ViewSonic's ViewPad 10pi Better For Windows Than Android

The first device to come through the CRN Test Center with Intel's Oak Trail Z670 tablet processor is the ViewSonic ViewPad 10pi. Unveiled at CES in January, the company's latest ViewPad arrived ready to boot either Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or Windows 7 Professional.

Formerly code-named Lincroft, the Oak Trail Z670 is a 32-bit, single-core (two-thread) 1.5GHz Atom processor with integrated GPU. We booted Windows first, since we were anxious to get a bead on the new processor's relative performance. After installing Geekbench from a USB stick inserted in one of the ViewPad's two USB 2.0 slots, we configured Windows' advanced settings for maximum performance. The 32-bit version of Geekbench 2.27 turned in an unimpressive top score of 790.

But what Intel's latest 32-bit application processor lacks in raw performance it makes up for in power efficiency. The Z670 carries a thermal design power (TDP) rating of between 1.3 and 3 watts. For comparison, the Ultrabook design specification calls for a TDP of around 17 watts. And with TDP, lower numbers translate directly into longer battery life. With all Windows power-saving features enabled, we were able to browse the Web over Wi-Fi and perform other attended and unattended tasks for about six and a half hours from a single charge.

[Related: ViewSonic Undercuts Android Tablet Market With $170 ViewPad E70 ]

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The ViewPad 10pi isn't the heaviest tablet we've tested, but it's close. At 1 pound, 12 ounces, it's on the heavy side for one-handed holding over long periods. But while it's in hand, rubber strips on its bottom give it a sure grip. Its new 1,280 x 800 10.1-inch LED is bright and crisp, and it's surrounded by an inch-wide black glass, which adds contrast and keeps clumsy thumbs from disturbing what's on the screen.

Compared with other tablets, ViewSonic's ViewPad 10i is the clear winner in the most controls, ports and indicators department. On the top edge is a home button, which on Windows alternates between the desktop and the current app, and on Android brings up the home screen. Next to that, a menu button logs out of Windows or locks the screen, and in Android, brings up the current app's menu.

Next, ViewSonic cleverly combines volume and brightness into one button pair, with short presses controlling the former, and long the latter with the corresponding visual indicator superimposed on the screen. Next are three LEDs to indicate power, battery and connectivity, followed by a power slider switch and a back button. That's just the top edge.

Right next to each other on the right-hand edge are same-size holes for power input and audio output. For obvious reasons, this proximity is less than ideal. Under that are the ViewPad's two USB 2.0 ports. On the bottom edge is a reset hole, accelerometer on/off switch, microphone opening, docking port and SD Card slot. There's nothing on the left-hand edge. Its dual cameras are adequate for casual use, but at 3.2 megapixels in the rear and 1.3 in front, we wouldn't expect to win any photojournalism awards.

ViewSonic estimates the street price of the ViewPad 10pi at $849 including Windows 7 Professional and Android 2.3 on a 64-GB solid-state drive with 2 GB of memory (the Atom's max.). We weren't terribly impressed with its Android performance, but we see great promise in the ViewPad 10pi as a platform for running Windows 7 and perhaps Windows 8 (we'll let you know).