- Review Price: £259.00
- 1366 x 768 resolution screen
- Grid OS
- 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor
Being different is generally a good thing, but being
different for difference’s sake is pointless. And this is a distinction that the
CEO of Fusion Garage is well aware of.
“It’s different and it’s usable, I think that is critical,”
Chandra Rathakrishnan told us at a one-on-one briefing about the new Grid10
tablet, which uses the proprietary Grid10 operating system.
In a world of iPads, identikit Android tablets and
opportunities}, something different is always welcome. While the Grid
is built on the Android Kernel, it could not look much more different
Honeycomb interface we are now so used to.
The tablet itself has a 10.1in screen with a widescreen 16:9 ratio
that will also help it stand out in the tablet market. It uses a 1366×768 pixel panel, where most Android tablets have 1280×800 pixel screens. The tablet measures 274 x 173 x 14mm and weighs 680g.
While it is certainly not the slimmest of tablets, it
doesn’t feel that much thicker in the hand that tablets like the super slim
Galaxy Tab 10.1, thanks to its curved back. This also makes it easy to hold in
one hand in either portrait or landscape orientation.
Fusion Garage claims that the TFT screen has the
highest resolution of any 10.1in tablet on the market and at 1366 x 768 pixels this certainly seems to be the case. However, from our brief time with the tablet, the screen was
not the best, comparing unfavourably to the bright and vivid screens seen on the iPad or the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It
was also incredibly glossy and attracted fingerprints very easily.
The viewing angles were decent on three of the four sides
but poor on the fourth, a fact Chandra readily accepted – adding that this
would help you keep prying eyes off your screen. The screen is surrounded by a
rather large bezel which certainly took away from the overall sleek look of the
There are no physical buttons on the face of the screen and
the only button to be found anywhere on the device was a small circular power
button on one end.
In fact there was very little to break the smooth lines of
the Grid10 with the only ports bring a microSD card (up to 64GB), 3G port
(under a plastic flap) and a dock/charging connector. No HDMI or USB ports, then,
but these can be ‘added’ by using an adapter connected to the docking port.
The back of the Grid 10 has a grey matt finish with a metal Grid10 logo in the centre. There is no camera to break up the lines,
but this is something we don’t feel is a major problem on a tablet, where
taking pictures is not really something we want to use it for. There is however a 1.3 megapixel
front-facing camera for video calling.
Of course the hardware is only the beginning of this tablet,
as its real standout feature is the Grid OS. While it has been built on the
Android kernel, Chandra was at pains to point out that this is not a
re-skinning of Android. He says Grid OS has been “completely re-built from the ground
From the moment you power on the tablet, the difference from
Android (and indeed iOS) is evident. The lock screen shows the grid matrix which is a motif seen
throughout the OS. To unlock the tablet you have to sign in with your finger
using a unique signature, rather than entering a code or swiping across the screen.
The home screen of the Grid OS is essentially an unlimited
space onto which you place “clusters” of apps. You can navigate around the home
screen simply by swiping in your desired direction or by using the “world view”
map in the top right-hand quarter.
While it may not be Android, you will still be able to use
Android apps on the Grid10. These will have to be downloaded via the Amazon
Appstore rather than the Android Market, as Fusion Garage has tried to remove
almost all remnants of Google from the Grid10.
As well as replacing the Market, Bing has replaced Google as
the default search engine and all default Google apps like Gmail have been
replaced by proprietary or third-party apps.
Amazon has a large presence here, its Music service
replacing the Google Music app and the Kindle app pre-loaded as the default
Using the interface is intuitive and simple. Everything is
powered by a 1GHz Tegra 2 processor with 512MB of RAM and is very
responsive – almost too much so, with the pinch-to-zoom function being
too sensitive at times.
Gestures are also a large part of the interface and at any stage while using Grid OS, you can go back one step
by swiping two fingers from the right bezel; go to the home screen by swiping
two fingers down from the top bezel and go to the notification centre (called
Heartbeat) by swiping two fingers from the left of the screen.
Heartbeat, as well as providing notifications, gives you access
to all your running apps. Multitasking is supported in Grid OS through the Sync State
feature, which suspends each app in the state you left it, until you return. Sync State
will also allow you to sync your Grid10 tablet with the Grid4 smartphone due
for launch later this year – syncing everything from apps to multiple tabs in
your web browser.
Also available in Heartbeat will be context sensitive information – such as up-coming appointments in
your calendar or maps of your location with interest around you.
Part of the concept behind Grid OS is that it will integrate
social media into everything, meaning you will be able to post to Facebook or
Twitter while watching a movie or listening to a song.
The Grid OS has many small touches that mark it out as different from Android and iOS, but we’re not sure if these will be enough to tempt people away from the familiar, to something “new and exciting.”
The one thing that will tempt many, however, is the Grid10’s
price. When it launches in the UK
on 24 October the 16GB Wi-Fi only model will cost just £259, rising to £359 for
the 3G model – which will be unlocked.
We enjoyed the experience of using the Grid10 and the
Grid OS, but we’re not sure if it was just the novelty of a new system or whether the Grid OS
offers something genuinely compelling. We’ll be getting our hands on the Grid10
tablet soon, so make sure to check back for our full review.
For now, let us know what you think of the Grid10 tablet and
if it’s an option you would consider.
|Processor||1GHz dual core Nvidia tegra 2 processor|
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