|Name||Tablet: ViewSonic ViewPad 10s|
|At a glance:||No access to Android Marketplace,No Google apps pre-installed,Sluggish overall performance,Acceptable web browsing speed|
|Summary:||Overpriced and stripped of the best features of Android, but chubby enough to make a good paperweight.|
#8 in our 2011 Tablet Countdown.
I've been working for PC World for around eight months now. A lot of gadgets have passed my desk in that time, both good and bad. Even before I worked here, I was a tech fiend, devouring whatever I could get my hands on. Which makes this even harder to say: the ViewPad 10s wins the dubious honour of being the worst piece of tech I've seen.
Those of you familiar with the Android 2.2 operating system will already know that it comes with a host of Google apps, including Google Maps, Navigation, Talk, and GMail. The ViewPad 10s doesn’t.
This wouldn’t normally be a big deal, since you can download them from Android’s Marketplace. But the ViewPad 10s’ version of the Android OS has been stripped down to the extent that you have no access to the Android market. None.
Instead, the ViewPad offers an ‘App Center’ that resembles the Android Marketplace but lacks key apps. Even though there’s a browser-based version of the Android market, attempting to install anything results in an error message stating that the Android app you’re trying to download isn’t compatible with your device. It’s unlikely that, if you buy this in a store, anyone will tell you the difference between the usual Android experience and this one.
The ViewPad 10s is unattractive, too. Compared to other tablet devices it’s thick, weighty at 730 grams, and looks cheap. On the plus side, it’s sturdy enough that we imagine you could drop it and not have to worry about it breaking, as long as it didn’t land on the screen. (We were tempted.)
One glance at that screen immediately tells you the resolution is not as high as other tablets in the price range. It’s 1024 x 600, and to compare, the original iPad – which now retails for about the same price – is 1024 x 768. There’s a visible difference between the two, and the ViewPad’s display lacks vibrant colours.
Despite having a 1000MHz processor, the 10s is downright slow compared to other tablets. When switching from the home screen to the menu screen, the home screen imprint showed on the new screen for a full second before the tablet caught up.
The redeeming feature of the ViewPad 10s, however, is its web browsing ability. It loads pages at a reasonable pace, and has plenty of screen real estate. Still, the faded colours and pixelation sometimes made it difficult to read text.
We would be okay with all of these flaws if the ViewPad cost $200. Even $300 might be acceptable, although we wouldn’t fork over the money ourselves. But the ViewPad 10s costs a relatively expensive $649 and is nowhere near as good as its competitors in that price range. ViewSonic’s own 7-inch ViewPad tablet – which costs the same as its bigger, bulkier sibling - is a vast improvement on the 10s. We just can’t recommend this tablet.