We knew that ViewSonic was going to pull the covers off another 7-inch tablet at IFA 2011 and that it was going to be a budget device.
Markedly different from their slick ViewPad 7x, the 7e is fairly chunky, features a resistive display and runs Gingerbread, or Android 2.3.1 on the device we handled.
ViewSonic’s philosophy seems to be to offer devices in two tiers - premium Honeycomb and budget Gingerbread. Indeed, budget it is, expected to hit the shelves we were told for as little as £129.
To sweeten the deal, this isn’t just arriving as a stock Android device: you’ll get some core apps installed, including the likes of Angry Birds and the Kindle app, but you’ll also get the ViewScene 3D user interface that offers up a neat skin based on SPB Shell 3D.
On the device we played with there was, however, no sign of Android Market, or the run of core Android apps that come along with Google Certified devices. As such, we’d expect the experience of the 7e to be similar to many of the budget devices we’ve seen previously.
The move to 7 inches notionally makes it more pocketable, but the 7e isn’t the skinniest tablet we’ve seen, so it won’t just slip into your pocket like its more expensive brother the 7x.
In our quick play we found the display was responsive enough to our exploratory pokes, but it does lack the premium feel in the hand that you’ll find elsewhere.
Like many of these devices, without the complete run of Google apps, you’re left to either hack them on, or accept that it’s better suited as an affordable media player with the benefit of being able to add a run of different apps from third-party app stores.
It should be landing in time for Christmas.