Tag Archive | "viewpad 7"

Viewsonic Viewpad 7 Live Review – Videos and Detailed Impressions

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We’ve had the (final version) Viewsonic Viewpad 7 for 2 days now and last night we completed 3hrs of live testing in front of an audience of 480 people. We’re now in a good position to be able to bring you a good round-up review of the device. Live recordings of the stream are embedded below. Unboxing video is here. Thanks to Viewsonic Europe for sending the device over. UK customers can find details of a trade-in offer and retailers here.

Overall quality of the £400 pound tablet is good and we feel that Viewsonic have got the price/quality ratio right. This is a lot more than a £200 open-source Android tablet here and less than a £500 high-end 7” Tablet (e.g. Galaxy Tab) and it sits alone as the cheapest 7” 3G+Voice Google Android tablet on the market. ‘Google’ means that it really does have everything that you find on a Google Android phone including voice capability, compass, GPS, compass, capacitive touchscreen and the latest Android software.  So why is the Viewpad 7 cheaper than the Galaxy Tab then?

Viewsonic Viewpad 7 (7) Viewsonic Viewpad 7 (8)
Click to enlarge. More in the gallery.

Let’s start with the processor that tricked me. I was originally told it was a Snapdragon CPU at 600Mhz but despite some reasonable Web performance, it turned out to be an ARM11-based device. In real-use yesterday I was still quite happy with the browsing speeds and although I would never recommend anyone get an ARM11-based device for serious web work, when laid-back in a passive usage mode, it’s quite acceptable. You’ll see some browser tests in part 3 of the video review below. The GPU, Adreno 200 – the same as that found on the Snapdragon platform, is probably helping a lot here because UI actions seem smooth, if not ‘physical’ like the iPad.  Android 2.2 helps too. It’s a far more efficient build than 2.1 and helps to pull everything possible out of the platform. This is probably as good as we’ll ever see on an ARM11-based device and at this point it has to be said that this is the best ARM11-based mobile internet device I’ve ever used.

Full specifications, gallery, news and more in our Viewpad 7 tracking page.

There are more hints of ‘value’ though that don’t hide themselves so well:

  • Screen – At 800×480 this isn’t the sharpest. Although Android apps are only designed for up to 800×480 screen, there are photos, videos, ebooks and browser pages to consider. A full-screen, page-to-fit web page is not easily readable and will require a pinch or double-click to zoom to readable quality. It’s bright enough but there are differing results from vertical and portrait viewing angles. This is a typical horizontal-optimised LCD. I won’t go into detail here but portrait mode is not perfect. Text seems to stretch vertically too indicating that the pixels aren’t square. It’s a good screen, but not top-of-class.
    Note: After measuring the screen, pixels are indeed not square. Resolution ratio: 1.666:1  Size Ratio: 1.78:1
  • CPU – Mentioned above. Don’t expect to squeeze much more out of this CPU in the future. There are already applications that aren’t supported on this CPU (Flash for example)
  • Software – This is, to all intents and purposes, a raw Android experience. Some people will prefer this and at least the Market is there to help. In the live review we downloaded and installed about 15 applications suggested by viewers in less than 10 minutes. Try doing that on a Windows 7 laptop!
  • Camera – The 3.0MP camera shouldn’t be regarded as anything more than a snapshot device and the results show high grain and huge traces of plastic lens. It’s easy to smudge fingerprints over the camera lens too so quality can degrade even further. Videos aren’t anything to get excited about either.
  • Video Playback – There are quite a few video formats out there and each has variable bitrate and ‘profile’ levels. Codecs cost money and Viewsonic have chosen not to add them in. You’ll get 3GPP, MPEG4 (not Xvid/Divx support) and H.264 support for low bitrates and resolutions (sub 720p/1Mbps) but that’s it. Software players such as RockPlayer add new codecs in but the CPU isn’t powerful enough to deliver anything above about 1Mbps. Disappointing.
  • User Interface and touch – While not up there with the best ‘physical’ user interfaces, this is a reasonable capacitive touch experience and fine for everyday use. It’s a lot better than a resistive touchscreen for this type of finger usage.
  • On screen keyboard – Typical of loaded Android systems on ARM11 CPUs, the response on the keyboard slows down if there are other things happening around the device. Coupled with a rather ugly layout (we loaded ‘Better Keyboard’ and found it, better!) and a hit-rate that doesn’t come close to the Galaxy Tab or Apple iOS devices, we can’t recommend it for anything more than micro-mails, tweets, SMS and other short-form messaging.

