Review Price £374.99
ViewSonic ViewPad 7 - Cameras, Battery Life, Verdict
Unfortunately, as with the Galaxy Tab, the cameras on ViewSonic's tablet are pretty much an afterthought. Stills from the three megapixel rear unit are of mediocre quality while its standard definition video is edging towards dreadful, with plenty of smearing, noise, artefacts and loss of detail. It's just about adequate for video calling, but certainly not ideal for capturing memories.
Battery life from the non-removable 3,240mAh unit is decent. Though you won't get 10 hours like the iPad, ViewSonic's claim of around six hours seems to be spot-on, as the ViewPad 7 gave us just over six hours with average use (with the screen set to Auto - i.e. using its ambient light sensor to determine brightness - and usage alternating between web-browsing, downloading over Wi-Fi, document creation, gaming and video playback). Obviously your mileage will vary with use, but especially with the screen brightness lowered, it could last you all day.
Finally we get to value, which is by no means straightforward. Though the ViewPad 7 is available for £400, if you have any unwanted netbook or laptop lying around you'll get £100 cashback from ViewSonic's trade-in program. That's not "up to", it's £100 for any working machine up to four years old, bringing the price for the tablet down to £300.
At £300, if you can live with its limitations the ViewPad 7 offers halfway decent value, with its Android 2.2 OS, 3G, official App Store support and its long battery life (not to mention a two-year collect and return warranty) setting it apart from the cheap £150 tablets being sold by many lesser-known brands online. Arguably you would be better off buying a similarly-priced Android smartphone, but the larger form factor does have a niche appeal.
For the full £400 though, we just don't feel ViewSonic's smallest tablet offers the kind of quality you would expect for that kind of money. Samsung's Tab was also overpriced, but at least it offered Full HD video playback and HDMI video out (albeit with an optional dock that costs extra), a higher-resolution, better screen, and hardware specifications that were powerful enough to run every Android application out there.
Despite its proprietary nature, even Apple's iPad easily justifies its £30 premium, and the competition isn't exactly standing still, with Dell's intriguing little Inspiron Duo coming in at £450. Unfortunately, the best aspect of the ViewPad 7 is its case.
ViewSonic's ViewPad 7 Android tablet looks good, is fairly well built and has plenty of features, not to mention a great case. However, it's seriously let down by its uncomfortable shape, slow 600MHz processor and a low-resolution, slightly unresponsive screen.
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