Ever since Apple’s iPad 2 became the most desired (but most expensive) tablet on the market, all of its rivals have been hell bent on producing cheaper but similar Android and Windows versions, which would hopefully make a decent dent in Apple’s profits. ViewSonic was one of the quickest to get in on the act, and their latest Android incarnation is the ViewPad 10e.
Unfortunately for ViewSonic, the ViewPad 10e, which is a 9.7 inch tablet has just been upstaged by the 10.1 inch ViewPad 10s. This will mean it will be remarkably difficult to find in outlets, where you can buy the 10e. Argos recently announced the 10e is available for a very friendly £199.99, but it’s now being sold for £299.99. This is around the same price as the ViewPad 10s.
Gingerbread rather than Honeycomb
Let’s start with the positives about the ViewPad 10e. It feels comparatively light at 620g and at a thickness of 9.1mm – it is one of the thinnest 10″ tablets currently available. The 9.7″ IPS LCD monitor has a native resolution of 1024 x 768 and is satisfyingly bright (400 cd/m2), even in outdoor conditions. Although no 3G connectivity is present, you still have Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, Micro USB together with Mini HDMI for playing back videos through your TV. Basic internal storage is a mere 4GB, but this can be expanded thanks to the Micro SD slot to 32GB.
Minor omissions include the lack of a rear camera, where there is just a 1.3MP variant on the front for video chatting. There is also no USB power charging, but the major lack is in the OS. Although this is an Android tablet, it’s not 100% certified Android product and uses Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) rather than Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). As it’s non-certified, there’s no Android Marketplace to download apps. Instead you have to make do with the substitute 1Mobile Market, from which you can download the Amazon App Store to provide most of your favourites.
You are supplied with the Amazon Kindle app and the ViewScene 3D interface, which is a funky carousel-style home page that allows you to set up 16 customisable panes. The main problem is that the 1GHz Cortex A8 processor with its 512MM RAM struggles to provide fast operation, with the antiquated Gingerbread system. ViewSonic has promised an upgrade to the Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS in February; it will also be uncertified.
Contact: 0207 382 8250
- Attractive 3D interface.
- Gingerbread OS struggles to keep up; non-certified Google OS.
If you're looking for a budget level Android tablet then you still might like to pause, before considering the ViewSonic ViewPad 10e – until its Gingerbread OS is upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich.