Print 15 comment(s) - last by wordsworm.. on May 19 at 10:07 AM

HTC Flyer
Both devices sport a "Magic Pen" stylus

The reviews are in for yet another Android-based tablet, and -- like the Motorola Xoom and the LG G-Slate before it -- they aren't exactly glowing for the HTC Flyer.

We previewed the Flyer back in February. What stood out then -- the inclusion of a stylus -- is still the main differentiator on the 7-inch tablet, in addition to the fact that it eschews Android's tablet-optimized OS, the underwhelming "Honeycomb," for Gingerbread with HTC's Sense UI.

Compared to the similarly sized Samsung Galaxy Tab, SlashGear notes that the Flyer is heavier (14.82 oz.), but with good reason: The Flyer is "far sturdier" and "more expensive feeling" than the Tab.

Another interesting point: In addition to the lack of Honeycomb (which is said to be coming soon), the Flyer is powered by a single-core 1.5GHz processor (Qualcomm MSM8255). And the 3G radio on the device can only be used for data -- no phone calls.

On the topic of the stylus, SlashGear had this to say:

The Flyer’s pen is leagues away from the nasty plastic toothpicks of old-style resistive touchscreen devices. Its smooth nib glides nicely across the Gorilla Glass of the Flyer’s display, accurate and lag free. HTC took responsibility for adding digital pen functionality to Android, and they’ve done a solid job.

As for the stylus' integration, it's far from perfect:

While the Flyer uses a similar active digitizer to what you’d find in a Windows 7 tablet PC, it doesn’t feel as accurate. That usually means making your handwriting slightly larger, which is frustrating on a 7-inch display. Meanwhile, although HTC claim a couple hundred levels of pressure sensitivity, there’s little visible difference between the two extremes. There’s also no handwriting recognition, and you can’t handwrite emails or jot into text-entry boxes.


More frustrating, though, is the confusion between finger-touch and pen-touch. 99-percent of the interface is intended for finger control, but even if you’d prefer to use the Magic Pen, the Flyer won’t allow you – instead, it just takes a Scribble shot of the screen you’re looking at. When you’re actually in that screenshot, however, and you want to either paste it into Notes, share it or delete it, you can’t tap the buttons with the pen – instead you have to use your finger.

The battery life is "really, really impressive," according to Engadget, and the screen display is bright, vibrant, and sharp -- even when used outdoors.

Both reviews noted how bad the main 5-megapixel camera is, (the 1.3-megapixel front-facing one isn't any better), as well as the poor quality of the Flyer's stereo speakers.

Overall, "It is truly differentiated from the Android tablet pack with its robust aluminum construction, Magic Pen inclusion, and more responsive interface, and aside from a few imperfections and a general immaturity of tablet-specific software, it's as competently designed a tablet as we've yet seen," Engadget writes. 

SlashGear was a bit more critical: 

Yes, there are some frustrations: the camera is an embarrassment, the speakers underwhelming, and the single-core processor does give us a little pause for thought when we consider the sort of demanding apps likely to be coming down the pipeline for Android slates. 

Both reviews agree that price will be a key factor in the Flyer's success, and, as it stands (£600 in the UK for the 32GB, 3G-enabled iteration), is not working in the device's favor. Even the 16GB, WiFi-only version will run the same amount as the 32GB Apple iPad 2 (£480).

Still, there is a lot to like about the Flyer, and both reviews agree that there is a niche market for the device.

Meanwhile, for those looking for a a larger Android-based tablet from HTC, the wait may soon be over. The 10-inch HTC "Puccini" has leaked, and will support the Magic Pen functionality introduced on the Flyer, according to Android Community. It is also said to sport a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and LTE compatibility (for AT&T).

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RE: priced more than iPad in UK?
By lightfoot on 5/17/2011 12:33:32 PM , Rating: 3
If something is inferior to the iPad ...

That depends on your definition of "inferior."

The fact that it is not an Apple iDevice is a huge selling point in my book. And for any task that requires a stylus, the iPad can not be considered superior; it doesn't have one.

The smaller form factor (7" vs the iPad's 10") may also be a selling point for some people.

RE: priced more than iPad in UK?
By FaceMaster on 5/17/2011 2:55:17 PM , Rating: 5
I don't know about you, but people seem very keen to pounce on Apple when they produce a technically inferior product at a high price. I think the least that people can do is to praise them when they come out with something better and earlier than their rivals, and at a competitive price.

Can't say I'm fond of Apple but credit is due where it's... due.

