Today I got a look at ViewSonic’s ViewPad 7, just announced this week at IFA in Berlin not on the heels of the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s coming out party. The two have plenty in common — Android 2.2, Google Certification, 7-inch displays — but key differences as well (like the processor).
The first thing that struck me about the ViewPad 7 is its physical resemblance to the iPhone 4. The chrome band wrapped around the outside edge and the flat, glossy back definitely takes after the Apple aesthetic and makes holding the tablet a little less comfortable than it could be. Once I started playing with the device, all of that ceased to matter.
Since the ViewPad 7 runs on a 600-MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 512MB of RAM, performance is quite snappy. Apps opened fast, video played smooth, and colors were pretty deep. The only drawback of the capacitive display was its resolution: 800 x 480 pixels. There’s no HDMI out port nor any way to output to a TV or monitor at the moment. Though the Galaxy Tab doesn’t have HDMI, there is a TV-Out cord, so the Tab has the advantage there.
ViewSonic plans to release the ViewPad 7 to European markets in October untethered to a carrier. Users will be able to slip a SIM card in and enjoy 3G connectivity plus telephony action for making voice and video calls with the front and rear-facing cameras. The U.S. version may be a little different.
Though the company didn’t disclose any firm plans, the goal is to release the ViewPad 7 in America, perhaps by the end of the year but maybe not until the beginning of 2011. It’ll cost no more than 399 Euro overseas, so the price here may be around $400 when it makes the jump.
We also caught a glimpse of another ViewSonic tablet before it was whisked away to a meeting: the ViewPad 100. This 10.1-inch beauty dual-booted Windows 7 Home Premium and Android 1.6. Though we’ve seen plenty of Windows 7 slates, I came away with a good first impression. There’s an Intel Atom N455 CPU inside instead of a Z series chip (first good move), and a capacitive display with 2-point multitouch. There’s also a 16GB SSD inside. Since neither the screen nor the processor hinders the Windows experience, the ViewPad 100 just might stand a chance.
Check out our hands-on video and gallery below and judge the ViewPad 7 for yourself: