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ViewPad 7

Ardjuna Seghers


ViewSonic Showcase

Having last week brought you an extensive look at ViewSonic's 10in, dual-booting ViewPad 10, now we're checking out the other goodies that were on hand at the company's recent briefing.

First off, some extra details on the ViewPad 7, which we already had a play with at IFA2010. As mentioned, its design is undeniably classy and it feels well-built, but its appeal is further enhanced by a really nice leatherette case that comes with it as standard. This not only protects the tablet from wear and tear, but can also act as a stand.

The ViewPad 7 will sport the latest version of Android (2.2) though, to our disappointment, Flash won't be enabled regardless of OS. This is because of the relatively slow ARM11 600MHz processor, which is nonetheless fast enough for a generally smooth experience.

Crucially, with 3G on board this ViewPad will have full access to Google's Android App store (something that many cheaper Android tablets lack), potentially giving you a wealth of free games and applications. Some paid apps will be preinstalled, such as the eminently useful Documents to Go, which allows you to view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF documents.

Further wireless connectivity is well covered with quad-band GSM, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 2.1 and GPS. This also means the 7 will be perfectly usable as a mobile phone, and if you feel embarrassed holding a slate this size up to your ear there's always the option of a Bluetooth headset such as the award-winning Jawbone Icon.

The tablet features both front (VGA) and rear (3 megapixel)–facing cameras as well as a microphone and speakers, so you can use it for video-calling. All the sensors you would expect to find on a high-end smartphone are present, including a G-sensor, compass and ambient light sensor.

Connectivity consists of a mini-USB socket for data synchronisation, 3.5mm audio jack and slots for a microSD memory card (up to 32GB) and SIM card. Dimensions for the 7 include a depth of a mere 11.5mm and a light weight of 375g. Its 3240mAh battery should last you up to seven hours for video playblack and up to 40 hours when playing music, with a stunning 600 hours of claimed standby time.

Overall we're again quite impressed by this little tablet. MSRP is set at £399 which is a bit higher than we had expected, but with the rebate scheme we told you about last week, this will come down to just under £300 if you have an old netbook lying around.

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