On the positive side, we saw great 3D performance in synthetic tests and games with Angry Birds and Raging Thunder Lite working perfectly. There are other high-points too.

3G throughput in our tests was good. We haven’t tested reception performance.

.Viewsonic Viewpad 7 (14)

Battery life. In our 1-hour test with screen, Wi-Fi, GSM enabled and under testing conditions saw the battery drop 15% indicating a 6-hour heavy-use run-time. It matches the Viewsonic specs and in the rest of our testing over the last few days we were also seeing similar battery performance. We estimate the battery life to be 10-15% less than the Galaxy Tab but still, very good. Charging over USB is a slow process. Expect 8-9hrs for a full charge over a standard USB cable. We can’t get the supplied charger to work through our UK-EU adaptor but we’re told it does enable a ‘fast charge’ mode of around 3hrs.

Speaker quality is good which makes the Viewpad 7 perfect for radio, MP3 and podcast duties around the house. In a 20-minute speakerphone call, quality was very high. We also made a successful Skype call without headphones.

Other points

  • No heat or noise
  • Quadrant scores around the 250 mark
  • Launcher Pro works well (and is recommended) as a home-screen alternative. It enables portrait mode homescreen which the standard build doesn’t.

Example Launcher-Pro Setup

  • YouTube (tested with the latest player available in the Market) works flawlessly
  • Neocore benchmark returned 32 fps
  • Kindle reader and the pre-installed Aldiko reader work well.
  • PDF reading with the included, full version of Documents To Go, worked well
  • Again, note that Flash 10.1 is not available for ARM11 devices such as this
  • The Viewpad 7 is slightly smaller (about 4mm in width and depth) than the galaxy Tab. Same thickness. Same weight.
  • Storage on the device is limited to 512MB and after installing 20 applications, we were down to 24MB of storage space. Inserting an SD card is necessary in order to move some applications over (where possible) and to store audio, image and video files.
  • Wifi reception was average (b/g standards) We haven’t tested Bluetooth
  • Hotspot mode works. (Wifi sharing of 3G connection – We expect 8-10hrs on this mode with screen off)
  • No stand. (Update below)
  • Case is plastic
  • No USB On-The-Go
  • GPS locked quickly (sub 10 seconds with A-GPS enabled) indoors, 1M from a Window
  • No video out (digital or analogue)
  • Skyfire (and included flash video playback) works

Update: Case will change for final retail versions.

Viewsonic notified me that the case has been re-designed for the final version. Its good to see that it now includes ‘standing’ capability.

At £400 we find the Viewpad fairly priced. If you’re in the UK and have a working netbook or laptop you want to trade-in, Viewsonic retail partners will give you 100 pounds cash-back which makes it tempting if that old EeePC 701 is gathering dust for you. Ultimately though, Viewsonic need to capitalise on the fact that this is a well-rounded ‘value’ tablet with a complete feature set, today. In 3 months time when Android devices 2.3 appear, when ARM11 becomes ‘end of line’ for some applications, when high-end applications start demanding more of a CPU and when the market fills with other device options, it may not look so attractive and at that point Viewsonic and their retailers will have to compete in a price war. We say, ‘take the risk’ and drop the price by 50 pounds to capitalise on holiday-season buying and make this an even more attractive package. Throw in a 4GB micro SD card, a cleaning cloth and maybe a free version of ‘launcher pro’ to solve that portrait mode homescreen limitation and you’ve got yourself a great little mobile internet device.

Continued on page 2…

Viewsonic Viewpad 7 Unboxing

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The Viewsonic Viewpad 7 arrived just as I was finishing off the Galaxy Tab review today so it’s perfect timing for a close comparison. I won’t be doing that yet though because first-off we need to do the unboxing and overview (below) and the Live Review (info) Join us tomorrow at 8pm London time (2100 CET – other times here) on the Live Page and spread the word! Some new images are going up into the Gallery so keep checking that too. Full specifications and links, gallery and other videos available on our Viewpad 7 tracking page.

