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Hands on: ViewSonic VSD240 review

This feels like a mobile device pretending to be a desktop

What is a hands on review?
Viewsonic VSD240

You could throw a stone and hit an Android-powered device at CES this year. You have the usual suspects, like smart phones and tablets. And, a few attempted to mimic the job of a traditional PC.

Yet, the VSD240 is something entirely different. It's an Android device that's a flat out, no holds barred desktop. It may sport a touch screen, but there's absolutely nothing portable about it.

But first, a look at the raw numbers: the entire show is driven by a quad-core, 1.7Ghz processor from Nvidia and Android 4.1: Jelly Bean.

Viewsonic VSD240

What's more, the screen itself is a 4-inch (23.6 inch visible) 1920x1080 Full HD LED screen.

The good news

When it comes to performance, the VSD240 is ultra fast and fluid. It's the immediate successor of the award winning VSD220, which is very similar in specs.

Viewsonic VSD240

The major difference between the two is the VSD240 ran Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich, and its OMAP 4 was not quite up to the task for some.

Viewsonic VSD240

And while the VSD220 is no slouch, when testing the input lag between the old and the new side by side, there is no comparison. The VSD240 is much faster and smoother. Otherwise, images displayed look quite nice, as well.

The drawback

There is one important aspect that some might find a tad bit annoying; completely surrounding the screen is pure black strip.

Viewsonic VSD240

This is for swiping on and off the screen, which is an important input on Android handsets.

Normally, such negative space is pretty much negligible on most Android devices, since they normally fit in the palm of your hand.

But when blown up to scale, it's this large area that appears to not be used. Unfortunately, when using the monitor to display a signal from a PC or Mac, that unused screen space is still pure black, contrary to what one might hope.

Still, the VSD240 is an intriguing machine - a purely desktop machine that uses a mobile OS. When asked about upgrading Android in the future, the ViewSonic rep said that it was definitely possible, even though the previous machine has yet to be given the Jelly Bean fixings.

Such an update will come directly from ViewSonic and not from Google directly.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.