ViewSonic ViewPad 10 tablet: Windows plus Android doesn't add up
ViewSonic's dual-boot, Windows 7 and Android 2.2 Frankentablet showcases the worst of both worldsFollow @MobileGalen
As is the case for Android 2.2 on smartphones, the built-in Email application supports only unsecured Exchange accounts, in addition to POP and IMAP. The ViewPad's version of Android doesn't support passwords -- meaning you can't secure access to the tablet's Android partition even at a basic level. There's a VPN feature in its Settings app, but the VPN capability doesn't work; ViewSonic says it plans to fix that issue in a future update.
As in the Window OS, there's a smattering of apps preinstalled, including Email (but not Gmail), Messaging, Music, Calculator, App Store (which goes to a private app store, not the Android Market), a couple games, and -- oddly -- the ConnectBot SSH client. I say "oddly" because ViewSonic told me it expects ViewPad 10 users to run Windows 7 for work and employ the Android OS for personal entertainment such as playing music. Never mind that Windows 7 has a perfectly good music player app; perhaps ViewSonic assumes companies will lock that down so that users can't use it.
ViewSonic didn't bother; neither should you
It's Microsoft's fault that Windows 7 isn't really designed to work on tablets, but ViewSonic is to blame for putting Microsoft's OS on a device that's not powerful enough to run it. ViewSonic is also to blame for using a nontablet version of Android on its tablet and for making that OS so awkward to use. It's ViewSonic's fault that its boot loader and Android interfaces don't match the physical button on its case.
I could go on about the ViewPad's heavy weight (1.93 pounds), overly thick case (nearly twice as thick as an iPad 2), high-glare screen, and lack of rear camera. I could note it comes with Wi-Fi only and that its 10-inch widescreen is a very awkward ratio. I could even say how many ports it has. But who cares? If the hardware were better, this tablet would still be unusable.
ViewSonic didn't bother to design his product so that all the components worked together. Instead, it took whatever body parts it could scrounge up and created a Frankentablet. Leave the monsters in the movies, and get a real tablet instead: an Apple iPad 2 or a Motorola Mobility Xoom or a Windows 7 ultralight laptop.
|$679 with 32GB, Windows 7 Professional, and Android OS 2.2; $599 with 16GB, Windows 7 Home Premium, and Android OS 2.2||ViewSonic's dual-OS tablet is too slow to run Windows 7, making Windows 7's awkward touch interface even more difficult to use. The tablet's Android environment, based on a nontablet version of the OS, is hardly more viable, as the implementation is nonstandard even compared to other tablets running the same OS version.|
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Galen is author of iOS 7: The "Just What You Need" Book, OS X Mavericks: The "Just What You Need" Book, MacBook Pro Portable Genius, and iBooks Author For Dummies, as well as lead author of Exploring Windows 8 For Dummies. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen and at Google+.