Availability information and information about the trade-in program in the UK can be found here. For Germany, keep an eye on MediaMarkt. We hear that France and Netherlands are next in line but there are no confirmed details as yet.

The Live Review video and chat session will be available here on the 10th November 2010.

The Viewsonic Live Review videos and detailed impressions/review is now available here.

Follow, view or subscribe to Chippy on Twitter for any late changes and updates. Please don’t forget to pass the message on via Twitter if you’re a twitter user, or ‘like’ this post on Facebook. Thanks to Viewsonic Europe for sending it over.

Viewsonic Viewpad 7 Expected in 2 days – Join our Live Review

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carrypad-liveWith a huge thanks to Viewsonic Europe I’ll be taking delivery of the Viewpad 7 in just a few days. Retail packages go out for review later in the week but we’ve been promised a final sample from the product managers personal stash. They’ve seen our in-depth reviews and warts-and-all live reviews so they must be feeling confident !

At 399 Pounds it’s a little above what we thought we’d see but there’s a nice little trade-in program going on where you can send in an netbook or notebook under 4 years old and they will give you 100 pounds back. If you’re one of the thousands of people that have an old Asus EeePC 701 knocking about, this is a great opportunity.

Besides the trade-in though there’s the potential for a really nice little value-for-money tablet here. We’re not talking Galaxy Tab quality or performance but we are talking the ability to do almost everything the Tab can. It really is one of the few complete Android experiences to be seen on a tablet. Everything is there from multitouch capacitive screen, Android 2.2, Market, quad-band 3G and tri-band GSM. Yes, this can be a phone if you want! Full specs and information here on our tracking page.

viewpad-back

I read a hands-on from @faaborgs in Denmark today and although the translation is a little iffy, you’ll be able to pick up that the owner is happy. Not bad for someone who likes Porsche! While Galaxy Tab owners might be praising performance and quality, I think the Viewpad 7 owners are going to be praising value-for-money.

So, the Viewpad 7 is expected here on Wednesday and that means one thing – Live Video.  Bring along a beer because at about 8pm London time (2100 CET – other times here) we’re going to be spending a couple of hours going over the device for you and with you.  A chat session will be open and if you’ve got questions, just ask! In the latter part of the live testing, we’ll highlight some of the differences between the the Viewpad 7 and the Galaxy Tab because we’ve got one of those here too. JKK from JKKMobile is due to join us and if we can get anyone else to chip-in over Skype, we will!

Will there be a showstopper? Will the video performance be up to scratch?  (we’re sensing stock Android here which means no 3rd-party codecs) will the YouTube player be able to support HQ videos. What about the lack of Flash (this is an ARM11 device; It doesn’t support Flash despite the Android 2.2 build.) How about the battery life from the slightly smaller battery (compared to the Galaxy Tab) is the 800×480 screen going to be a handicap and critically, for many, is the ARM11 CPU going to return acceptable Web performance. We have questions about USB OTG and box contents too. Does it include the case for example?

The Live Review video and chat session will be available here.  Follow,view or subscribe to Chippy on Twitter for any late changes and updates. Please don’t forget to pass the message on via Twitter if you’re a twitter user, or ‘like’ this post on Facebook.

Again, The Live Review video and chat session will be available here. Some parts of the review will be recorded but for the full review, join the Live Session

CSL Spice Mi700 (DroidPad) Review Part 3

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Foreword: Many, many thanks to Er Lern out in Malaysia for sending us this review of the CSL mi700 tablet before posting it on his own blog. Make sure you follow Er on Twitter. Note that the Viewpad 7 is a device based on the same original design as the CSL Spice but may have different firmware. We’ll be testing the Viewpad 7 in the next few weeks.

It took a long while to get this final part out, but here it is. In this last article, I will try to be succinct in all the areas that were particularly important to me (and thus, to you readers too, I hope). Once again, I would like to thank CSL for loaning me a review unit.

