Being different is generally a good thing, but being different for difference's sake is pointless. And this is a distinction that the CEO of Fusion Garage is well aware of.
“It’s different and it’s usable, I think that is critical,” Chandra Rathakrishnan told us at a one-on-one briefing about the new Grid10 tablet, which uses the proprietary Grid10 operating system.
In a world of iPads, identikit Android tablets and lost opportunities, something different is always welcome. While the Grid OS is built on the Android Kernel, it could not look much more different from the Honeycomb interface we are now so used to.
The tablet itself has a 10.1in screen with a widescreen 16:9 ratio that will also help it stand out in the tablet market. It uses a 1366x768 pixel panel, where most Android tablets have 1280x800 pixel screens. The tablet measures 274 x 173 x 14mm and weighs 680g.
While it is certainly not the slimmest of tablets, it doesn’t feel that much thicker in the hand that tablets like the super slim Galaxy Tab 10.1, thanks to its curved back. This also makes it easy to hold in one hand in either portrait or landscape orientation.
Fusion Garage claims that the TFT screen has the highest resolution of any 10.1in tablet on the market and at 1366 x 768 pixels this certainly seems to be the case. However, from our brief time with the tablet, the screen was not the best, comparing unfavourably to the bright and vivid screens seen on the iPad or the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It was also incredibly glossy and attracted fingerprints very easily.
The viewing angles were decent on three of the four sides but poor on the fourth, a fact Chandra readily accepted - adding that this would help you keep prying eyes off your screen. The screen is surrounded by a rather large bezel which certainly took away from the overall sleek look of the Grid10.
There are no physical buttons on the face of the screen and the only button to be found anywhere on the device was a small circular power button on one end.
In fact there was very little to break the smooth lines of the Grid10 with the only ports bring a microSD card (up to 64GB), 3G port (under a plastic flap) and a dock/charging connector. No HDMI or USB ports, then, but these can be ‘added’ by using an adapter connected to the docking port.
The back of the Grid 10 has a grey matt finish with a metal Grid10 logo in the centre. There is no camera to break up the lines, but this is something we don’t feel is a major problem on a tablet, where taking pictures is not really something we want to use it for. There is however a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calling.