ViewSonic ViewPad 7 review

Does this 7" tablet go down well?

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Seeing as the ViewPad 7 costs more than the same device under Linx Commtiva N700 nomenclature you'd expect to be getting a bit more for your cash. Unfortunately the only real difference between the two bits of tablet tech is what's been removed from the ViewPad 7 bundle.

The N700 comes with a 4GB microSD card to bolster the paucity of internal storage in the machine itself, but there are no such goodies with the ViewSonic version. Other omissions are less tangible, such as the lack of a Swype keyboard.

The keyboard that replaces it is an awkward beast. The main difficulty we had was when trying to search from within the Froyo browser where the space bar was replaced by a shortcut that added www.*.com around anything we typed. This is less than helpful unless you only ever search for single words.

You can however get £100 off until March 2011 with a rebate should you send a functional laptop/netbook back to ViewSonic once you've got your ViewPad 7.

So price-wise it's not too bad if you've got a machine less than four years old that you don't mind parting ways with.

The problem we still have with it, though, is the smartphone branding. We did genuinely try to use it as such for 24 hours in place of another Android phone. The experience wasn't great…

Our main issue was that we had some connection issues. On HSDPA, SMS messages weren't getting sent for some reason. Switching down to a slower mobile connection was the only solution, which then robbed it of the smartphone-on-the-move internet capabilities.

We also felt like a bit of a tool standing in a busy street shouting at the side of the ViewPad 7 where the microphone was, then pressing one of the stereo speakers to our ear.

We could've used the bundled headphone/mic set from the box, but that's not necessarily easy to fumble about with when you're trying to answer a call.

But still, it's not a bad device. The battery life is fine and the build quality is fairly good, too. The only real problems with the hardware itself are the slower CPU and the ropey screen. That 600MHz ARM CPU is unable to cope with the minimum requirements necessary for Flash playback, or for the upcoming Gingerbread version of Android.

Or for the smooth playing of Angry Birds

Our other issues are more based around its usage. Realistically if you're in the market for such a mobile internet device then you'll spend the cash on a decent actual smartphone before dropping £300-£400 on this. And if you've already got a decent smartphone you're unlikely to take the time to pick up the ViewPad instead for whatever you want to do.

In short, the ViewPad 7 is mostly unnecessary.

We liked

At £300 it's not a bad price, and with Android 2.2 and Google Market on board it's not a bad little tablet either.

We disliked

If you've already got a smartphone, you'll more likely use that first for anything you'd do on the ViewPad 7. At seven inches it's a bit of a half-way house between a proper tablet and a good phone, in the end competing with neither.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity512 MB
Processor ManufacturerARM
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Maximum Battery Run Time6 Hour
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyUMTS
Product FamilyViewPad 7
Cellular Network SupportedGSM
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating SystemAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Brand NameViewsonic
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed600 MHz
Processor TypeARM11
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Standard Memory512 MB
Weight (Approximate)375 g
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Height179.4 mm
Width110 mm
Depth11.5 mm
Screen ModeWVGA
Product Series7
ManufacturerViewsonic Corporation
Product ModelVPAD7_E1-D
Product NameViewPad 7 VPAD7_E1-D Tablet Computer
Product LineViewPad
Aspect Ratio15:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVPAD7_E1-D
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.viewsoniceurope.com/uk/
Marketing Information

ViewPad 7 - The ultimate mobile companion

The ViewPad 7 is the perfect tablet for those wanting to see how a fully enabled communications device with full Android experience can change their life. Designed to fit into your life, the ViewPad 7 offers the latest certified Google Android experience with access to over 100,000 application via Android Market, Google mail and maps. The ultra light, yet durable design means that this device can literally go anywhere and will always be ready when you need it. The ultra responsive capacitive multi-touch display is a window into this phenomenal device, allowing users a level of interaction previously not experienced. With integrated phone capabilities, Bluetooth, wireless, GPS and mp3/video playback, the next hardest decision you will have to make is which of your previous redundant devices you should leave at home.

Package Contents
  • ViewPad 7 VPAD7_E1-D Tablet Computer
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty2 Year