We've seen Android tablets at both end of the scale here at IFA. There's the smaller, more pocketable, high quality Samsung Tab and the larger, laptop replacement, low priced Toshiba Folio 100. With the Viewpad 7 we now have one that fits nicely in the middle, combining a smaller form factor with a low price.
The first thing that strikes you about the ViewPad 7 is its design, which is very much like that of a large iPhone 4. A metal band wraps around the edge and into it is set a flat glass screen and glossy black plastic back. It's a little chunky – around 14mm – but otherwise looks elegant and feels well made.
As we said when looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the 7in form factor feels a lot more sensible as a genuinely portable, in-between device for when a smartphone is too small and laptop too large. Certainly if you can manage to read for long periods of time when looking at an LCD display, then this is the perfect form factor for reading E-Books. In contrast, the larger iPad and Toshiba Folio 100 feel a little cumbersome.
Physical features are plentiful, though there are a couple of things missing. What you do get are cameras on the back and front, SIM and MicroSD slots on the left edge, headphone and miniUSB sockets and inside you get Wi-Fi, GPS and mobile data – in fact you can even make calls on this thing. However, there's no HDMI for outputting video to your TV and the camera lacks flash and a dedicated button.
The screen is also very nearly excellent but not quite. It's seven inches in size but unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Toshiba Folio 100, its resolution is only 800 x 480 pixels. Likewise, it uses a good LCD panel that has much better viewing angles that the Toshiba but can't quite match the Samsung Tab and Apple iPad. Nonetheless, it's still generally a pleasure to use with strong colours, decent contrast and a good level of sharpness.