on March 8, 2011
So after I spent a couple of days exploring my new Viewsonic G tablet, I felt like I had to write a review and let everybody know how cool this device is:
I did my homework and researched the G tablet thoroughly before I decided to buy one. I read tons of reviews on various websites before I finally decided to go for it (over an iPad) for the following reasons:
2. Super fast Hardware (Tegra2 processor)
3. USB Port
4. SD card slot for additional storage
5. No need for a sync software!
6. Access to the file system
7. Customizable desktop (live wallpaper, widgets, icons..etc)
8. The availability of custom firmwares (XDA-developers)
Note: I ended up NOT installing a custom firmware, I am pretty happy with the latest update from Viewsonic, which is a must have!!
The tablet was a horrible experience out of the box. No matter what I did, everything seemed to just crash!! Then I got the Update notification as soon as I connected my G Tablet to my home WiFi. After the download was done, the update installed and the device rebooted. I finally went through the setup process (create a new profile..etc) and Voila. Let me tell you, The update is pretty damn stable and seems to boost performance significantly.
The latest update from Viewsonic lets you choose between the crappy TapNTap interface and the standard Android 2.2 interface.
Flash: I got Flash working by simply downloading a Flash .apk (Android application) available on Viewsonic's website. YouTube never looked better!!
USB: I tested the USB port by connecting a thumb drive. The drive was recognized without problems. Got a decent data transfer rate (~3 Mbps). I also connected a physical USB keyboard. The G Tablet recognized it almost immediately.
SD card slot: I also tested the SD card slot with a 4 GB SD card. no problems there! I love copying media files over to my G Tablet by simply dragging them from my PC and dropping them on my G Tablet!! Good Bye iTunes!!
Bluetooth: I was able to pair my G Tablet with my Bluetooth headphones. Also, I was able to get Google Maps to connect to an old Bluetooth GPS receiver I had purchased a couple of years ago (you will need an app called BlueGPS for this).
WiFi: Connected to my home WiFi without issues.
Webcam: The built-in webcam is good enough, may not be the best but it's good enough for me (1.3 MP).
Screen: The touch screen is pretty responsive. Yes it does get fingerprints but that's the case with my iPhone too!! The viewing angles aren't the best on this device. They aren't as bad as other reviewers had described though. it only gets bad when you tilt the tablet away from you in landscape mode. I found a cool way to get a better viewing angle: turn the tablet up-side-down!! the desktop will not rotate though but apps will.
Media: Tested a few videos with different formats. The tablet couldn't play a VOB. AVI's and mpeg's played fine. Performance is amazing thanks to the Tegra2 processor. My favorite music library stored on the SD card got recognized just fine and imported into the device's music library.
Web browser: unmatched browsing experience with the stock browser. Pinching and double tapping work great for zooming in/out. I can't stress enough how easy the virtual keyboard is to use! And it has spelling suggestions too!
Apps: Out of the Box, the G Tablet doesn't support the Android market but it does offer an alternative which is Handango. I was able to find almost every app I wanted and for free: Google Maps, Pandora, file browser, weather channel, Skype...etc. To install the app, simply download the .apk to your G tablet and execute it.
Mail: I was able to setup my Hotmail account in less than a minute. The Contacts app lets you import all your Gmail contacts to your G Tablet. If you have a Hotmail account you can simply create a Gmail account, import you Hotmail contacts to Gmail (web) then import from Gmail to your G Tablet.
Battery: battery life is Excellent. I browse the Net while listening to Pandora radio (yes, multitasking!!! ) for hours.
In summary, I love my new G tablet. I highly recommend it. Wait until you have installed the latest update from Viewsonic before judging it!
Thank you Amazon for such an awesome product at such an awesome price! Got mine for $359.99 :)
Note: I have been updating this review as I come across new features.
I have flashed my G Tablet with a custom ROM: Vegan Gingerbread (Google it). The reason for this is to have full access to Android market. Note that the stock firmware works just fine so you don't really need to flash a custom ROM if you don't want to.
