While at IFA in Berlin a few days ago, we got to play with the upcoming ViewSonic ViewPad 7 Android tablet. The ViewPad 7 is about the same size as the Galaxy Tab Android tablet, but ViewSonic's offering looks like a giant iPhone 4. It has the same metal surround and front/rear gloss surfaces. The ViewPad's back panel is plastic rather than glass, and we noted a few scratches on the demo unit. Fit and finish are good and it looks like a good quality piece.
The ViewPad 7 runs Android OS 2.2 Froyo on a 600MHz CPU. Despite the relatively slow CPU, the ViewPad 7 didn't lag terribly. This is vanilla Android with no customizations to get between you and the Google experience. The tablet has a 7" LED backlit capacitive display that looked good and worked well. It has both 3G HSDPA and WiFi and will be sold unlocked. That means you can use any carrier's SIM card, but you won't get any carrier subsidy. The ViewPad 7 handles both voice calls and data. The version we look at is intended for Europe, and ViewSonic doesn't yet know if and when it will come to the US. The price will be no more than 399 Euros, and ViewSonic said their aim was to be affordable. However, we'd imagine the higher spec-d Samsung Galaxy Tab will retail for about the same price without contract extension. Not looking good, ViewSonic.
The tablet has an 800 x 480 display (same resolution as high end Android phones) and that's significantly less than the Galaxy Tab's 1024 x 600 resolution display. The ViewPad 7 has a rear 3 megapixel camera and a front-facing video calling camera. It has a microSD card slot that's easily accessible under a door on the unit's side, next to the SIM card slot.
The tablet also has WiFi and full access to the Android Market.
Here's our video from the show floor:
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview