ViewSonic ViewPad 7x review
Most manufacturers choose to leave the Android 3 software front-end well alone: it’s easy to use, looks great and runs smoothly. ViewSonic, however, has revamped the software from the ground up for its pocket-sized ViewPad 7x.
You can tell it’s different from the moment you switch it on. You can still navigate between desktops by swiping your finger, but each desktop space has an outline that makes it look like a pane of frosted glass. The controls in the top corners have also disappeared: instead, a horizontal slider is wedged above the system bar at the bottom of the screen.
Grab or tap the slider, and it zooms out to give a 3D overview, allowing you to flick between desktops much more quickly than on a standard Honeycomb tablet. The ViewPad 7x also ups the standard Android 3 desktop count from five to seven and you can add up to a massive 15 desktop spaces.
Tap another button in the zoomed-out view and you can choose from a number of full-screen widgets to slot into your carousel of desktops. These take over all the space on any desktop, and there are four to choose from: a world clock panel, a weather panel, calendar and a Flickr photo panel.
The ViewSonic’s standard desktop spaces are also different. You can still drop shortcuts and widgets wherever you like, but with the ability to organise shortcuts into folders you can squeeze much more onto one screen.
ViewSonic has replaced the Android keyboard with one from specialist developer TouchPal, adding several alternative layouts. Finally, the horizontally scrolling Android 3 App Drawer has been supplanted by a vertically scrolling one.
Once you’ve finished exploring what the front-end has to offer, there’s also a selection of extra apps available, including a fully licensed version of DataViz Documents To Go (normally £10).