Also, I thought I'd share that there are currently at least two Honeycomb ROM's being developed by the XDA folks. They're still in alpha but fairly stable.
on December 16, 2010
After mulling over the Archos 101 back in October, and increasingly frustrated with their delays, I found this gem in my local SEARS. It has a Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset, which you will probably be hearing about increasingly in 2011. A really nice device overall, but it's not without its faults which I will summarize. First, the hardware....
- Tegra 2 chipset dual-core with 512MB RAM. Bleeding edge hardware, so much that the software has not caught up, yet (see more on that, below).
- MicroSD slot, which supports up to 32GB.
- A full USB port. You can hook up peripheral devices to it, such as a USB keyboard.
- Micro USB port (not proprietary) , for mounting to your PC. Forgot your cable and you're at a friends house? No worries, just use any micro USB and you are in.
- Front facing camera. It's not the best, but it works.
- The LCD. Yes, ironic given that this is packaged by a company known for its displays. The 1024x600 10 inch screen is essentially a netbook screen. It's actually not bad at all when looking at it straight on, but the viewing angles are not very good. This is critical if you were planning on using this as a gaming device where you'll be moving it around.
- h264 support is limited. This is confusing to some, as technically h264 works in certain configurations. 1080p "high profile" encoded videos do not work, whereas "main profile" does work. The bottom line here is that you might find issues with certain high-def videos that will be very choppy or flat out crash the device. My understanding is that this is a limitation of the Tegra 2 chipset itself.
The hardware is very impressive, overall. However, where this device loses a full point is the software that is supplied out-of-the-box. Although it's Android based, the stock launcher is replaced with a interface called "Tap N' Tap", which is actually a third party vendor. I don't particularly like the interface myself - it's slow, buggy with a tendency to "Force Close" very often, and the Marketplace that's been recently added is very different than the Android Marketplace you might be used to on your phone (and not in a good way). Overall, it's just plain bad.
If you are technically inclined or don't mind thinking outside the box, there are already several alternate firmware replacements for the device that can be found by Googling "Viewsonic G Tablet xda-developers". These mods can turn the device into something you are more familiar with, if you use an Android phone. But, keep in mind that these alterations are not supported by Viewsonic and you could void your warranty. So buyer beware.
The other major problem is that Android itself is not built for tablets, yet. But version 2.3 is about to be released, which could change things considerably in the next few months. Whether or not the GTablet eventually gets an official 2.3 release, or a more Android-looking interface that is fully supported by Viewsonic is anyone's guess at this point - so, just know what you are getting into.
12/21/10 EDIT: The next official firmware slated for release this week by VS should allow the user to bypass the Tap N' Tap homescreen, and use a more vanilla Android interface. This is a step in the right direction, imo.
04/17/11 EDIT: I've gotten some heat for the title of "Next Gen Hardware". Remember, this was written in December - that's an eternity in technology terms. The GPU is actually still up-to-date as of this writing, but Android devices with better screens are starting to show up (ie. the Xoom and soon the Transformer). So just keep in mind when this review was written....
04/23/11 EDIT: I'm hearing reports that these new Amazon GTablets MIGHT be arriving with the latest Viewsonic firmware - this firmware adds a lockscreen, Adobe Flash and French / Spanish languages and a few other things. You can tell if you have this new firmware if you go into Settings -- About Tablet and check the TapUI version -- "1.2" means the new firmware, and "1.1" means the old firmware.
If you have a "1.2" firmware, please be careful with mods on XDA (as of this writing) as they are generally built around the "1.1" firmware, only. Or, alternatively, you can try the few 1.2-based mods at Slatedroid (just Google "Slatedroid Gtablet 1.2" and you'll find them). You can downlevel your firmware from 1.2 to 1.1 - but there is a small chance that you could soft-brick your device, especially if you don't read directions carefully - there are specific steps to take. Just be careful, and have fun with your new tablet!
7/28/2011 EDIT: VS has recently stated that there will be no Honeycomb support for the GTAB. However, there are unofficial mods on both XDA and Slatedroid.com, if you are willing to risk it and void your warranty of course. And 1.2 based firmware has become much more common on XDA, since April. If you do plan to mod your GTAB, just be aware of the differences between these branches so you don't risk a soft-brick.
