The ViewSonic 10e’s screen is its stand-out feature. Within the roster of tablets that label themselves as affordable, it is simply excellent. Using an IPS panel and 1,024 x 768 pixel resolution, its tech specs are up there with the best tablets of 2011.
Its capacitive touch layer feels great too – topped with glass rather than hard plastic. It is, however, tripped-up by the laggy performance. The screen hardware has what’s needed for a top-flight experience, but the software and internal hardware doesn’t.
Going head-to-head with the directly-comparable iPad 2, the display backlight is a little harsher at maximum brightness and colours are not as rich, but it maintains the excellent viewing angles and good image quality associated with this kind of screen. It’s impressive at £199.
Pixel density is fairly low at 131dpi, with pixels making-up text clearly visible within the browser, but the same can be said of most current tablets inlcluding the iPad 2.
This great screen quality should make the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e a quality video-watching tool, but the performance issue creeps in here too. Native video support reaches beyond the standards of the Android OS, with Xvid and DivX invited, but the tablet can’t relay most at full speed.
Performance with MP4, an Android staple, is good but dropped frames are clearly noticeable in standard definition Divx files, and other non Android-native formats. Again this is indicative of the faulty software of the tablet. “Hard wired” support is fine, but anything requiring more finesse falls a little flat. Here are the results we found running our test samples.
The limited internal memory becomes glaringly apparent when using the ViewPad 10e as a video jukebox. 4GB isn’t much at the best of times, but this is chopped-into by system essentials, giving you more like 3GB to play with. As there’s a microSD slot, letting you boost storage simply and cheaply, it’s not a show-stopping problem, but it sets the 10e apart from higher-end tablets, which treat 16GB as a minimum.
Under its metal backplate lives a 5,400mAh battery, which lasts for just under five and a half hours of video playback, trotting-out a standard definition DivX film. Although long enough for a few films, this doesn’t impress among its tablet peers, where the standard is set at around eight hours.
There’s a stereo speaker array on the back, with grilles at each end of the lower-end. The sound quality is not up to much though, falling below the surprisingly decent output of the iPad 2. However, you can easily plug in a set of headphones or speakers, and mirroring the content to an HDTV or monitor is simple using the mini HDMI socket on the 10e’s top edge – the socket is covered by a little plastic flap when not in use.