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Apple wasn’t first.
A decade ago, ViewSonic was one of the earliest companies to begin producing tablets – specifically, tablet PCs – in an effort that never seemed to gain traction in a market still focused at the time on desktops and traditional notebooks.
Now, in 2011, ViewSonic is among the first channel-friendly companies to deliver an Android-based tablet to solution providers with the ViewPad 7. And with its follow-up ViewPad 10, ViewSonic has delivered a dual-boot tablet that allows for working in either Windows 7 or Android operating systems.
The result: two mobile tablets that give the channel a real choice in delivering options, and significant promise that ViewSonic is on a trajectory in this space to get stronger over time.
The CRN Test Center has examined both the ViewPad 7 and the ViewPad 10, and while neither reaches 100-percent perfection, they are good entries in this space and provide enough functionality for business users to make it worthy of a look.
The ViewPad 7, a 7-inch tablet built around Android 2.2 that can double as either a smart phone or mobile, handheld PC. (It’s a little too big, realistically, for a phone even though it contains a slot for a SIM card.) While it’s not a perfect device – the Android industry itself is still so new that there really aren’t any perfect Android devices yet – it’s solid and provides great entry-level value in this space.
Specifications worth noting:
The device weighs less than 13 ounces, is 7 inches-by-4.5 inches-by a half-inch thick, and is built with a metallic side that makes it look like a big iPhone.
The keyboard isn’t much to write home about: it’s got a QWERTY keyboard that can be used, or a dialpad. They get the job done, but feel a little clunky to the touch. There is also not much in the way of on-board storage: 600 MB. To take photographs, video, listen to music, watch video or work with data on the device itself, you need to first insert a microSD card.
But here’s where ViewSonic makes a big difference:
Its display is at least as brilliant as the Retina display in the Apple iPhone, and we found its touch screen to be just sensitive enough.
We had it turned on for 24 hours, using it for web surfing and apps, and the green battery indicator didn’t even go down by a smidge.
With street pricing of about $425, but access to the world of Android apps, ViewSonic deserves a seat at the table with the ViewPad 7.