2/10/2012 EDIT: There is a new update (build 5699) for the Gtablet that's now live, but still Froyo-based. However, Viewsonic has now officially (and since this is now a week old I'm guessing there's no going back) moved to a 1.2 firmware base. Again, I would be wary of any older mods that are 1.1-based as you could soft-brick your tablet. But, given that this has been a known factor for almost a year now, hopefully most of the mods have taken this into consideration - best to read the mod's release notes to be certain.
Also, there is an unofficial ICS beta for the Gtablet, care of TeamDRH (teamdrh.com will get you to their site). As with any mod, use at your own risk but for a beta product I've found it to be fairly stable. Kudos to that team for their hard work!
on December 14, 2010
I own a G Tablet. I like my G Tablet. Let me tell you why no-one is raving about the G Tablet.
The electronics exceed the iPad at time of writing. The form factor is nothing to write home about. The viewing angles on the screen are sub-par, which is surprising given the device's provenance. The Tap n' Tap user interface is a disaster. I say again, a disaster. Slow, inelegant, and insufficient.
There is good news. First, the price is right. It can be had for as little as $380.00, a far cry from its competitors. Second, the user interface can be replaced. There are communities of individuals (XDA), who have very graciously put their hard work and talent into producing replacement ROMs for this device which override the existing software with something that is much closer to the standard Android OS and that interfaces correctly with the Android App Market. It is DIY, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-dig-into-it work to install a new ROM and get it running properly. Even then there will be charming bugs to fix. Expect this to become a minor hobby.
In conclusion, the G Tablet is a conditionally five-star device. It is inexpensive, the hardware is perfectly solid, and a technically minded individual who is willing to spend some time tinkering with it can turn it into a very useful tool.
If you are Viewsonic, or work for Viewsonic, or know somebody who's cousin might work at Viewsonic, then please tell them; ditch Tap n' Tap as soon as humanly possible.
on December 11, 2010
I purchased this unit in Dec 2010. Out of the box, the unit is horrible. The software that Viewsonic loads it with is slow, clunky, and really unusable. However, it is extremely simple to flash any number of Android roms on the device. This gives the device FULL Android functionality and, perhaps more importantly, speeds the device up far beyond other tablets. I highly encourage potential buyers to search the internet for videos showing the device running other roms (there are also videos explaining exactly how to load the roms on the device).
The only other downside to this unit is the screen. When viewed straight-on it looks fine, however if viewed at an angle it does not. But for about $200 less than a comparable iPad you'll still have a device that runs blazingly fast, has Android market access, and the power of Android...if you take the time to load a rom on it.
on March 21, 2011
UPDATE (4/18/11): Just a few cleanups after owning gTablet for more than a month now. I actually returned it to buy it again. I gave it 5 stars at the $390 I paid for it. If I could give it 6 now that I replaced it at $299, I definitely would. It really does blow my mind what you can get for $299 versus the competitors at $599. The competition may very well be better (XOOM, iPad 2, Galaxy Tab 10) but there's no chance it's $300 worth of better. I also upgraded to TnTLite 4.4.0 ROM and it's a tad slower (but still really quick) than 4.2.0 but much more complete and way more stable. This is an incredible deal.
I also decided to elaborate on the screen issues since it seems to be a big deal to a lot of people. It's not as good as an iPad screen, which means you can't view it every which way. It's absolutely fine most of the time. The biggest issue you'll run into is with dark screens (likely from video content). This is where the viewing angle becomes most evident. Again it's fine with what I call natural angles but any odd angle and you'll lose the picture. Having said that, I can't for the life of me figure out why so many people are bothered by it. The only time I notice it is when I'm trying to view the tablet when someone else is using it and when the tablet's on the nightstand charging. Neither of which seems like a make or break limitation but to each their own I guess.
ORIGINAL REVIEW: About two weeks into the purchase, I love my GTab. So much that I kept it over a Refurbished iPad 1 I got on clearance for nearly the same price.
