LAS VEGAS -- Viewsonic is trying to beat the Kindle Fire at its own game--while using Amazon's services. Available in March, the 7-inch ViewPad e70 costs just $169 but includes easy access to Amazon's Kindle, MP3 store, and App Store apps. The Ice Cream Sandwich slate also boasts features the Fire lacks, including HDMI out, a front-facing VGA camera and microSD for expandable storage. Not too shabby for something that's $30 less than its main competitor.
Is this deal too good to be true? Keep on reading to get our hands-on impressions from CES, and check out the video and gallery below.
The ViewPad e70 has a white plastic design with a textured pattern on the back. At this early stage, the tablet includes capacitive buttons underneath the display (in portrait mode) for Home, Menu and Back. However, Viewsonic may decide to strip them out because Ice Cream Sandwich includes software buttons. We wouldn't mind if they stayed.
You have two interface options on this slate: stock Android 4.0 or ViewScene 3D, a 3D overlay with a slick carousel aesthetic. When using the stock UI, icons looked almost too big on the low-res 800 x 480-pixel screen. That's one of the trade-offs you'll need to make to get such a low price. A single core 1-GHz ARM 8 processor powers the ViewPad e70, which comes with just 4GB of memory.
The ViewPad e70 doesn't look like a Kindle killer, but its does offer some things Amazon's tablet doesn't have for a lower price. Stay tuned for a full review.