RE: priced more than iPad in UK?
By sigmatau on 5/17/2011 6:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
I will say that their hardware is pretty good and beats many competitors. The software is where the suck begins. I will give my kingdom to not use iTunes and an army to be able to use a removable SD card. And the day they implement true multitasking will be nice. And when I can change the ring tone on my email notification on my iphone from a low tone to something louder would be great instead of me missing half of my emails and having to check the phone every 30m. And... meh, I don't have the time, I'll just right a book.

RE: priced more than iPad in UK?
By wordsworm on 5/18/2011 1:44:38 AM , Rating: 2
FaceMaster... we're just still angry at Apple for letting Bill Gates make Windows.

Jokes aside, despite having never owned an Apple product, I admire how much Jobs+Apple has done for technology. The anti-Apple crowd often does not acknowledge how much they have given to the world. Where people say they don't offer choice, I say they invented many choices. That is to say, they make their product first, and the imitators follow. Before that, there was nothing at all.

Sure, when it came to games, Wintel machines were great. But when it came to professional applications, they tanked. The only reason I never boarded the Apple wagon was price.

RE: priced more than iPad in UK?
By FaceMaster on 5/18/2011 10:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
That is to say, they make their product first, and the imitators follow. Before that, there was nothing at all.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that, but they DO make things which were previously 'uncool' and sub-standard (tablets, for example) and they use their brand image to make it look flashy and exciting. I just wish that I didn't have to use itunes, I just HATE things trying to tell me how to use them. Drag+drop freedom ftw!

Apple sets the ball rolling and others later build on their success by offering better specs and performance, and for that I commend them. Even if I haven't bought their products.

RE: priced more than iPad in UK?
By wordsworm on 5/18/2011 11:12:19 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about that. Even during the interregnum at Apple, they produced machines which were better in many ways that most people don't realize. A couple of things that stood out for me were colour fidelity: important for graphic design, and lag for digital recording. Recording music on a PC was a joke. It's gotten much better, now.

One example would be their iPhone. The phone market before and after the iPhone was really like black and white. I still use an old-school cell phone because I couldn't care less about the rest of the crap. I really don't want to be plugged in 24h/day. If I want to take a picture, I take out my Canon and take a picture (and yes, it's always by my side). If I want to surf the Internet, I go home and use my computer. If I want to read a book, I take out my Kindle and read. Each one of these things the iPhone cannot compete with. Yet, every phone coming out these days looks like an iPhone derivative. It's mind boggling.

A lot of people say that it's all about brand loyalty. But wasn't Apple on the brink of becoming another Commodore before the second coming of Jobs? If that loyalty was a reality, I don't think that would have ever happened. No, it's not just about loyalty. Apple has a visionary who is able to make things happen.

Personally, I hail Linus Trevolds' creation. I'll get an ePad when I can install Ubuntu on it. :P If only Adobe would create software for Linux, I wouldn't need Windows at all. :(

RE: priced more than iPad in UK?
By lightfoot on 5/18/2011 6:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
A lot of people say that it's all about brand loyalty. But wasn't Apple on the brink of becoming another Commodore before the second coming of Jobs? If that loyalty was a reality, I don't think that would have ever happened. No, it's not just about loyalty.

You have a valid point here. There is a reason Apple has loyal followers. Part of it is without a doubt the fact that they make some good products. Apple also has an incredible marketing team selling those products (or that "lifestyle.") Part of it also has to do with something a tad more sinister. The walled-garden that Apple has built creates a stable platform for their devices, but it also makes it incredibly difficult for an Apple user to get out. Once you've invested $100's or even $1,000's in music from the iTunes store, you are pretty much locked into using devices that can play that music. The iPod capitalized on that and Apple has since been forced to loosen the noose a tad, but that momentum has carried over to the iPhone and the iPad since.

Really, when you're shopping for a phone or a tablet are you going to buy the one that can play your music library or the one that can't? And when you make that decision, is it because you're a loyal follower, or because Apple has already made the decision for you?

RE: priced more than iPad in UK?
By wordsworm on 5/19/2011 10:07:01 AM , Rating: 2
I suppose that it's the walled garden approach that has always put me off of purchasing Apple products. I guess that's why I'm holding out for a good Linux/Ubuntu pad. :P

Perhaps a majority of people, or at least many of them, prefer to live in the walled garden, where it's safer. I much prefer Amazon's approach to digital music. Their customer service has always been amazing, and their selection is pretty decent also.

Anyways, it would be nice if we could appreciate Apple's many contributions to the world in terms of technology and stop all this retarded bickering.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
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