If you're reading this review, chances are you're a lot like me. You realize a tablet's not an essential purchase but you want one anyway as a nice to have. You're thinking about jumping into the tablet market, perhaps ready to finally get an iPad/iPad2 but you're looking for possible (cheaper) alternatives. You like the reviews you've seen so far on the GTab, but you're exceedingly anxious as to whether you have the tech credentials (or even the patience) to Flash a new ROM.
My advice. Do it. The GTab represents a tablet computer. The iPad is an iPad. While this doesn't have the finished product appeal of the iPad (thin form, slick finished edges, stable SW out of the box), it represents a much better addition to my device arsenal. I also own a 2Gen Kindle and an EEEPc Netbook for class (I know...) and if I wasn't so extremely picky about how I'm using each device, GTab could really replace both.
I tinkered with the GTab a bit out of the box as I was curious to see just how terrible the stock ROM was. While I didn't think it was terrible (I think I had a more up to date version than some of the earlier reviewers), it was a "Force Close" field day. Lots of applications and processes failed, which is not something you expect to see with a brand new product. So I went online for the directions to flash a new ROM and within about an hour I had TNT Lite flashed on it. There are really good, step-by-step directions on how to do it out there!
Having flashed the new ROM, I immediately started to realize it outdid the iPad 1. This thing is FAST. Really fast. It snaps from app to app in a heartbeat. It often feels faster than my i7 desktop without a full Win7 OS slowing it down. Ports! SD Mini and USB! You can upload and download files without a computer, attach a peripheral, etc. File Management Apps that let you handle files like you do on your PC.
Android Market lets you get Apps that seem more flexible than Apple apps (like live wallpaper, widgets, file management, internet browser, etc) then lets you set those as the defaults! You never have to look at the stock internet browser or video player again if you don't like them (but I do).
ADOBE FLASH! You'll miss it more than you think you will. Nothing beats opening up pages like CNN.com and ESPN.com and having video content start up. It's amazing how many Apps you don't need when the browser supports the entire internet. I went through my iPhone to see which apps I should check the Android market for and I realized I didn't need many of them as a weblink on the home screen was the best option when working with a 10inch tablet.
I could go on all day but I won't. In summary, I think the GTab is a great tablet paired with TNT Lite ROM but you've got to be prepared to tinker a bit. TNT Lite helps a ton but the open development environment will mean you can still crash it occasionally if you get carried away (which is easy to do because there's so much to explore out there!). I don't consider myself terribly computer savvy (although definitely a gadget whore) and I was able to figure it out.
+ Everything you love generally about tablet computing. Portable, convenient, and great for casual/mobile computer use
+ Cost! Great value considering the HW package and the price seems to be dropping even more
+ More flexible Android OS (More computer-like than phone-like)
+ Lighting fast operation (w/ TNT Lite 4.2.0 ROM). And I mean REALLY fast.
+ File Management Capability w/o syncing to a computer
+ Wide-screen Format
+ Customizable! I like how you can set it up to use it like you like to use it.
- Extremely glitchy out of the box
- Few custom cases and accessories available
- Lower Screen resolution (not viewing angle), but not that bad
- No location support, GPS or otherwise (this may be a ROM issue)
* Limited Screen Viewing Angles, but most natural use angles are fine (think Privacy Filter)
* No 3G option (if you're just SO important that you have to have it connected 24/7)
* Some multimedia content hurdles if you're locked into iTunes already (DRM on iTunes video content, etc)
* On screen keyboard works phenomenally in portrait orientation, not crazy about it in landscape
on April 16, 2011
I have owned this for 2 weeks now. I also own a Ipad 2 (wifi). Both have there pluses and minus. I find I only use the Gtablet. The Ipad just sits there or my wife is uses it. If I had to do it over I would have bought 2 gtablets. It would have cost the same as 1 IPAD.
