The ViewSonic ViewPad 10Pro has a confusing name, operates much like a Microsoft Tablet PC from years ago and, while the concept of a "dual boot" tablet sounds appealing, it actually just runs Android 2.2 in Windows 7.
However, the ViewPad 10Pro has a few interesting perks that could line up well with the needs of some users, especially those in a corporate setting. The most important one is battery life. The 10Pro lasts for over eight hours, which is twice as long as the first ViewPad model, the ViewPad 10s. That means, for mobile pros who need to run Windows apps and switch over to Android, the 10Pro will last all day.
The 10Pro weighs a rather jaw-dropping 893.5g and is 14.73mm thin. For those keeping track, that's nearly twice as heavy as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and almost twice as thin.
Still, this is a full Windows 7 tablet running the Intel Oak Trail platform – essentially an Atom Z670 processor that's fine-tuned for 1.5GHz performance and long battery life. With this chipset, you can install any operating system you want, including Ubuntu 11.04 with touch support.
There's one USB port that works with just about anything you can think of: external disks, keyboards and mice, a USB hub or even other tablets you connect to swap out files.
ViewSonic also offers a mini HDMI port for connecting the ViewPad 10Pro to an external monitor or to your HD TV.
With Oak Trail, you can expect to play full 1080p feature films without any stuttering or degradation in colour quality. More on that later, because it does seem to depend on which movie and where it is stored.
Unfortunately, the ViewSonic ViewPad 10Pro is extremely hard to recommend for most users. We live in a different age to 2004, when the Tablet PC tried to capture our attention.
Tablets must be thin and bright, designed for spontaneous movie watching and quick app downloads. The touchscreen must be highly responsive.
We have no patience for tablets that screw up screen resolution with elongated icons and videos. But even the login screen for the ViewPad 10Pro stretched the ViewSonic icon in portrait mode – it's butt ugly.
Apps in Windows 7 aren't designed for tablets at all, so there are constant operating system irritations. This, and the Android virtual app, is incredibly slow and barely even works correctly most of the time.
That puts the ViewSonic ViewPad 10Pro somewhere at the bottom of the pack – not even more useful than the Toshiba AT100, which is a low-end Android tablet in terms of overall quality.
Pit head-to-head against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the Apple iPad 2, or even the 10-inch Acer Iconia Tab A500 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer, the 10Pro seems like a hybrid model with only one major trick up its sleeve – namely, running Android 2.2 as an app.
Worse yet, the ViewSonic ViewPad 10Pro is expensive. We tested a 16GB SSD version with 2GB RAM that costs $599 in the US, which is more than the base version of the Apple iPad 2 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. There's also a $699 32GB version in that comes with Windows 7 Professional instead of Home Premium. Both versions come with Wi-Fi connectivity.
In Europe, however, there are two versions, which both come with 32GB SSD. One version has 1GB RAM and on has 2GB, and while one has standard Wi-Fi internet, one also offers 3G connections. They look set to be priced around £550 for Wi-Fi and around £600 for 3G in the UK.