ViewSonic viewpad 10e review

Due to its lack of full Android certification, the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e is missing the sleek interface and selection of experience-enhancing Android applications found pre-loaded in the likes of the Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

When it comes to the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e, the user interface is a two-pronged affair fought out between the options of acceptable mediocrity and completely awful. The lack of necessity in offering two varying user interfaces is further compounded by the distinct lack of effort put in to the 'Launcher' option.

ViewSonic viewpad 10e review

A crass copy of its unlicensed Android 2.3 Gingerbread base, the Launcher UI has taken a bare minimal approach. The only addition to the basic, untouched, unrefined Android foundation is a dire Ask search bar, which appears to feature less than half the image resolution of everything else on display.

The second UI option - the bespoke ViewScene 3D UI - is more refined, with 3D widgets providing a more high-end and professional feel that makes the £199 price tag seem like a steal. There's little judder in its transitions between the numerous home screens.

ViewSonic viewpad 10e

A quick access tool enables you to view content and shortcuts across all seven home screens simultaneously within a 3D panning mode, accessed simply by swiping a navigator at the base of all home screens.

Falling between the beginners market and the tech-savvy fans of bespoke UIs, ViewScene 3D is an acceptable interface for a device that costs £200 less than an iPad 2 but would struggle to be first pick for a more renowned and high-profile product. Due to the hardware limitations, it often takes a considerable amount of time to access.

ViewSonic viewpad 10e

Set to appeal to all user needs is the ViewScene's ease of use and ability to fill the selection of home screens with a variety of app shortcuts and live widgets offering updatable information on the weather, news and calendar alerts.

Sadly for those looking to use the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e as a long-term device, there has been no clear updates plan announced for its already dated Gingerbread innards.

ViewSonic viewpad 10e review

One Android feature that has remained the same across the board from fully-certified smartphones and tablets to those that are less officially endorsed is the trio of Android navigational buttons.

On the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e this collection of touchscreen controls is a little unresponsive, with a lag between pressing and seeing a visible reaction causing you to constantly second-guess whether your command has been acknowledged.

ViewSonic viewpad 10e review

Once again going down the road of needless duplication, these controls are repeated on an unattractive and unresponsive bar across the top of the screen while in a number of applications, and across home screens and menus.

Audio

Despite a number of hardware restrictions, there are a few areas where the latest ViewSonic tablet comes into its own. While audio played through the device's 3.5mm jack is relatively unremarkable, the tablet's inbuilt speakers pump out sounds far superior to what the £199/$399 price tag would suggest.

Exceeding expectations, audio played through the integrated speakers is surprisingly crisp, with little distortion or reverb when played at higher volumes.

Battery life

Like a selection of the leading smartphones, given a full charge you will be lucky to get a full day's use out of the device. Unlike its tablet counterparts, however, the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e will run from full to flat after just a couple of hours' heavy use. Furthermore, left on standby following a brief spell of activity, the battery will continue its fast drain, running flat within three days.

While lower performance levels are to be expected on a device that features a price tag less than half that of the market leader, for a tablet designed for portable use, the longevity of its battery is of primary importance and an area where costs shouldn't be cut.

ViewSonic viewpad 10e

Another negative mark for the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e's battery is that the device can't be charged by its USB port. With the majority of smartphones and tablets - Apple devices excluded - now featuring a universal micro USB charging port, the ViewPad is behind the curve.

It features the correct connection but fails to use it as a source for power replenishment, instead opting for a frankly ridiculous and rather chunky power adaptor - although this does provide a slightly speedier way of juicing up your device.

Given the tablet's questionable battery life, this lack of USB charging means any multi-day jaunt, tablet in tow, will see you needing to take yet another charger - a frustrating and somewhat unnecessary hassle.