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Viewsonic Viewpad 7

Viewsonic ViewPad 7 Android tablet

Tablet sceptics, prepare to be converted

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Johnny 7?

The viewing angle from side to side in landscape mode is very good. But the loss of definition when you go off-axis vertically reveals the downside of traditional LCD as compared with the AMOLED technology now beginning to be used in devices like the Samsung Wave - costly at this sort of size - or even the more modest IPS that Apple uses for the iPad screen. A limitation for a device you'll often have lying flat on the table in front of you, but not, in practise, a very big deal. The 800 x 480 resolution is more of a handicap, especially when compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab's 1024 x 600 panel

Viewsonic Viewpad 7

Slip in a Sim for 3G connectivity

Speaking of Apple, the ViewPad's industrial design is very close to the solid aluminium-rimmed styling of Cupertino's latest phones and lightweight notebooks. Clearly, Johnny Ive has his admirers in Taiwan. Switched off or sleeping, the ViewPad looks like a black glass tile solidly framed in silver. The half-inch rim gives plenty of room at the top – in landscape mode – for a flap that conceals sockets for Sim and a Micro SD card. To the right of this, two flush buttons control the audio volume.

The left and right edges have small grilles for a pair of tiny but surprisingly listenable speakers. Above these are a pair of circular recesses evidently for the attachment of a case, although the tough canvas-like black case provided uses three stout clips to retain the device instead.

Immediately below the left-hand speaker is the power switch. A short press to awaken the machine or put it to sleep and a longer press when it's switched on to pull up a menu offering complete power down, sound muting or airplane mode.

Viewsonic Viewpad 7

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Next page: Netbook nemesis?

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