This is no longer the case with the HTC Flyer as this is, in fact, their first Android tablet. However, with HTC’s new tablet, they are in fact starting over and creating a new blueprint and standard for future Android tablets – one that does not use a Tegra 2 CPU as it instead pack a 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor. Since it also uses Android 2.3 Gingerbread, an OS that is specifically designed for smartphones, it is not limited to Google’s tablet-specific Honeycomb OS which is why almost every aspect and feel of a typical Android tablet has changed.
Regarding the physical design of the tablet, HTC opted for a little of the iPad look and giving it a curved aluminum back. Its elegant look makes it quite appealing. The only problem with its design is that it has a narrow bezel that makes it quite difficult to hold securely without getting your thumbs over the screen. However, this is not the case when the tablet is in landscape orientation as the bezels are wide enough to accommodate your thumbs.
Weighing in at 420g, the HTC Flyer is significantly lighter than the iPad 2 and Motorola’s Xoom. Due to its lighter weight, it only comes with a 7-inch screen. However, it boasts a pixel density at 170ppi giving it a 1024 x 600 resolution on a 7-inch screen. Even if it does not possess the sharpest of screens, the graphics is crisp and bright enough and its touch panel is extremely responsive. It is great for watching movies and it is a little less obtrusive when brought out in public.
One of the good things about the HTC Flyer is its ability to capture drawing and doodling thanks to its digital pen – an optional extra at $80. The reason as to why they made this optional is perhaps they are aware that not everybody is keen on doodling on a capacitive multi-touch screen.
The multimedia capability of the Flyer is nothing impressive. Its internal speakers works well, but when compared to the iPad’s single speaker, the latter sounds considerably better. However, if you plug in some headphones, you will notice the addition of an SRS sound enhancement that creates a vibrant stereo output.
The Flyer is also equipped with two cameras. The 5-megapixel rear-facing camera is equipped with an autofocus and is able to capture decent photos. It is also capable of recording videos at 720p. Sadly, the unit does not come with an HDMI-out cable in the box. One thing noticeably lacking with the rear-facing camera though is a flash, making shooting at low light conditions out of the question. The 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, on the other hand, is great and perfect for video chats.
Overall, the HTC Flyer is quite impressive even if it does not sport a dual-core processor. It seems that the extra CPU cycles have made up for this deficit. Nevertheless, the unit delivers solidly and provides an excellent web-browsing experience.