Viewsonic's 7x Honeycomb Tablet Review

After rolling out a few Android Gingerbread tablets, Viewsonic is diving into the richer waters of Honeycomb with its 7x tablet, a new 7-inch, $379 device that faces down Acer's A100 for small tablet supremacy. At last night's Pepcom event, I got a close look at the 7x, which is intriguing, as well as Viewsonic's lower-priced 7e, which isn't as appealing.

The Viewpad 7x looks and feels a lot like the four-star Acer A100PP. When I say "a lot," I mean, "I had real trouble telling them apart at first glance." Turning over the tablet revealed an odd, triangle-shaped camera port; at least that's unique.

As Acer showed, this design is pretty killer: a one-handed, 1024-by-600, dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 tablet running a great-looking copy of Honeycomb 3.2. The magic of 3.2 on a 7-inch tablet is that phone apps, processed through Android 3.2's zoom mode, actually look pretty good; you can't say that for phone-centric apps on a 10-inch tablet.

The 7x has a 5-megapixel camera on its slick black plastic back, a 2-megapixel camera on the front, and an HDMI output port. When I checked its storage, it showed about 6.5GB free; there's also a MicroSD memory card slot.

I swiped through various apps on the 7x, and it was dandy: a bright, fun, responsive tablet, just as you'd expect from these specs. It's going to be compelling—Viewsonic's real task is going to be differentiating it from similar, also compelling products.

Viewsonic 7e: Less Expensive, Less Impressive

Then there's the 7e. The 7e is a 7-inch Gingerbread tablet that costs $199; Viewsonic is hoping to put it up as an e-reader against devices like the Nook Color and the mythical Amazon tablet. But the 7e suffers from many of the same problems of other low-cost tablets. It has such a dim, reflective screen that it appears to have wax paper over it, and the 800-by-600 screen was disturbingly unresponsive. The whole tablet felt awfully slow; Angry Birds took several seconds to load and the birds themselves floated along a bit too dreamily.

Viewsonic says the 7e is optimized for e-reading apps like Kindle, which was pre-loaded on the tablet I tried, but I had the same trouble with the 7e that I have with all sub-$200 tablets—the basic underlying experience is so sluggish and ugly that it's hard to appreciate.

That said, the 7e has some surprising specs. According to Viewsonic, it has a 1-Ghz processor, supports Flash, and can deliver 1080p video playback through an HDMI output port. Maybe the demo tablet I used just had very early firmware; we'll have to see when we review the device.

via pcmag


Post a Comment