The ViewSonic ViewPad 10e adopts a very sensible approach to camera sensors. It doesn’t feature one on the back, including just the user-facing camera for video chat and checking out your fringe. With 1.3 megapixels to call upon, it couldn’t take a decent still if its existence depended upon it, but that’s not what it’s there for.
Most low-key essential features are here too. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi n support and a “G-sensor” accelerometer all feature, but there’s no built-in GPS. Without Google Maps to make this immediately apparent, many buyers may not even notice its absence. But it’s worth considering if you need a tablet to take out and about a bit. At present, the ViewPad 10e is a Wi-Fi-only tablet – and we doubt whether a 3G-enabled version of this design will ever appear.
The ViewSonic ViewPad 10e gets one crucial thing right that so many “affordable” tablets fail to do. It has a good screen. However, in focusing on this it seems to have neglected other elements that are just as important. It’s buggy, and is slower than we had expected given its somewhat-decent specs. 1GHz should be enough to make Android 2.3 usable, but here it stumbles around as if it has taken a bullet to the knee. When the main point of sale for this tablet is a very large, very mainstream high street retailer, we can only imagine that many buyers will end up disappointed.
For the more tech-savvy among you, though, the 10e holds some promise. We can imagine hacks to provide improved performance, Android Market support and perhaps Android Honeycomb appearing before too long – which could revitalise what ViewSonic offers here out of the gate. Indeed, if you do hear of any such goings on then do let us know and we’ll gladly update our review. ViewSonic is planning its own Ice Cream Sandwich update, but this won’t add the currently-missing Google app store and apps, and may not address the performance issue. The ViewPad 10e is worth keeping an eye on for its IPS screen and iPad-like design, but at present we can’t recommend it.
A great screen, slimline design and non-widescreen aspect instantly had us interested in ViewSonic’s latest tablet, but these neat features are drowned-out by the laggy, outdated, buggy software. It also lacks Android Market support and Google’s roster of apps. Some of its specs impress at the price, but as the tablet market develops, £199 is starting to not look all that cheap for a device like this.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 9
Battery Life 6