I have had this device for nearly a month, and have put it under many conditions. Before evaluating the whole thing as a package, let’s look at some other important areas not covered before:

Camera

CSL sample pic HTC Dream sample pic

(DroidPad 3MP sample shot on the left, compared to HTC Dream 3.15MP sample shot on the right. More in the Gallery)

There two cameras on the unit. One is a 3.0 MP back facing camera (right smack at the middle) and the other is a lower VGA camera that is front facing. Frankly, the camera is alright. Granted that it is not good enough for you to replace your deicated camera (which device would?), but it does make for some good quick shots. I compared a still photo that I had on a similar subject matter (taking a picture off the desktop screen) made on my old HTC Dream (sporting a similar 3.15MP camera). Even with the .15 camera size difference that should give the Dream an edge, I find that the picture from the DroidPad is still clearer. Maybe it is the algorithm used, but things are sharper on the DroidPad camera. Video is nothing to shout about, with the capability to capture VGA video at a paltry 16 frames per second. Not smooth and I found the audio not syncing correctly to the video by a few milliseconds.

The front facing VGA camera is just that… a VGA camera. It is sufficient for making video calls (if you can find a software that supports it on Android). I tried a few but could not manage to get any to work, except for using the test center modes. In that situation, I found the video quality to be acceptable, though not great (it’s VGA). You can use the front facing camera to record video too. Though it records at VGA quality, yet the fps is quite low, at 8 frames per second. It is not worth using, unless you really have something at the spur of the moment to capture on the front facing side. (A sample of video taken using the Front and Back facing cameras can be downloaded in their original format from: http://www.multiupload.com/JNPJWF8YET – 8+MB file size)

The main complaint of the use of the camera comes down to Android itself. It is the stock version that does provide some level of tweaking. For the main camera, you get the full options of selecting the ‘Picture Size’ (3MP, 2MP, 1MP, VGA and QVGA), ‘Picture Quality’ (superfine, etc.), ‘Color Effect’ (Mono, Sepia and Negative), ‘Metering Mode’, ‘Anti Banding’, ‘Saturation’ (5 levels given), Contrast (5 levels), Sharpness (3 levels), Brightness (7 levels), Grid mode and toggling the shutter sound.  The front facing camera has lesser options of course since its priority is not for normal picture taking.

Phone Functionalities


IMAG0258

Making calls on the DroidPad is as simple as it is on other Android devices. However, let me caution the potential user; do not try to use it as a normal phone by pressing it against your ears, it just does not work that way. The best way is to use the speaker to listen and to speak normally towards the microphone on the side. It works in most situations except in a noisy environment.

Reception is actually quite good. It does not drop in signal strength as much as my other phone devices. Maybe the size of the device has something to do with it, but whatever it is, it works well as a phone. The best option I guess would be to pair it with a Bluetooth device. I found that the headset given was inadequate. The quality is horrendous and not worth using to receive calls.

I am very particular with the speed in which calls are received, and I can honestly tell you that it is almost instantaneous. Regardless of what application you might be using, the DroidPad quickly switches to phone mode at the first ring. This was and still is a problem for Android devices running on lower CPUs like the dreaded MSM7201A, 528Mhz processors, which gave a 1 second lag or more. Whether or not you will use this as a phone depends on your comfort level in using a device this big. Those who have used HTC’s Shift would find this a better alternative.

GPS


IMAG0257

Like I mentioned before in earlier parts, the GPS map installed (with free 1 year service) is one of the most horrible looking software I have ever seen. The User Interface is archaic and does not give much information for the user. I ended up using Google Map as my default GPS map navigator. The GPS performed adequately. It is not fast by any means, requiring more than two minutes to get a solid fix (within an accuracy of 5 meters). It is not terribly slow either. However, if you want a cheaper and yet better alternative (only applicable for Asian users), download Ndrive. It is almost similar to Garmin’s GPS navigation app. I found that using Ndrive was a breeze, and because of the screen size, navigating in the car becomes less of a hassle. The only problem is to get a proper mount for the DroidPad since it would be a pain to hold it one hand for long.

