viewpad 10

So all in all the ViewPad 10 is a very confused li'l device.

Neither of the operating systems really do the responsive hardware justice. Windows 7 Home Premium simply isn't an OS designed to work well on these machines.

I'm happily running it on my flip-screen Acer because that laptop will effortlessly switch between tablet and notebook modes in a trice, not because it's the best system to marry with a touchscreen.

Likewise the rapidly ageing Android 1.6 OS is at best an abortive attempt to be relevant and at worst a horrifically frustrating experience that's likely to be responsible for turning more people away from Android than the iPad.

And that is the problem right there. Every tablet is now going to be compared, rightly or wrongly, to the iPad. That machine is a perfect example of computing designed for the optimal end-user experience.

The ViewPad may as well come with an irreplaceable desktop wallpaper with the words "screw you" standing out in high contrast for all the effort ViewSonic seems to have made ensuring the usability of its device.

Given the ViewPad 10 costs the same as a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad, the comparisons are going to continue to be made, and never made favourably.

It's a shame because, battery-life aside, the hardware propping up the two failing operating systems actually works pretty well. I'm not sold on the too-widescreen aspect ratio, and the viewing angle is fairly poor, but the Atom and 1GB RAM are as responsive as the touchscreen is.

The build quality too is generally good; there's no creaking and no flexing of the frame when you pick it up one-handed. It's a little on the heavy side, but nothing too serious.

The ViewPad 10 then is an ideal example of why the likes of Asus and MSI are steering clear of the tablet game for now, or putting their prototypes out there for OEMs to pick up and furnish themselves.

The long-awaited EeePad and WindPad from the Taiwanese twosome are unlikely to come before there is a functional OS ready and waiting to look after the capable componentry that's already on offer.

So, in terms of the iPad-beater, we are still waiting.

We liked:

Surprisingly the hardware powering the ViewPad 10 is rather responsive. The capacitive screen works well and despite the low memory capacity the Atom CPU helps make sure the Windows OS is rarely sluggish.

We disliked:

Well, pretty much everything else.

Neither of the dual-boot operating systems are relevant for this type of device and only the Windows 7 OS is actually usable; the Android 1.6 option continually fell over.

The AndAppStore too is shockingly poor. Without the Android Market to give it life the 1.6 OS is doomed forever to lie unbooted in the hardware.

Despite the responsiveness of the capacitive screen, the viewing angle is poor, the dotpitch chunky and the aspect ratio positively obstructive to anything but movie-viewing.

And the five and a bit hours of battery-life is just not good enough for a tablet. And the fact it uses up so much power just in standby is unforgiveable given that state is the one tablets invariably find themselves sat in. Especially if they're lumbered with the long load times associated with a Windows OS.