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ViewSonic's E70 tablet puts ICS only $170 away

ViewSonic's ViewPad E70 gets you Ice Cream Sandwich for $170, but makes some sacrifices to do so.

The Viewsonic ViewPad E70 brings ICS to the masses. If you can deal with the low resolution. Corinne Schulze/CNET

LAS VEGAS--You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and apparently the same goes for bringing Ice Cream Sandwich to a sub-$200 tablet. At least for ViewSonic. The company's ViewPad E70 offers an ICS experience for less than $200, but made a few sacrifices to get there.

The E70 sports a 7-inch screen with a 800x480-pixel resolution. That's two-thirds fewer pixels than most 7-inch tablets, which usually house 1,280x800-pixel screens.

And you can definitely see the difference in quality. Text on the E70 looks "pixel-ly" with distracting aliasing visible around the edges of icons.

That's not to mention the narrow viewing angle that doesn't do the screen quality any favors. Also, ViewSonic went with a single-core 1GHz CPU as its brains and only includes 4GB of memory for storage.

Still, for the price you get front and back cameras, Mini-HDMI, Micro- and Mini-USB (for power), and a microSD card slot, which supports up to 32GB of expanded memory.

Look for the ViewPad late in the first quarter. While I commend the company for getting the tablet down to such a low price, after Asus' announcement that its Tegra 3-based, quad-core MeMo 370T is coming for $250, I'm starting to wonder if even $170 for the E70 is low enough.