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First Look: ViewSonic ViewPad 7

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First Look: ViewSonic ViewPad 7

2:09 /

The ViewSonic ViewPad 7 delivers Android 2.2 in a powerful compact tablet, but its price and quirky keyboard disappoint.

Hey, I'm Donald Bell and this is the ViewSonic ViewPad 7. It's an Android Tablet, price around $450 with a 7-inch touchscreen. And for any of you looking for a more affordable contract-free alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, this is the best what you've seen so far. As far as cool features go with an android 2.2 tablet running on a screen that response just as well as the tab. It does a camera on the front and the back as well as ports for USB, a headphone jack. There's a little pinhole microphone built in here. And you also get a volume buttons at the top, speakers on each side and a little covered port here for the micro SD slot, and a SIM card. ViewSonic also throws in a case, headphones, USB cable, and a charging adapter. Now, for the disappointing stuff. First off, you need to know that you're gonna be bringing your own memory here. The onboard memory is just here for the system. So if you wanna load there on music, movies or videos, you need to buy one of these. Also, there's a pretty bad view angle here, which is something you wouldn't expect from ViewSonic. The biggest pain for me by far was the keyboard. You get a standard QWERTY layout, but it's missing some characters like an exclamation mark. You can swipe left or right to access more phone style keyboards, but I really don't understand why they're here and all that really needs is one good keyboard. The other odd thing here is that ViewSonic doesn't do much to disguise the fact that they're basically using a phone OS. The voice calling feature is right here in the dock, front and center, which seems a little weird considering that you need to provide your own SIM card just to get that feature to work. Unlike the Tab, which does some work to optimize e-mail and calendar apps to a larger screen, the ViewPad really just slaps Android 2.2 on here, without much fit-and-finish work to disguise it from just being a giant Smartphone. Overall, though the hardware is solid and it holds up well against the Galaxy Tab. ViewSonic can show the software some love and may turn out to be a great product, but for now, it's just not enough of a deal for me to recommend it. For cnet.com, I'm Donald Bell and that was a first look at the ViewSonic ViewPad 7.

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