ViewSonic ViewPhone 4s and 4e pictures and hands-on
While ViewSonic's tablets at Mobile World Congress have been familiar fare (apart from the ViewPad E100), what did rather take Pocket-lint by surprise were the Android phones the company has shown off in Barcelona.
So far, the top-end ViewSonic ViewPhone 5e is yet to make an appearance but the ViewPhones 4s and more budget 4e have held their own nicely. Very much styled upon the Nokia Lumia look, the 4e comes in a choice of neon pink and luminous yellow, which get an added white stripe and backing on the 4s.
Both handsets are dual-SIM for those looking to divide their home/work or home/away mobile system even further, but it's the interestingly named ViewSonic ViewPhone 4s that's the more premium of the two with a screen rather like another 4S currently on the market.
While other Androids are getting larger and larger, the 4s comes with a modest and familiar 3.5-inch screen with a 960 x 640-pixel resolution at 326ppi, a 800:1 contract ratio and 500 cd/m2 brightness. Through that, you'll get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as topped by ViewSonic's ViewScape 3D UI, at the heart of which is a geometric that you can spin to bring the user a different page of widgets at every turn. You can add up to 16 different home screens if you want to and, although it does rather take over the look of the phone, it works pretty smoothly and could certainly offer a decent way of doing things after you've spent a few hours tweaking it to your needs.
The real treat, though, is that the touchscreen itself is nice and responsive. Even a brief flick and swipe will have you wondering where the catch lies for this handset with a £325 price tag. There's a 5-megapixel autofocus rear camera, VGA front camera and a rather nice flap at the bottom where you can slot your SIMs and your micro USB cable. All the same, it's probably best to ignore the current styling. It seems more likely that it will be the bottom access flap, as pictured with the 4e, that will be the way both of the phones open when they eventually make it to market.
The ViewSonic ViewPhone 4e itself is obviously a very similar creature but it doesn't take even a second to notice that the screen isn't up to the same standards. It's just as responsive to your fingers and thumbs but the pixel drop to a HVGA (somewhere in the region of 480 x 320) is very clear to see. There's a lined, grainy look to it that's rather reminiscent of the first budget Androids and that's something of a shame, given that the rest of the device is quite a treat.
It has a 650MHz processor, 3MP fixed-focus camera, runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and, although it looks great, even the enticing £260 ticket value might not feel like money well spent. More in the full ViewSonic ViewPhone 4e review when we have it.