Data Connection

One of my other gripes that I find with the DroidPad is the inconsistent WiFi connection. Every time it comes out of the lock screen, the WiFi connection will not re-connect itself automatically. To solve this, one must turn it off (via the power control widget for fast access) and turn it back on again. It is irritating, and I wonder whether I am the only one facing this issue. Besides this one issue, there is nothing much to complain about the WiFi. It is fast. I managed to update all 17 applications from the Market in less than 15 minutes. Not bad right? Some of the apps were big sized ones (mostly games like Zenonia which clocks in at over 10MB).

I have not tested the 3G connection on this (I cut my data connection some time back) but based on feedback, it seems to be performing adequately.

Multi-touch

IMAG0256

Although we have noted earlier that the screen is average, it is another thing when it comes to multi-touch. The device suffers the same problem encountered in the Nexus One when you use the MultiTouch Visualizer 2 app. From the video uploaded here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3TslDLrhQw), we can see that the points become confuse when they converge, often misalignment will occur, followed by the flipping of point identification. This means that the device has a flawed multi-touch implementation. It will not affect simple applications like pinch-to-zoom gestures, but definitely on more delicate applications (e.g. games) it will be more obvious.

USB On The Go

Surprise, surprise… the DroidPad does support USB OTG. Basically, this allows the user to connect the DroidPad to any USB storage device, like your thumbdrives. Very handy indeed if you want to transfer files over without the hassle of communing with a middle device. The caveat on this is the need for a USB Mini A cable that is short (not more than half a meter). Some have tested it with great success (working with many different USB devices). For a list of tested USB devices on the DroidPad take a look at here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=8819448&postcount=163. The forum thread even have links to buy the cables from Ebay, if you are interested. The small downside is the lack of unmounting function for USB OTG. You need to just disconnect the device from the cable to unmount it.

Hacking

The thrill of Android as an mobile OS comes down to its ‘hackability’. If this is not your cup-of-tea, then you might want to skip this section. Anyway, based on my impromptu visit to the CSL headquarters in Malaysia, I was told by both the Marketing department and CEO that CSL is committed in developing for the DroidPad and to help independent developers to utilising the device to its full potential. Unfortunately, this is a hard thing to do when the product sold is not within the control of CSL. Ultimately, the firmware upgrades would come from Foxconn’s subsidiary which produced and developed the DroidPad (or whatever the actual model name is). This is also one reason (I suspect) that the two developers from CSL were unable to reply to my queries on the firmware and on root access possibility. Enough about CSL’s involvement or openness on this front. What about the device itself? Can it be modified? Honestly speaking, the fear was that there would be too few developers who would be interested in the device itself, to find ‘root access’ which would allow users to permanently modify parts of the firmware. Fortunately, root access was found within the week of launch in Malaysia.

Along with root access, the small community of DroidPad users have also found a way to install a custom recovery to ensure that the device will not be ‘bricked’. These are the first fruits of an increasing acts of making the DroidPad more efficient. Already there are some in the small community who have gotten rid of all the localised apps (which were irritating to say the least). It is only a matter of time before the kernel will allow for over and under-clocking of the processor chip. This certainly would mean that the lifecycle of this device is lengthened. With this in mind, the potential of a more polished DroidPad is a reality. It merely takes time and commitment from the development community. If you are interested in such matters, do visit http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=793071 for the latest news on modifying/hacking the DroidPad.

Videos of Walkthrough of the Device:

It took some time before I managed to get this up, but here it is –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XsdPapTJZo – Simple walkthrough beginning from the Homescreen (LauncherPro), Typing using a Note App, Ebook Reader and testing of Live Wallpapers. Sorry for the poor video quality. From my Android HTC HD2 device.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaKuB93Zg6E – Simple walkthrough testing the Music App and the speaker loudness. This is followed by a simple use of the browser.

CONCLUSION:

IMAG0066

Here comes the hard part of the review: the verdict. Is this device worth buying? Can it stand up to the onslaught of Android tablets that will surely come either in Q4 or Q1 of 2011? The answer is never so straightforward as a yes or a no.

