HTC Flyer Review21
Dual-core processors are all the rage nowadays with tablets, but HTC decided to forgo using one with the Flyer, and instead, it’s graced with a single-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with 1GB of RAM. Honestly, it manages to get the job done with a decent amount of responsiveness with all functions – and it doesn’t have the lagginess in portrait that’s associated with what we’ve seen so far with Honeycomb tablets. Considering the elaborate 3D effects in play with its interface, the Flyer doesn’t particularly slow down with its operation, which is what you would want to see with something with a fast processor like this.
Refreshingly, we can seemingly overlook the HTC Flyer’s lack of Honeycomb from the onset mainly because the Taiwanese company again showcases why they’re probably the best in the business when it comes to customized software experiences. Employing the most up-to-date version of their popular Sense UI, which is running on top of Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread, we’re enthralled to be greeted with an experience that caters to the tablet form. Furthermore, the makeover has plenty of glitzy looking 3D visuals and transition effects to make you really wonder how it’s not bogging down the tablet one bit. Combining the fact that it’s compatible with HTCSense.com, that means you can still maintain certain aspects of the tablet all from the comfort of any internet connected computer.
Providing us a total of 7 available homescreens, our first impression of the new Sense UI is that it closely resembles Dell’s Stage UI – especially when HTC’s widgets completely encompass the size of a single homescreen. Showing off its graphics processing power, there are some neat looking 3D effects when you navigate between homescreens, and if you quickly flick it towards one direction, you get a snazzy looking carousel effect. As for the widgets, they’re actually identical to what we’ve seen with past Sense enabled devices at their core, but we truly adore the continued functionality they have to offer – all of which are accessed directly on the home-screen. Finally, you can still execute the usual pinch gesture while on the homescreen to jump into helicopter view, which allows you to view all the panels simultaneously and rearrange them to your liking.
notifications panel now offers access to some quick settings, mini-music player, and some of the most recently used apps. Additionally, HTC has taken the liberty of improving the lock screen as well since you can get things like the current weather conditions, plus the ability to jump into specific apps upon unlocking the tablet. Of course it’s super useful! And we truly admire how HTC is able to kick things up a notch to give users an engaging, yet tasteful experience. Combining those elements with its high-level of personalization, there is absolutely plenty of things to admire with this one, and at the same time, we’re eager to see how it’ll transcend with Honeycomb down the road.
Organizer and Messaging:
Nope, HTC didn’t stop just at the homescreen with the Flyer, but it retooled some of the core organizer apps to make the experience fitting for a tablet. With things like the Calendar app, it utilizes a familiar two-panel scheme in landscape that’s commonly employed by many tablets – and of course, it effectively works! Being Android and all, we’re greeted with the usual set of features with the calendar; like the ability to sync calendars.
Spreading the love to even more things, other core organizer apps also get their much-needed makeover to make them extremely useful – while sprinkling a dash of creativity. For example, the calculator now smashes together both the basic and advanced panels all on one screen. Likewise, the Clock app has one tremendous overhaul with its presentation since it carries along the desk clock, world clock, alarms, stopwatch, and timer.
Besides the cramped space of its on-screen landscape keyboard, we’re still satisfied with the overall messaging experience thanks to the always fantastic and ideal Sense keyboard. Literally, it’s near perfect solely due to the fact that it offers quick access to common numbers and symbols directly on the main layout. More than responsive in keeping up with our pace, we prefer using the portrait keyboard since its length is manageable with our thumbs – much like what we experience on any smartphone in landscape.
Strange as it may be, but we actually find the layout of HTC’sMail app more ideal than the one we find with Gmail – that’s because the Gmail experience is unchanged from what we see with smartphones. Not only does the HTC Mail widget offer us a small preview of our messages, but the actual app is laid out in the same two-panel layout that’s evident throughout most core apps. Naturally, the left panel displays our inbox, while the right one will load the selected email – thus, giving us that tablet-optimized experience.
The stylus for the tablet, which, unlike in other parts of the world, is sold separately by Best Buy, unlocks some additional functionality that’s not necessarily common with today’s modern tablets. The stylus doesn’t replace your finger when it comes to navigation or making selections, but rather, it’ll allow you to jot down notes or scribble on something important. At any time, you can tap the display with the stylus, which then takes a screenshot of whatever you’re doing on-screen and displays it within the Scribble app. In here, you can start “scribbling” and click the stylus icon in the bottom right corner of the display to change the scribe tool, color, and density of its mark. In addition, you can run the notes app that mimics the look and feel of an actual notepad. Of course, you can type things up using the on-screen keyboard, write or draw something with the stylus, and import additional content like photos, audio, and documents.
Now what makes the stylus different from your usual plastic one, is the fact that it can distinguish certain degrees of applied pressure – thus making your markings either light or dark. Moreover, holding the bottom button on the stylus allows you to highlight text, while the top one places it into erase mode. Without a doubt, not everyone will find it a necessity, but if you’re an artistic person or want some flexibility with note taking, then this is undeniably a solution that might appeal to you. On top of that, HTC has added Evernote integration, which allows you to seamlessly sync your notes with the cloud and have them accessible from every computer.