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Viewsonic ViewPad 7: It's Just a Brand Name
First off and just to get this out of the way; if you see the resemblance, you’re right, the ViewPad is a carbon copy of the OlivePad - No difference whatsoever. From button placements to Dual camera placement, ports et al. Obviously, the OEM for the device is the same as Olive’s. Even the originality of the name is just blah as all of these companies are simply taking a cue from Apple. After the iPad we’ve seen Pads galore. C’mon guys, where’s the creativity? I was in two minds whether the ViewPad 7 was going to be worth reviewing seeing as I already worked with the OlivePad but a few of our readers were curious to know what’s on the inside and how it differed so here it is.
It’d be easier to just link you back to the OlivePad’s review I did earlier and so as not to waste your time. Like I said before, the design is the same, down to the weight. It’s the same shell. But just to reiterate, the ViewPad 7 gets its name because of its 7-inch capacitive touchscreen. It’s equipped with touch sensitive keys beside (or below depending on how you’re holding it) the display and a 3G SIM card and micro SD card slot on top near the volume keys. Dual speakers are placed on either side of the device a 3.5mm handsfree socket is at the bottom near the USB 2.0 port.
Features and Performance
There’s nothing new about the UI. Like the OlivePad, the ViewPad 7 also runs on an Android Froyo platform. Here’s where the two differ – The ViewPad doesn’t have a customized Interface and unlike the OlivePad it’s just plain old Android unless you mask it with an interface enhancement downloaded off the Market. The ViewPad’s onscreen QWERTY keypad is also significantly larger than Olive’s offering, not that that’s a deal breaker. So other than the standard Froyo offerings, the ViewPad 7’s got no great shakes. What’s a real disappointment is the lack of Adobe Flash support.
Like the OlivePad, the ViewPad 7 is also equipped with an ARM 11 Qualcomm MSM7227 600MHz processor. Somehow though, this device manages to work just a tad smoother than the OlivePad. The larger keypad is also a plus, however it didn’t seem too responsive. I found myself having to hit a key a couple of times before it registered. Multi touch was smooth and very fluid though.
The native media player is also quite blah. The tone quality was average at best and as usual The Android OS has no allotment for customizing the audio. As is, the ViewPad is sans FM radio but includes a voice recorder, Google’s Voice Search functionality (which is generally awesome by the way) and Aldiko’s Book Reader that came preloaded. Standard video capabilities include MPEG4 and 3GP files. The plus side about this being an Android device is that you can download freeware like Rockplayer and Mixzing to fill in the media gaps. The bundled handsfree (in-ear type) are not the most comfortable or designed to provide optimum audio for media. On the other hand, it's good enough for calls.
The device is 3G ready and supports EDGE/GPRS as well, of course. For other connectivity purposes, it’s also equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and USB 2.0. The browser is nothing to write home about but the larger display does make viewing a lot easier. Like any other Android device, setting up email accounts with POP/IMAP accounts or syncing with Microsoft Outlook is not much of a chore. It’s also a GPS and a-GPS enabled device but there are no maps included so Google Maps will be your main source for navigation unless you get yourself another option. The host of Google services including Places, Latitude, YouTube are all on board.
Surprise surprise - the ViewPad also has a 3MP autofocus camera and a front facing VGA camera for video calls. The settings are a little better laid out than the Olive’s and offer functions like color effects, Metering Mode, Brightness control, White Balance, Geo tagging and 4X optical zoom.
It’s very strange but the display grossly distorted the view of what you could see through the lens. Images captured also looked pathetic on the device itself, but in native resolution after transferring images to a PC, they looked much better and a whole lot sharper. Video color effects and quality that ranges from QCIF to VGA are available.
Battery life is as good as that of the OlivePad’s. It’s also equipped with a 3240mAH Li-Polymer battery and dishes out a decent 3 hours of talk time and allows for nominal usage for 2 full days on a single charge.
The Bottom Line
Here’s what totally baffles me, it’s the same product but it’s priced at almost Rs. 9000 more than the OlivePad at Rs. 32,000. The ViewPad 7 doesn’t offer anything more; in fact it even lacks a customized UI. So is it purely because of the brand name it carries that its price is hiked? Seems that way, doesn’t it. Either way, if you’re a bland sort of techie, then Viewsonic would be a choice to go for, price be damned, but if you’re looking for the same thing at a lower price with more goodies like a 16GB memory card and Lifetime GPS Navigation from MapMyIndia and the name doesn’t matter, the OlivePad is what you should consider. I'd go with the latter.