The Pros of this device are:

  • Capacitive screen (beats all the generic resistive android tablets out there)
  • It is small enough to be portable (at 7″ inch)
  • It is big enough to read websites without much problem (Sorry Mr. Jobs, but 7″ does work)
  • GPS equipped
  • USB On-The-Go
  • Expandable MicroSD slot
  • 2 Cameras – Video Calling
  • Hackable
  • Large RAM space
  • Sturdy Build
  • Relatively cheaper than Samsung Galaxy Tab

The Cons for this device are:

  • Screen is only average and has too low resolution
  • Bulky and not slim enough
  • CPU is too low for the price point
  • Multitouch problems
  • Accessories included are redundant (car charger given is the wrong voltage, headphones are of poor quality)
  • Redundant applications included (merely shortcuts to website based applications)
  • Developer support uncertain
  • Buggy software experience
  • Price point a bit expensive
  • Stock Interface not friendly (this is solved by installing ADWLauncher or LauncherPro)

Some of these things may not be a dealbreaker for you, but for myself personally, I find that the price is the biggest problem for such a device. Will it come down? Eventually, but by that time, there would be newer products (maybe even the next iteration of the DroidPad with Snapdragon chip). The current price at RM1,599 (USD507) is not convincing enough, especially when the experience is not as polished as the iPad (even though it offers more functionalities than the iPad). However, when you compare this device with the Samsung Tab, especially with its price point (which is around USD700 and above) then you may have a good deal on hand. I find that that if one or two weaknesses were solved (particularly relating to the screen resolution), the USD507 might just be a good steal! I reckon that USD400 would be the best price for this device to sell like hot cakes.

Based on a simple survey and feedback from people who have already bought the device, the general opinion seems to be pretty positive. Most people were quite satisfied with the purchase (especially after Samsung Tab’s price was revealed). As usual, make sure you test the unit out for yourselves before making that call!

Comment from Chippy: We’ll have the Viewsonic Viewpad 7 for testing at Carrypad soon. I hear that the firmware will be slightly updated from the Mi700 you see here. The Viewsonic Viewpad 7 will be available in Europe and the U.S. in November. Thanks again to Er Lern for his time and effort on this guest review.

  • See Part 1 here.
  • See Part 2 here
  • See Full mi700 Specifications here
  • See full gallery here
  • Viewpads Get Trade-in Offer. Up to £125 for your Old Lappy

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    Viewpad trade in Got an old but booting netbook or notebook? How about that old EeePC 701?

    Want a Viewpad 7 or 10?

    If you’re in the UK you’re in for a good deal because Viewsonic are offering £100 for the Viewpad 7 and £125 for the Viewpad 10 if you send in your old, but working, laptop or netbook.

    Details were announced at a press conference today and are up on a new website. Check it out for details and let us know if you’re ordering.

    Retail price for the Viewpad 7 is £399 and I see that Misco already have pre-order available and Scan should have details soon. We’re also hearing that MediaMarkt will be stocking in Germany. We’ll update when we have more details. Fingers crossed for the same trade-in deal.

    Viewpad 7 Launch Event Taiwan – Video

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    We’ve just reported on the UK price and availability for the Viewpad 7 and turned around to see that NetbookNews have had hands-on at a launch event in Taiwan. It’s all happening today! Check out the video below.

    Once again, we’re getting positive vibes!

    Source: NetbookNews

    Viewpad 7 Available for Pre-Order in UK. Starting Price: £399

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    If you’ve been thinking about an Android tablet purchase over the next 2 months, these devices are probably on your list. Galaxy Tab, Dell Streak, Notion Ink Adam, Viewpad 7, Archos 70, Archos 101 and maybe the Toshiba Folio. Only 2 of them are currently available and both the Tab and the Streak are great quality products (Streak even gets a 2.2 upgrade soon) but what if you’re looking for something a little cheaper? The Viewpad 7 might be just what you’re looking for.

    viewpad 7 case

    We tested it extensively at IFA in Sept and were tricked by its speed into thinking it was based on a Snapdragon CPU.It’s not!  Our reports from IFA here.

