ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Review

Introduction and Design

ViewSonic is still trying to get some traction in the tablet space with their Android 2.2 Froyo powered ViewPad 7, but the manufacturer renowned for producing displays is pushing ahead with their latest creation – the ViewPad 10. Now this isn’t simply just a rehash of the ViewPad 7 with a larger display, oh no, but rather, it’s able to differentiate itself from most things out there since it’s dubbed as the “world’s first” dual-boot Windows 7 and Android tablet. Considering its plentiful productivity aspects, the $599 starting cost of the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 just might seem attractive enough to stand out with most things.

The package contains:

  • ViewSonic ViewPad 10
  • Wall Charger
  • Windows 7 Recovery DVD
  • Android Recovery DVD


Even though the ViewPad 7 was neither galvanizing or mundane in design, the ViewPad 10 is just one stale looking tablet. Honestly, it’s by no means slim (0.65” thick) in any way, especially when you factor in its netbook like components, but its monotonous and straightforward design approach doesn’t contribute in its cause in being original. Of course, the cheap black plastic and somewhat fake feeling aluminum rear cover supplements to its overall tasteless embodiment, but we’re not digging its sheer chunky size over other comparably sized Android tablets. Furthermore, its straight angled bezel doesn’t particularly sit too well in making it ergonomic – especially when we feel its sharp edges pressing against our palms as we hold it.

For a manufacturer known amongst the industry in expertly crafting wonderful looking monitors and displays, we’re rather dismayed in finding a low caliber one utilized by the ViewPad 10. Sizing up with a 10.1” LCD capacitive screen with LED backlighting, it’s more than plentiful in real estate, but its resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels blatantly uncovers its pixelated appearance. Horrifically, you easily lose focus of what’s on-screen since its ridiculously poor viewing angles distort colors when you slightly move it away from a 90 degree angle. Moreover, its overall color production is distinctively on the dull side – which makes you really wonder how ViewSonic is even able to accept its display as tolerable.

Strangely, the ViewPad 10 only employs a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera – which is mainly designated for video chat and self-portraits. Again, it makes you think hard and wonder why they decided to omit a rear one.

Rarely seen being used nowadays by most Android devices, it’s a breath of fresh air to see recessed physical buttons on the ViewPad 10 – which are placed towards the right edge. As much as we accept their tactile response, we’re completely at a loss of words when it comes down to the confusing button assignment in Android. First and foremost, the dedicated power button doesn’t turn off the display in Android when pressed, it only will ask if you want to reboot or turn off the tablet completely – and to make matters worse, there is no way to turn off the display whatsoever in Android. Secondly, the home button will only get you back to the homescreen if you execute a long press with it, while pressing on it quickly emulates the “back” function. And as for the back button itself, it acts as the menu button in Android. Confused yet? Well, we know we’re utterly perplexed with ViewSonic’s decision with its layout.

On the left side of the tablet, there are a ton of connectivity ports that sharpen its capacity – like 2 USB 2.0 ports, 3.5mm headset jack, microphone, mini VGA port, microSD card slot, and proprietary power jack.

Turning it over to its back, we find notches for its two speakers that are placed closely to the left edge, while vents placed in opposite areas around the bezel provide a sufficient dispersion of heat for the tablet. However, there is still a noticeable amount of heat emanating from the backside of the tablet after using it for 30 minutes.

Interface and Functionality:

For an Android tablet, the ViewPad 10’s Intel Pine Trail N455 1.66GHz processor and 2GB of DDR3 RAM makes for one speedy platform experience – especially when it’s packing a solid state hard drive (32GB in our case). In Android, the response is unbelievably quick and responsive, but it even manages to cold boot into Windows 7 in under a minute. Naturally, things are going smooth right now, but seeing that there aren’t that many pre-installed programs in Windows 7, its speed might diminish once you begin to eat up free space on the hard drive.

Instead of finding Android 2.2 Froyo, like what’s used with the ViewPad 7, we’re taken back to an outdated stock Android 1.6 experience – with zero optimizations. In fact, it simply looks as though they’ve ported the Android experience for smartphones onto the tablet, but didn’t bother to optimize it to take advantage of its tablet categorization. In making matters worse, it’s not graced with Google’s blessings, so there is no Android Market with the ViewPad 10. However, there is an “App Store” that boasts a few thousand apps – but don’t expect to see any high caliber ones on there.

Conversely, Windows 7 Professional is on board and it’s probably the sole thing that makes the ViewSonic 10 so useful over the competition. Navigating with the touchscreen is very easy and precise, but we’re glad to see that you’ve got the full bounty and productivity aspects of Windows 7 – albeit, it’s lacking actual productivity software like Office. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see that you literally have the power of a laptop in your hands.

