is called an 'icon. Bar, which tells you such things as what is connected to the tablet, such as a USB cable, whether or not the wireless/Bluetooth is on, how strong the signal is, remaining battery power, Whether the GPRS is on, text messages unread, calls missed and more. The symbols are clear to see and when you know what they all mean they are easy to understand.
It has the standard 'pinch' zoom in and out system, where you use your thumb and finger to zoom in/out by closing or opening them together/apart. It may sound complicated but once done it's like buttering bread, only without the stickiness.
Writing text, either for text messaging or simple data addition can be done either vertically or horizontally as, with the help of the G-sensor, the keyboard will turn accordingly.
The only time the G-sensor doesn't seem to work is on the home screen, which is permanently set on the landscape mode.
** What about the battery..?
The battery is built in and is rechargeable, which, when fully charged, can last up to 6 hours, but this will lessen depending on what is running, although is is supposed to have a standby time of around 60hours.
It charges up via the mains adapter and takes about 45 minutes to fully charge, although I tend to find that when I'm near a plug socket I charge it up as often as I can whilst using it, this saves time and effort really.
I do follow the advice about draining the battery fully at least once a month to extend its life
** My opinion...
It isn't exactly the prettiest of tablets, but then again there's not to many 'pretty' tablets out there. It has a few curves, one or two buttons, a few slots and ports and that's about it really.
The CPU may not be the fastest on the market but it can do most day to day activities without any real hassles, but if you want to play the more modern games on this you will be pretty disappointed indeed as the CPU may not keep up with the speeds you want, so maybe you should spend a bit more money an get a higher spec tablet.
The internal RAM is not the best, which is not to good as this is where you have to keep all you 'Apps' so it does fill up pretty quickly, and the fact that you can't transfer them onto the SD card can be a bit of a hassle, leading to me having to uninstall some 'apps' in order to add others.
It allows you to connect to 100,000 of apps, (apparently, although I've not counted them all so I can't guarantee the amount), plus things as Gmail, twitter, face book, you tube and many many more, which keeps growing on a daily basis.
The actual screen isn't the clearest and some of the images are a bit on the 'fuzzier' side, but not that bad that you can't make out what is what, although some smaller text does have to be enlarged to make it readable.
Another downside of the screen is that you have to watch it more or less directly from the front as the screen loses quality if viewed from either sides, top or bottom.
One thing that has annoyed me a bit is that it can't handle flash player, which is a bit of a nuisance as there's quite a few things on line that you need flash to see. But then again, so long as you know that it can't use flash player then you learn to work around it.
All that does sound a little bit negative, which may put you off this tablet, but it does have as many positive points too.
The speakers are remarkable clear, considering the size of them, and listening to music tracks is quite nice indeed, although not exactly at the opera of course but well worth using as an MP3 player without a doubt.
It is great for storing things such as photos, videos and basic data as this can be put onto the micro SD card, which, depending on the size of the card, can hold quite a bit indeed.
The tablet responds quick enough when you touch it, or drag your finger along, so it isn't one of those systems that can become so annoying as you wait for something to happen.
You can watch a downloaded DVD on it quite easily, although you do have to be looking more or less straight at the screen but this isn't really a problem.
The connection to the internet is fast enough to keep you going without the frustration, so you can keep your twitter followers and face book friends up to date with what you're doing, if you're into that sort of thing that is.
But regardless of social networking, which I'm not a big fan of, I've used this one many times as a map, relying a little bit on the GPS to see where I am, and it has worked very well indeed, pin pointing my position, almost, and guiding me out of where I don't want to be, at a good pace too.
Finally, almost, I have to say something about the case that comes with this tablet as it is well worth mentioning. It is leatherette and the tablet slides into it perfectly well, being held safely by the three little grips. Then, with the help of the case lid being bent backwards, it can be used as a stand so that you can place the tablet onto a table or desk at just the right angle to view the screen perfectly well indeed.
In all, this is a fine little device, as long as you don't expect too much from it. The internet is pretty quick, I usually tend to connect via a router at home or at work, although I do spend a bit of time in hot spot areas such as cafes and hotels, and this tablet works surprisingly well.
As for the cost of this tablet, well this is where it does get a bit stupid, in fact for what it is it gets a bit more than stupid as this sells in some places for over the £150 mark, which is a bit over the top for what you get.
I mean, the video quality is a let down, although the speakers are nice and clear. You can't get 'Flash' on the current 2.2, but there is the rumour of an up grade to a 2.3, possibly gingerbread, which may well give 'flash' a helping hand.
Is it worth the price?
If you can get it for less than £150 and you just want it for day to day things like browsing, a bit of data addition and simple tasks then yes, then it may well be worth looking at.
But on the other hand, if it is selling on the higher side, or even if you're a true gamer and need that speed then save your money and go for a higher spec tablet as this will let you down before to long.
I mean, if you browse around, and maybe have a bit more money saved, then, depending on whether you want a faster tablet with more internal RAM, for instance, then there are better ones out there, such as the Dell Streak, or even the HTC flyer.
Personally, as I'm not a avid gamer and don't need the speed, I find this one quite a nice little tablet, but each to there own so do check out the specs before buying any tablet or PC.