With the introduction of Apple’s second-generation iPad, the tablet market grows ever bigger, with manufacturers vying for that valuable top spot. But what is it that makes one device stand out from another? HTC think that they have a valid contender for the current market leaders with their new Flyer slate.
On first appearance the Flyer looks good, it’s sleek and stylish, as Pocket-Lint report, it looks like a giant phone in the same way that the iPad looks like a Touch’s big brother. With a clean 7-inch display the 195.4 x 122 x 13.2mm tablet tips the scales at just 420g, which as It Pro mentioned, is less than the average paperback. Any external features are wiped clean with the Home, Menu and Back function buttons disappearing into the darkness of the screen.
Once flipped over you are introduced to the silver and white reverse, although US customers will experience a sinister black and red colour scheme. When held in the landscape position, the front-facing camera sits at the top which suggests that this is how HTC have envisaged it to be used. A nice touch is that in the landscape, the function buttons switch the bottom of the black bezel. Due to its shiny uncluttered design, it is only the HTC logo that gives you any indication as to which way to view your device.
Whilst checking out the looks you can notice the 5MP camera which lacks flash, also along the white top area you can see a slide off SIM card and microSD slot if the need comes to expand your storage from the 16GB or 32GB internal. Power switch, volume controls along with Micro-USB and standard 3.5mm jack port are the only other external features.
Comparing the 7-inch tablet to BlackBerry’s PlayBook and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, it’s easy to see how easy the Flyer is to handle. It’s not as in-your-face as saying an iPad 2 or Motorola Xoom and allows you to type with two thumbs rather than having to support it one-handed.
One of the downsides is that although with its 1.5GHz processor it manages to perform adequately, other tablets call in the services of dual-core and Honeycomb to boost their potential. Performance-wise you will notice the difference between the Flyer and say a Galaxy S II when opening up apps.
For those that like to watch films, the Flyer will entertain 4 hours of video playback, and through normal usage, you should see the day out before needing to recharge. Talking of movies, 3GP, 3G2, MPEG4, WMV, AVI (MP4 ASP and MP3), Xvid (MP4 ASP and MP3) are all covered with 720p playback available. A pair of stereo speakers adorn the rear of the slate and give impressive quality.
As an extra feature, the HTC Flyer comes with a Magic Pen/stylus which helps more direct input when noting something down quickly without using the keyboard. The only problem is that there is no home for the pen to live in, which could lead to a short stylus life once you have lost it down the back of the sofa a few times.
So where does that leave us with the HTC Flyer? Well as we mentioned earlier it’s just like a big phone without the call functions. It may be running the same phone type Android 2.3.3 without Honeycomb, but HTC reckon that they will be addressing this, and when they do it will be a big boost to the Flyer. Because of its HTC Sense inclusion, current users will find it a breeze to use, and with the Magic Pen addition, it gives a nice touch.
If you’re looking for a well designed, well built smart and stylish tablet that isn’t the size of Apple’s iPad 2, then you could do a lot worse than choosing the HTC Flyer. The big contender to the tablet throne? You tell us.
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