    The Galaxy Tab is almost like-for-like in specs (although it is fair to say that it will be a higher-quality device in terms overall ‘product’) and it is retailing for £529 at Amazon.co.uk today [affiliate link]  The Viewsonic Viewpad 7 is available by pre-order now for £399. We think that price might come down a little soon too, just like the price of the Tab did. Admittedly, the price is 50 pounds more than we were promised at IFA  – “no more that £350” was heard a number of times – but retailers are obviously free to charge what they think is right and with the Tab price ranging up to over £600, £399 sounds fair as a starting point.

    Availability is set for the 15th November (confirmed with Viewsonic) and we also heard that there’s a press event on Thursday 28th so expect a number of hands-on reports to go out from the .co.uk tech press. We’ll try to get there.

    Availability in the UK will be through Maplin, Scan, Misco and Expansys. Only Misco is showing pre-order details at the moment although you can find the Viewpad 10 up for pre-order on Maplin (£499.99)

    My advise is to wait just a week. After the press event you’re likely to see a scramble to get the Viewpad into online retail channels / price comparison engines and the price will find its place.

    We had a chat with Viewsonic yesterday and it look like we’ll get a Viewpad 7 in early November so keep an eye our for news about the live testing session. We also heard that Germany is also on the list. MediaMarkt will be the partner according to some emails that have gone out.

    Mi700 and Sisters Await Snapdragon/Android 3 Cousin

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    cslspiceThere are a few consumer tablets that stir excitement more than others. Of course the iPad is a leader in terms of being a complete product but there are three others you should watch out for. The Dell Streak gets Android 2.2 in November giving it a leading position in the Android tablet space. The Galaxy Tab should launch in November too. It will be expensive but will bring some large-screen optimised software to the Android platform for the first time. The third one on the ‘watchlist’ is the Viewsonic Viewpad 7. We were slightly disappointed to hear that it’s an ARM11-based device last week which means it definitely won’t have the ooompf to compete with the other devices mentioned here but having tested it and seen that it’s a complete ‘phone’ tablet with 3G, GPS and a surprisingly fast UI, we’re still happy that it competes. Pricing is said to be competitive.

    The Viewpad 7 is a re-badged device manufactured by Foxconn and we’ve already seen that it will appear as the Olive Pad, the Camangi FM600 and the CSL Spice Mi700 Droidpad and it’s the latter version that is getting some attention right now because it’s already available in Malaysia and the blogger that made the in-shop review we highlighted last week now has a review model. Not only that but he’s found out that there’s a Snapdragon version in the works too. No doubt it will be more expensive but it certainly shouldn’t take long to get it to market if they use the same design. Foxconn aren’t using the same design though because our friendly Malaysian blogger says “DroidPad 2 slimmer, Snapdragon, will meet Android 3.0 req, planned release in Q1/Q2 of 2011.”

    With Foxconn being one of the largest computer design/manufacturing companies in the world it’s safe to say that they’re well connected in Google. Knowing exactly what’s required for Android 3.0 is a good indicator too.

    We’ll be continuing to follow erlern on Twitter and his blog. We suggest you do to!

    Tricked by an ARM11 CPU

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    This is rather embarrassing

    I’ve been a big proponent of ARMs Cortex CPU cores and have regularly highlighted that they are ‘entry level’ for any sort of Web work on an ARM platform. I’ve tested many ARM11 devices from smartphones to tablets and have never seen any browser speed or quality that would make me happy in a productive scenario. In today’s world of advanced smartphones, there’s every chance that the average consumer would notice too. The latest device that I’m testing, the SmartQ T7, is so slow that I’ve postponed my review until the company can confirm that there isn’t a networking fault. I’ve also been fairly public that the Nokia N8 with its ARM11 CPU won’t be a blazer when it comes to Web browsing and my early tests confirm it. I’ve also disputed cries that a new browser will make it better.