Meanwhile, continuing to show off its untouched Android 1.6 experience, the stock keyboard is present and it’s basically stretched out in landscape. Although it’s more than responsive in keeping up with our speedy typing, we’re not that impressed with its layout. In Windows 7 though, you can instantly access the on-screen keyboard by clicking on a tab on the left side of the screen. Again, it’s not the most pleasant experience with its cramped layout, but we like how it illuminates the actual button we’re pressing, and its responsive nature. Additionally, you can opt to use the hand writing recognition service, but it basically impedes the overall input rate.

Email setup in Android is a breeze, of course, since it only requires your email address and password to set up. With some specific email clients, it’ll require some additional steps in properly getting your emails. Unfortunately, there is no preinstalled email software in Windows 7, but you can always download Windows Live Essentials 2011 to get your email fix.

Camera and Multimedia:

We’ve already pointed it out before, but the ViewPad 10’s 1.3-megapixel front facing camera is primarily going to be used for video chat and shooting self-portraits – and nothing more! When running the camera app in Android, we’re once again presented with an untouched interface as the viewfinder only takes a small portion of the display. Although we managed to snap a few shots of some scenery, you can forget about using it for taking any good-looking photos or videos. It's obvious that the cam is there only to enable video chat.

There’s nothing pretty with either the stock Android music player or Windows Media, but they’re more than functional in playing some tunes. Meanwhile, its two speakers in the rear are able to muster up some decent sounding tones, but luckily it doesn’t crackle at the loudest volume setting. However, it’s once again puzzling why ViewSonic decided to omit a volume rocker – which becomes more annoying when you have to go into the Android settings in order to modify volume.

After loading a video encoded in MPEG-4 1280 x 720 resolution in Android, we experienced some instances of pixelization and choppiness with its playback. Oppositely, the same video looks astoundingly better in Windows 7 seeing that we didn’t experience any hiccups in its movement. Still, its drab looking display doesn’t particularly enhance the overall experience.

With our unit, its 32GB solid state hard drive might seem insufficient for a Windows 7 tablet, but it’s remarkably copious for Android. Regardless, you can still supplement is capacity by adding microSD cards up to 32GB in size. Finally, you can pop in any USB flash drive to it, and in Android, it’ll recognize it like a microSD card.

Internet and Connectivity:

At first, we were somewhat surprised to see a wireless control that enables 3G connectivity in Android, but sadly, the control is only a guise – so there’s no cellular connection whatsoever. Regardless of that, data connectivity is established thanks to its 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi – which is capable of retaining a solid connection to an access point that’s placed 30 feet away.  In addition, GPS is available to get a precise location fix, while Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR allows us to connect peripherals to it – like Bluetooth keyboards. And since we find standard USB 2.0 ports and a mini VGA port, we’re able to convert to a mini computer setup quickly by adding a mouse and keyboard to it.

For a tablet, the web browsing experience isn’t all that spectacular in Android – especially when it’s riddled with choppy pinch zooming and lacks Flash support. Thankfully, it’s nothing detrimental to its overall performance, but it doesn’t come off as being satisfying to say the least. On the other hand, Internet Explorer takes advantage of the touchscreen, though it’s not quite as smooth in its operation versus the Android browser. Specifically, pinch zooming is painfully slow in resizing pages, but at least kinetic scrolling is fluid. In any event, you get that full-featured web browsing experience since Internet Explorer is fully equipped in handling even the most demanding users out there.


Walking around with a hefty 3,200 mAh Li-ion battery, which isn’t user replaceable, battery life on the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 is unflatteringly below expectations. Since we cannot manually turn off the display in Android, it’s often eating up previous juice – which translates to a measly 2 hours of normal usage while connected with Wi-Fi. Come to think about it, the battery life even fails to even meet the 4 hour or so average battery life of most netbooks on the market.

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Nowhere close to being in the forefront of the tablet space, the outdated and non-optimized Android experience with the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 is an appalling step backwards in the opposite direction that Google is taking their beloved platform. Though, it’s nice to see that you literally have the full advantage of a mobile laptop thanks to Windows 7 – even more when you’ve got various ports at your disposal to enhance the experience. However, the poor implementation of Android, plus the mediocre screen and insufficient battery life leave an overall bitter taste after using the tablet more extensively. It makes us think if the device wouldn't have been better off if designed solely as a Windows tablet, since we don't quite see the point in having such an inadequate Android experience. If you're intent on using the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 exclusively as a Windows device, then we presume it might fit the bill. But even then its other drawbacks prevent it from becoming a desirable product.

ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Video Review:


  • Two operating systems for greater flexibility
  • Plenty of connectivity ports


  • Outdated Android experience
  • Terrible battery life
  • Confusing button layout

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User Rating:

2 Reviews

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