ViewSonic is the latest manufacturer to announce an Android-powered tablet that will compete with the popular Apple iPad. The ViewSonic ViewPad 7 boasts a 7in capacitive touchscreen, and runs the latest 2.2 "Froyo" version of Android.
[More information on the ViewSonic ViewPad 7 and ViewPad 10 Australian launch.]
The ViewPad 7 will be the first tablet to hit the market from a company better known for its low priced LCD and LED monitors. ViewSonic has described the device as "a smartphone, computer, game centre and e-book all combined in one".
We were lucky enough to get our hands on a demo unit at a media preview in Sydney last week; the hardware won't change, but ViewSonic representatives were keen to point out that the software was still in preproduction.
The ViewSonic ViewPad 7 has a much more industrial-feeling design than the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It is squarer, with sharp edges and a more boxy design, in contrast to the sleek curves and plastic back of the Galaxy Tab. At 375g, it almost weighs the same as Galaxy Tab.
In our brief hands-on, the ViewSonic ViewPad 7's capacitive touchscreen was reasonably responsive, but did not feel as smooth as the Galaxy Tab's or the iPad's. When we get our hands on a review unit early in 2011 we'll do some more in-depth testing.
Like the Galaxy Tab, the ViewSonic ViewPad 7 also has mobile phone capabilities and features dual cameras, meaning it can be used to make videoconference calls across a 3G or wireless network. The ViewPad 7 is a 900MHz and 2100MHz 3G device, meaning it won't work with Telstra's Next G network, which runs on the 850MHz network band.
ViewSonic will sell the ViewPad 7 for $699 outright, but hasn't announced any retail or telco distribution partners at this stage. We think this may be a tab too expensive considering you can grab a 16GB iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G for just $100 more, but we won't render a final verdict until we test the ViewPad in January.
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