I had read many reviews of the gtablet and alot talked about installing custom roms. I will say that is no longer necessary to have a great tablet. I played with one back in 2010 before the updates and found its interface was bad and it was sluggish. Since the system updates it performs great. Viewsonic allowed you to choose between there customer interface and a standard android interface. The custom interface is now responsive although useless. The standard android interface is great. Everything flows well there are not lags. They allowed youI have decided not to go with one of the custom roms (at least until a 3.0 version comes out.
1) Price. At 299 there is nothing that competes with it.
2) Touch Screen. Very responsive
3) Flash. It has flash. I believe the latest update officially added it to the build but it was available on the view sonic website or elsewhere and worked great. A lot of websites use flash and other programmable interfaces that do not work on the IPAD because Apple restricts it.
4) Battery life. I have have yet to run out of power. They claim 10 hours like the IPAD and the claim is true. It is hard to judge but I picked the machine up at 6PM and after some heavy web surfing and Alot of angry birds at midnight it had 40% power left. I never sat it down.
5) You can install apps from anywhere. All you need is the APK file. I have installed from Amazon, Handango and from other sites.
6) Microsoft Share access through the provided ES File Explorer. You can connect to Windows Shares and play music, movies or copy files there and back.
7) Micro SD card. For 60.00 my 16gb tablet now has 48gb.
8) USB drive access. You can plug in a thumb drive and access it. I have done it with Thumb drive and a multi card reader.
9) 1 USB and 1 Micro USB slot
10) Decent Wireless range
11) Access the tablet as a drive via usb cable.
1) Screen viewing angle from the bottom (long edge). Everyone complains about the viewing angle but it is actually fine from the sides or top. the bottom though is bad and you see this when you type with the tablet laying flat. Overall the screen is good though. It is generally not an issue as you look at it directly.
2) lack of access to the Android Market. Apparently Google does not want your money.
3) Lack of syncing software to outlook. Apparently Google and all the companies think we want our stuff in the clouds. I would never trust Google or any other company with all my contact information. I know to many people who have had it hacked and wiped out. Why would you want Google or any company to have that information. What will they do with it even if they tell you it is private.
Comparing GTablet to Ipad
1) Price. 299 vs 499. Winner Gtablet
2) Applications. You could probably remove 90% of the apps from the apple App store and no functionality or choice of products would be lost (yes there are that many pointless apps but when you remove all the uses ones from both Apple and Android Apple still has more apps available. This will change with time. Winner Apple.
3) Web site viewing (flash). Apple just does not work. There are enough websites that you cannot access that it makes it useless. That is one of the reasons there are so many apps because apple creates a app to control how you access a site. Winner Gtablet.
4) Itunes vs Direct Access. Lets face it iTunes is a virus and is the worst part of the apple experience. Itunes has to copy songs over you have no control over it yourself. To move documents or other files around you have to email them to yourself. It is just a bad interface between the tablet and your computer. The Gtablet shows up as a drive. You can copy music or any file over you want. The music player scans (and quickly i might add) for music to display in the list. Winner Gtablet.
5) Weight and form. The IPAD 2 is lighter although the Gtablet is easier to hold. The IPAD back is slick and curved which makes it hard to hold. A portfolio type case fixes this issue (not that stupid magnetic flippy thing they try to sell you for 39$). The gtablet is flat and it is easy to grip. The difference in weight is not that much but it is noticeable. Ipad 2 wins on weight. The Ipad 1 is equal in weight so the Gtablet beats the IPAD 1.
6) Ease of use. Pretty much a wash. The IPAD is designed for mindless apple zombies to be able to use (we will call them ilemmings). The android interface is also easy to use and customize. There really is no usability difference.
7) Onscreen keyboard. This is really a tie. Both work. Both lack arrow keys which make correcting mistakes difficult. You have to leave the keyboard and point at the line of text. The gtablet is fairly easy to reposition the cursor on the character you want. The Ipad is just pot luck (or at least for me). It is just impossible to put the cursor where you want it unless you use their Hold your figure and slide feature which is just a patch to a bad design. Both need arrow keys (at least forward and backard).
