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ViewSonic ViewPad 7 review

Ardjuna Seghers



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Review Price £374.99

There's no doubt about it, Apple's iPad (which gained first place in our Readers' Choice: Product of the Year Awards 2010 and received an honourable mention in our own selection) singlehandedly brought the tablet into the consumer spotlight. Now every major manufacturer is throwing its own challengers into the arena, most based on Google's Android OS. We were somewhat disappointed with Samsung's hotly-anticipated Galaxy Tab, so can ViewSonic's ViewPad 7 make a better case for itself?

If you've read our extensive hands-on preview of the larger ViewPad 10, you may remember that in some regards, its smaller, cheaper 7in sibling is actually the superior tablet. For one thing, it comes with the latest 2.2 version of Android instead of the outdated – and not (officially) upgradeable – version 1.6 that accompanies Windows 7 on the larger tablet. As ViewSonic has only made minimal alterations to the stock Android OS, it should receive a rapid update when Gingerbread (AKA 2.3) comes out.

It also features a front-facing camera, quad-band GSM (allowing you to use it as a smartphone) 3G connectivity, and access to Android's Marketplace, all features placing it near the top of the tablet game. Combined with its stylish – if rather chunky – looks and fairly solid apparent build quality, initial impressions are certainly positive.

Another immediately obvious advantage over not only its bigger sibling, but also most competitors, is that the ViewPad 7 comes with a very well-thought-out case. This is a classy black affair with a tough, patterned leatherette exterior and soft, suede-like, anti-slip interior. It has three hard clips which securely hold the pad and a broad elastic band that holds its covers closed.

Perhaps the case's best feature is that it acts as a flexible stand. It cleverly folds in on itself to support the tablet either at a fixed angle (with the soft finish on the outside, great for slippery surfaces like glass) or flexibly (with the leatherette finish on the outside). The only disadvantage is that, either way, it's unsuitable for holding the tablet in portrait orientation. Regardless, the case is a genius default addition and a significant value-add, considering a decent equivalent for a rival tablet could easily set you back £30 or more – if it's available at all.

Onto the tablet itself, as mentioned its construction looks very solid at first glance, and for most of it this holds true. Essentially, its front and back are finished in slices of clear glossy plastic over piano black, with a faux-aluminium band running seamlessly around the edge to join them. This is in contrast to having glass panels front and back with a stainless steel band like the iPhone 4, which this device clearly takes its influence from. Despite the inferior materials, though, it feels pretty solid, and that case should keep scratches to a minimum. However, we did notice that we could press the back in ever so slightly where it met the silver strip, as the back 'slice' had come out a little from its frame.

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November 26, 2010, 2:30 am

Great review, thanks. The pricing of this is very interesting. With the Galaxy Tab now available for around £450 online and contract free why on earth would you pay £400 for this? Have Viewsonic missed a great opportunity to pick up some market share by offering this for £220-£250. At this price it would be tempting.


November 26, 2010, 1:56 pm

512MB is a shocking amount. Who cares if it's got an SD slot when the price of entry is £400? So in short : crap screen, slow and unresponsive, and bugger all storage. Bang up job guys. Call it lowering the bar all you want, but every time another wannabe tablet gets released, the iPad just looks better and better - and not that expensive either!


November 26, 2010, 2:25 pm


I agree, at £250 it would be quite attractive, especially considering it offers equivalent features to many smartphones costing £300 and more (though they're not always implemented as well).


Do keep in mind that a 16GB MicroSD card shouldn't set you back more than £20 at most, but yes, at £400 you would definitely expect better.


November 26, 2010, 6:24 pm

I agree with all the comments so far, with the Galaxy Tab dropping in price (and im sure it will keep dropping) and the Archos 101 out for £250 and Archos 70 for £220, Viewsonic really have missed the mark with this.

Hoping the Adam Notion really becomes the game changer that they are pushing, if does look interesting with a 10" screen and apparently a touchpad on the back as well as the touchscreen (quite a clever idea). We shall see on the 4th Dec I guess when something exciting is apparenly going to happen (hopefully release or at least pre-order)


November 26, 2010, 7:27 pm

Must say I actually much prefer the ViewPad to the Galaxy Tab. It is a very similar device for a lot less money. The problem with Android tablets as a whole, however, is they are currently just big smartphones. For now keep your wallets in your pockets people.


November 26, 2010, 9:46 pm

@Gordon, I really can't get my head around your thinking here. I picked up the Galaxy Tab last week after it was reduced to £450 and have to say is an awesome device, fantastically portable and a great complement to a smartphone. Really can't fault it. Yes it may get even better when later Android versions are available but in my opinion its a great portable alternative to the iPad which doesn't leave my coffee table due to its weight and size :-)

Arctic Fox

November 26, 2010, 9:47 pm

I suggest people wait until they get the chance to look at Acer's offerings in the first quarter of next year. Both Android and WP7.


November 27, 2010, 12:26 am

@Ataripower - I'd have suggested you wait until Gingerbread and tablets specifically designed for it, but I'm glad you like the Tab. It has an iPad quality about it in that I know people who are big fans and people who can't stand it.

I suspect you've already read this, but these were my feelings:



October 30, 2011, 2:48 am

You say "However, a more significant disadvantage is the screen's low 800 x 400 resolution". I'm confused by this as Viewsonic claim the Viewpad 7 has a resolution of 800 x 480 (see )

Kevin Sykes

April 22, 2013, 6:54 pm

My screen broke soon after I got my viewsonic & cant get a repair done anywhere

ebibai okumo

November 28, 2013, 9:40 am

please where can i get my veiwsonic 7( 2.2) touch pal/ screen replaced in Lagos Nigeria

amar tiwari

March 31, 2014, 7:52 am

my -viewsonic-viewpad...‎7 is not working what i do...?

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