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ViewSonic ViewPad 7 - Display, Speakers and Usability

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

5

Aside from its somewhat underpowered processor, the ViewPad 7's only other significant compromise is its screen. We're not surprised that it uses a TN panel, as most other alternatives also offer this, and indeed the iPad is still the only easily available tablet to sport a superior panel technology. Even so, despite good horizontal viewing angles (with the tablet in landscape mode), vertical ones are very poor indeed, and considerably inferior to those of the Galaxy Tab.

However, a more significant disadvantage is the screen's low 800 x 400 resolution. This is less than you get on some high-end smartphones such as the Motorola Milestone XT720 (854 x 480) or iPhone 4 (960 x 640), and markedly inferior to the Tab, which crams 1,024 x 600 pixels into the same screen area.

Consequently, images and text are visibly grainy, tiny fonts can be difficult to read, and video never looks as sharp as we would like. Don't get us wrong, it's certainly usable and half the time you might not even notice, but other tablets (including ViewSonic's own ViewPad 10) give a better experience in this regard.

It's quite a pity too, as sonically this 7in tablet is surprisingly decent. Its stereo speakers produce clear and reasonably sharp sound at higher volume levels than you would expect, though to get any bass you'll still need to resort to a pair of headphones.

Getting to the interface, ViewSonic hasn't significantly altered Android 2.2's stock effort (arguably a good thing) but has added the useful Documents to Go app. However, one immediate annoyance is that, unlike Samsung's tablet, the ViewPad doesn't support a portrait mode when viewing the homescreen, navigating menus, or using the dialer. A statically-oriented home screen is acceptable on a phone, but it simply doesn't work here, especially as portrait is the only comfortable way to hold the tablet one-handed. In landscape mode, the buttons along the right side can also be accidentally pressed with your palm.

Speaking of usability, despite sporting a relatively hard surface the capacitive touchscreen is, as we often find with plastic displays, not quite as responsive as those on other devices we've used. You have to be a little bit firmer with swipes than usual, and during typing there's the odd occasion where a light press doesn't register.

Haptic feedback doesn't feel as 'solid' as we're used to either, with one staff member describing it as "tinny". The slightly sluggish response of the device also means it trails your typing by some considerable distance, even if you're not a particularly fast typer. All told, we're not surprised that ViewSonic has it turned off by default for the keyboard.

In landscape mode, the virtual keyboard is very usable, with the 7in screen size ensuring keys are almost as large as on the real, physical peripheral. However, you will need long thumbs for two-handed typing and it's quite tiring to hold after a while. In the more comfortable portrait mode things are more manageable, but the slightly unresponsive feel of the screen and the response lag means you can't really get up a head of steam.

Call quality on the ViewPad 7 is very good, with excellent clarity from both the speakers and the microphone, though ideally you do need to orient the latter towards you. Speakerphone is the only option, but we can't imagine many people holding this tablet against the side of their head like a mobile phone. The bundled ViewSonic in-ear stereo headset is actually surprisingly decent, including a built-in microphone and two sets of extra tips. Or you can just use a Bluetooth headset like the Jawbone Icon.

Ataripower

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.

GoldenGuy

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!

TechVegan

November 26, 2010, 2:25 pm

@Ataripower:


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).





@GoldenGuy:


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.

Stelph

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)

Gordon394

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.

Ataripower

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.

Gordon394

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:


http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

TallPaul

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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