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Viewsonic Viewpad 7 review: What's the difference?

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala | Updated on August 17, 2011

CHENNAI : 27/01/2011 : Viewsonic Viewpad 7 - tablet. Photo : R_Ravindran.   -  THE HINDU

With every major technology company vying to get their hands occupied in the tablet war, Taiwanese company Viewsonic also decided to bring out its own contenders, the Viewpad 7 and Viewpad 10. For a company that is known mainly for computer monitors, we were curious to see what Viewsonic could offer in terms of a tablet. We got Viewsonic to ship us the Galaxy Tab sized, Android 2.2 powered, Viewpad 7 and here are our thoughts.

Build & Design

The first thing that strikes you when you flip open the black leather case that the Viewpad comes encased in, is how similar it is to the OlivePad. Then you look closer, and you realise, it’s not just that they look similar, but exactly the same! For those of you unfamiliar with the OlivePad’s design, here’s a lowdown on what the tablet looks like.

Encased in a silver frame, the screen with a resolution of 800x480 is made of scratch resistant glass. The bottom of the shiny black bezel has the four standard Android operating buttons, for Menu, Return, Search and Home.

The front has a 0.3-meg webcam, with a more powerful 3-megger at the rear. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in microphone and mini USB port on one side. On the other is a panel which encloses a SIM card slot and micro SD slot. There are also two separate up and down volume buttons.

Encased in a slim steel grill on either side, are stereo speakers. The power button is slightly flimsy, and we can foresee the same problems we had with the one on the OlivePad.

User Interface

Like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Viewpad 7 looks like one big Android smartphone. Users will be familiar with the customary sweep to unlock the tablet. There are four customisable home screens, and you can flick between them with a simple swipe gesture. At the bottom of every home screen is a standard Menu, Call and Browser button. You can add shortcuts, widgets and folders to each home screen. The Viewpad is primarily landscape oriented, and it’s only in a few select apps that you can change the mode to portrait, like browser and messaging.

The Viewpad 7 comes with a choice of keyboards. You can choose between full QWERTY, 12-key (like what you get on alphanumeric mobile phones) and CooTek T+. You can change between the keypads just by swiping. Typing on the Viewpad 7 was smooth and easy, but the 7-inch size does make it difficult to get up a good speed, because it’s only comfortable to type one-handed.

While the tablet does look and feel like the OlivePad, we found the touch interface greatly improved. The screen had no trouble recognising gestures, and was quite responsive. The pinch and zoom function also worked well.

Media

The Viewpad 7 has limited onboard storage, so no media can be used on it without a micro SD card. Transferring data was pretty easy - once you activate the USB data function, it’s basically drag and drop.

The tablet supports only MPEG-4 files, which is a quite a pain because most videos come in Avi or DivX formats. We played a few videos, and they looked clean and played without any stutters or delay. The speaker volume level was disappointing though – being barely enough to fill a room, so you’ll definitely need headphones if you’re going to watch a movie.

The music player is the standard Android one, with music organised according to Artist, Album, Song and Playlist. You can shuffle your music too.

The camera wasn’t so great - images came out grainy and lacked sharpness and colour. The front camera was just about acceptable as a webcam.

Performance

The Viewpad 7 comes with a Qualcomm 600 MHz processor, which isn’t nearly powerful enough considering that many smartphones nowadays are shipping with a 1GHz processor.

Having said that, however, the browser loaded fairly quickly. One problem is that the tablet doesn’t support Adobe Flash, which really limits the browsing experience.

Battery lasted us close to 10 hours, which was really good for a tablet. The Viewpad 7 took ages to charge though, and we mostly had to leave it on charge overnight, much like our experience with the Olive Pad.

Bottomline

The Viewpad 7 is a decent Android tablet, but we wish that Viewsonic would have attempted at least some changes in its hardware. We hope that the higher end Viewpad 10 resolves some of these issues. Until then, the Viewpad 7 is a tad pricey for what it has to offer.

Love: Good touch sensitivity, long battery life

Hate: OlivePad and Viewpad 7 look like clones, no flash support

Rs 32,000

ketaki@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 09, 2011

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