HTC Flyer review

Reviews 6 Jun, 2011

HTC's first Android tablet is not only smaller and lighter than the iPad 2, it can be used with a pressure-sensitive stylus too. The Flyer didn't soar high in Julian Prokaza's affections though - read on to find out why.

3
Price: 
£480
ex VAT
Verdict: 
The HTC Flyer is an interesting and largely successful attempt at a 7in Android tablet, but it needs Android 3.0 to unlock its potential. A better-suited operating system and a more responsive stylus won’t fix the bigger problem though - the Flyer really needs to cost less than the iPad 2, not more.

Anyone with an aversion to Apple has had a long wait for a serious iPad alternative, but new Android-powered tablets from a number of manufacturers look promising. That said, we weren’t overly impressed by the recently reviewed 10.1in Motorola Xoom , if only because it wasn't different enough from the iPad 2, unlike the unique 10.1in Asus Eee Pad Transformer. Like Asus and the Transformer, HTC has deployed a couple of new ideas in its first tablet, the Flyer.

There’s only so much that can be done with a tablet’s physical design and HTC has opted to go down the iPad route with the Flyer, complete with curved aluminium back. It’s not a bad looking device, but the white plastic caps at either end of the case do look and feel a little cheap. The top cap does come off to reveal the SIM card slot on 3G-equipped models.

At 13cm wide in portrait mode, the HTC Flyer is easy enough to grasp between the thumb and fingers of one (medium-size) hand, but the narrow bezel makes it tricky to hold securely in any other way without getting a thumb over the screen. This isn’t a problem in landscape mode though, thanks to a slightly wider bezel on the shorter two sides and curved case edges that afford some extra purchase; these also keep the screen lifted off a hard surface when the Flyer is placed face-down.

The HTC Flyer has an aluminium unibody design which will feel familiar to iPad fans.

A similar neat design touch is that the four touch-sensitive Android OS buttons that run along the bottom of the screen are duplicated on the left side — or the bottom, when the Flyer is in landscape orientation. The ‘other’ set is disabled according to which way the tablet is being held, too.

Specifications: 

Connectivity: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz; 3G 900/AWS/2100MHz (3G model only)

Display: 1,024 x 600 pixels, 7in

OS: Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread

Camera: five megapixels rear-facing, 1.3 megapixels forward-facing

GPS: assisted GPS

Processor: 1.5GHz single-core

RAM: 1GB

Bluetooth: 3.0

Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n

Storage: 32GB internal

Ports: microUSB

Slots: microSDHC card

Dimensions: 195 x 122 x 13 mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 420g

Battery: not disclosed

BENCHMARKS

Quadrant Standard 1952

SunSpider 2357

Battery life (H264) 16h30m

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