Fingers-On With WeTab: Mind-Blowing, High-Def MeeGo Tablet

Starting next week the people of Germany will be able to purchase the WeTab, a unique and exciting 11-inch tablet with a high-res 1366×768 screen and — for the first time on a slate — the MeeGo operating system. Based on our brief experience with the device today, we envy their opportunity.

What makes the German-exclusive WeTab so special? First, its 1366 x 768, 11-inch capacitive touch screen is over an inch larger than the iPad’s and has a lot more screen real estate. Considering that a 720p video is 1280 x 720, the WePad more than makes the cut, while the 1024 x 768 iPad and the 1024 x 600 Samsung Galaxy tab have to downscale. Amongst 10 and 11-inch tablets we’ve seen, only the Viliv X10, which hasn’t come to market yet, has a resolution this high.

WeTab’s unique pinboard interface takes full advantage of its high resolution screen. Rather than having a series of separate home screens or menus all shortcuts, bookmarks, embedded videos, and other widgets live on the pinboard, which lets you scroll up or down for more content.

On the right side of the screen sits a context menu with buttons that help you perform actions on the content that is taking up the main section of the screen. For example, when you’re browsing the Web, the right menu and an additional left menu bar that appears both let you scroll up and down the page with your thumb as you hold the device. We love the scrollbar concept, because it allows you to look at Web content without peering through the cracks in your fingers and, even better is that it prevents you from accidentally tapping a link while you’re trying to scroll.

When it comes to apps, the WeTab offers a slew of choices. According to Stephan Odoerfer, the Chief Technical Officier of 4tiitoo — the company behind WeTab, the company is working with Intel to get the AppUp store on the device. In addition, WeTab’s Meta-Store has its own marketplace and it also is able to run Adobe Air apps and Android apps via an emulator.

Want to hack this thing? No problem. WeTab gives you total control over your device. A “root” button on the pin board opens up a linux command prompt where the user has complete administrative access to the device’s file system.

The WeTab also packs of plenty of power under the hood as it uses an Intel Atom N450 CPU, not one of the lower-powered Atom Z500 series parts that have performed poorly in a number of other devices. Odoerfer told us he expects the device to last 5 to 6 hours on a charge.

The WeTab also boots and resumes from sleep with incredible speed. Odoerfer told us that it resumes in a second and goes from power-off to the Web in around 16 seconds. The video below shows just how quickly it starts.

Other specs include 1GB of RAM, 16 to 32GB of internal storage, both front and back-facing webcams, 802.11n Wi-Fi, optional 3G, card reader, 2 USB ports, audio jacks, and a docking port. An optional docking station will provide additional USB ports and charging.

We’re hoping this unique and exciting product makes it to North America. As of next week, it’s going on sale in many major German outlets with a starting price of 449 Euros for the Wi-Fi, 16GB version. The price of flying to Germany just to buy one varies based on your home location.

Check out the hands-on video and images below for a closer look at the WeTab.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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