HTC Flyer review: First Look

Is the first tablet from HTC just an overgrown smartphone or a business user's dream? We think it could be the latter.

HTC has often answered the prayers of consumers wanting a strong smartphone alternative to Apple's iPhone but that wasn't enough for the Taiwanese company.

With the announcement this week at Mobile World Congress 2011 (MWC) of its first tablet, the HTC Flyer, the manufacturer wants to compete against the market dominating iPad as well.

HTC has opted for the smaller form factor of a seven inch tablet for the Flyer. Although many prefer a bigger screen, we did like how it comfortably fitted in one hand, making it easier to use with your free hand.

It weighs just 420g, which HTC chief executive Peter Chou pointed out was lighter than the average paperback book. Carrying and using the tablet for long periods of time should therefore still be comfortable.

We weren't so sure about the colouring of the Flyer. Although the aluminium and white plastic styling is distinctive, we missed the sleek black designs of its rivals and thought it made it look a bit cheap and tacky rather than high-end.

However, it is what's inside that counts. The Flyer uses a customised version of Android 2.4 incorporating HTC's Sense user interface. We were surprised HTC hadn't opted for Android 3.0, which was designed specifically with tablets in mind, instead going for a familiar smartphone version. It did seem easy to use, however, and featured all the little bonuses that come on HTC Android phones such as seven home screens and the clock/weather application.

The Flyer comes equipped with a speedy 1.5GHz processor, beating many of its competitors on paper by some distance, but it only comes in one model a 32GB Wi-Fi-only design. We expect a 3G version would come in the future if the WiFi-only version proves popular, but for now we were disappointed not to have the choice.

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