Hands-On (Update: Video!) With The ViewSonic ViewPad 10: Double the OS, Double the Fun.

Today we had more hands-on time with ViewSonic’s other exciting new tablet, the ViewPad 10. That’s the dual Windows 7/Android slate I mentioned yesterday. For a Windows slate it has some pretty impressive specs. And just as with the ViewPad 7, ViewSonic avoids the mistakes that hindered other similar devices we’ve seen this past year. But is it awesome enough to compete with the iPad or Toshiba’s Folio 100?

First, the specs. As I mentioned, the ViewPad 10 sports an Intel Atom N455 CPU instead of a Z Series chip, and that makes a huge difference. There’s a 16GB SSD inside which also helps with performance. Plus, it runs Windows 7 Home Premium, so offers true touch functionality. The 2-point multitouch display is capacitive and I noted that it’s very responsive. I was even able to poke some small elements on the screen (such as Close buttons) with accuracy, and in Android I didn’t experience any annoying misreads — the device never mistook a tap for a swipe.

On the Android side ViewSonic has 1.6, not 2.2. Apparently this is because that’s the highest version Intel supports for their chips. An upgrade may be possible in the future. But since the ViewPad 10 has 2 USB ports and a microSD slot, it should be easy to add APKs yourself. There’s also MicroVGA output, a SIM card slot, and a headphone/mic combo port.

Though it shares some design sensibility with the ViewPad 7, the 10.1-inch model doesn’t keep the wide band all the way around the edge, instead dipping into a taper on one end, making it more comfortable to hold. It weighs 1.6kg but doesn’t feel very heavy — though of course it’s not as portable or pocket-ready as a 7-inch model. Just as with the iPad, consumers are more likely to use this when stationary where they can rest it in a lap or on a table.

Since it does run Windows 7 it won’t be hard to find compatible keyboards and even mice, if you’re inclined. There wasn’t much media to demo on the unit we saw, but considering its netbook-esque guts I suspect that video on the SSD will play smooth whether SD or HD. Full screen Hulu might have some hitching, though. Of course, if you’re really looking for the best media experience, a Tegra 2 tablet like the Toshiba Folio 100 may be a better bet. For a mix of multimedia and productivity, the ViewPad 10 looks to be a better choice on the surface. Especially for customers who want or need a tablet for business. Still, I’ll reserve judgment for when we get them in for review.

The ViewPad 10 is coming out soon in Europe, but the U.S. will have to wait a while (where have we heard this before… oh yeah, at every other booth with tablets). It sells for 549 Euros, so we hope that the price here won’t go too far above $500. Check out the gallery and hands-on video below for more tablet goodness.

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