    Imagine my surprise today when a tablet I’ve been very positive about in terms of speed turns out to be an ARM11-based device. Initial reports from Viewsonic indicated that the Viewpad 7 it would be a Snapdragon-based device but the specifications were changed and the unit will be based on the Qualcomm MSM7227 CPU. I only found out because all the other devices based on the same OED (Camangi FM600, Olive Pad, Spice Mi700) are all advertising the Qualcomm MSM7227. Viewsonic confirmed to me today that the device will now ship with the MSM7227 and interestingly, that the unit I tested at IFA and am basing my positive thoughts on was the ARM11 model. [Gulps]

    Of course it doesn’t change the product one bit (unless you have an affinity for Cortex cores) but it does mean I have to be more careful with my analysis in the future. In my defence I was told that it was Snapdragon and it was actually pretty fast but I apologise for this mistake and hope you’ll respect my openness. The relevant product specification pages have all been updated. Learnt from this: Android 2.2 is an extremely efficient OS and it’s possible that Symbian^3 could also be well-optimised in terms of its latest browser software.

    At the end of the day our ‘Open Review’ sessions and videos catch any failings and issues and we’ll be planning just that for the Viewsonic products (Viewpad 7 and Viewpad 10) so stick with us for the real story.

    Note: I’ve also added a bunch of early review links to the Viewsonic Viewpad 7 product pages.

    Spice Mi700 DroidPad Tablet Gets Respectable In-Shop Review. (Variant: FM600, Viewpad 7)

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    droidpad1 While we’re waiting for the Viewpad 7 to turn up in shops in EU and America, you can already buy it in Malaysia. It’s called the Spice Mi700 there and is offered through CSL, the manufacturing company that also put the JooJoo through its lines. One assumes that they are also manufacturing for Camangi, Viewsonic and Olive Telecom because it’s exactly the same device as their offerings.

    More important than who’s manufacturing it is how it’s performing and in-line with my own hands-on, it’s getting the thumbs-up.

    The Mi700 is, like the Viewpad 7 and FM600, a complete Android tablet with GPS, 3G, capacitive multitouch and Google applications making it stand out in the crowd. The processor, a Snapdragon running at 600Mhz, is faster than most of the cheap offerings too.

    ‘elern’ from ‘A World of Thoughts’ managed to spend 30 minutes with the device in his local electronic store and his report is well worth reading. Elern reports a slightly washed-out screen and a few software-related issues but the rest of the report is encouraging. Elern even manages to find out the battery capacity – 12wh which is half the capacity of the iPad battery but given the smaller screen, should give around 5 hours of in-usage battery life (and the normal extended active standby time as per smartphones.) Finally, elern suggests that while this isn’t an iPad killer, its an alternative to the Galaxy Tab. I agree 100%.

    You can check-out elerns hands-on here, follow him on Twitter here and view a thread he’s created in xda-developers here. Another owner has already chipped in with some comments. (“Web browsing is very snappy, no lag and fast, love it”) The product is available on-line here.

    Viewsonic Viewpad 10 and 7 Pre-Registration is Live.

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    Notice something about that headline? It’s no longer the Viewpad 100, it’s the Viewpad 10. (Which makes sense as @thDigitalReader just pointed out to me)

    More interesting news is that the pre-registration page is open. It doesn’t give any information on availability but at least you’ll be first to get the information when it’s available.

    viewpadregistration

    Note that the page is a UK-focused one which is as expected. The Viewpad will probably roll out in the UK before other countries. As there’s no hardware keyboard, that should be a fairly quick process. (I expect Germany and U.S. to be close behind.)

    Finally in an official message we just received we have confirmation that the Viewpad 10 is using an N455 CPU and not the N550 as reported by some retailers and relayed by some blog posts yesterday.

    We’re working on a review device and hope to have more news for you soon.

    Viewsonic Viewpad 7 – Video Overview

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    Chatting to people around IFA today we’re all agreeing that the Viewsonic Viewpad is another ‘complete’ Android Tablet product. Apart from the latest Ghz-class CPU, and lets not forget that a 600Mhz Cortex A8-class CPU isn’t actually that bad, it has everything needed for the full Android experience. From camera to 3G. From GPS to Market. From capacative touch to good build quality. You can even use this for voice calls.

    The price is 399 Euro (maximum) which we think is very competitive indeed.

    In the video below we go over the device and run a few tests, including the voice call!

    Correction: IN the video I talked about a 1024×600 screen. We’re checking this. At the moment the general opinion is that it’s an 800×480 screen. That does make some difference for web browsing it will be difficult to detect any downside when using it in apps that are all designed for smaller resolutions anyway.