8) Accessories. Apple wins as many companies make aftermarket products for the IPAD. The Gtablet has very few but many can be used because you are not limitted to apples interfaces it uses standard interfaces.
9) Cameras. Both the Gtablet and IPAD 2 have web cams. Both are very lacking. If you need a good camera on your tablet you would need to get one of the more expensive Android tablets. I am not sure why Apple choose not to put the camera from the Iphone on the Ipad but both the front and rear facing cameras are low res webcams (like the itouch). This is a tie as niether are good but they are both functional.
Apples upgrade from IPAD 1 to 2 added nothing for the user. It added a better processor, lightened it and added a web cam. No functionality was added or flaws removed.
Overall I love the GTablet. You can do what you want with it where as the IPAD you can do what apple wants. For the price I would never consider buying an ipad again. The Gtablet wins hands down.
on February 28, 2011
I did mountains of research on android and windows tablets before buying the G-Tablet. In fact, I had resolved to wait for this Spring's deluge of awesomeness (and likely accompanied by equally jaw-dropping price tags) in the tablet market. The Xoom price and linkage to Verizon put me off, though.
I was still leery on the G-tablet after hearing everyone moaning about the viewing angles of the screen. I had the chance to see the G-Tablet at my local Office Depot, which happened to be offering it for the same price as most online retailers (379), and I found the screen to be not-so-bad. It does have very restrictive viewing angles, but in my opinion, this isn't always a bad thing (if I'm out in public, that means fewer people will be able to see what I'm doing!) In short, I ended up buying the G-tablet that day that I finally saw one in person.
I had read all the reviews saying that this tablet wasn't for the faint of heart, even with Viewsonic's firmware update. Well, I'm a bit of geek myself -- I can hack code, develop web sites, and I generally tinker with computers both with hardware and software, so I figured I had enough skills to root and install a custom ROM, though I had yet to do either on an android device. I'm familiar enough with the regular operations of android from my phone, so I dove in head first.
Thanks to the fellows over at xda developers, I had my G-tablet rooted, installed tntlite, sideloaded flash, got a full android market, and sideloaded angry birds within the first 24 hours (I would have had it all done inside of 4 hours, except I had to hunt down the latest version of the Angry Birds apk, which took me until the following day).
Once I did that, this tablet is absolutely amazing. I love it. I haven't put it aside for longer than a few hours at a time since I got it up and running TnTLite. It's as snappy as my Samsung Captivate phone and runs all of the same apps. The screen is big enough to view web pages in desktop form rather than mobile. GPS? I wish it had it, but it's no big deal for me. Battery life is incredible. I sit down with it first thing in the morning and use it heavily for at least 2-3 hours and the battery doesn't drain past 85%. Gmail works wonderfully as does Angry Birds (sideloaded because it will not show in the market for this device for me). I've installed several browsers, but I must say, the stock browser on tntlite is just fine. I've also run Dolphin HD and Opera mini without issues. I intend to load Mozilla's beta of Firefox sooner or later as well.
The bottom line is if you're a little on the tech-y side of things and willing to put a little work into it, this tablet is probably the best (hardware-wise) bang for your buck out there right now, no contract required. Not technically inclined? I'd pass, but that's just me.
on December 24, 2010
Viewsonic has recently updated (mine was updated yesterday 12-23-2010) the software and added functionality to their G-Tablet which now makes this little tablet computer a complete winner. If you are interested in a 10" tablet, get this one asap. I've played with all three major tablets, Ipad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Viewsonic. The Viewsonic competes or beats all three in almost every category. The biggest rap against the G-tab is probably the viewing angle on the screen. You pretty much have to be right in front of it to see the screen clearly. But overall you can go where you want to go and have a great internet experience with the G-Tablet.
I bought the Viewsonic Gtablet right around Thanksgiving because it had (or was supposed to have soon) everything I wanted in a tablet computer...that is, a tablet I could use like a PC. Back then the Viewsonic did not have the updates it has now, which is what makes this little tablet such a bargain. Waiting for Viewsonic to deliver proved to be a good move. While many people tweaked theirs to make it better, many others who are not as tech savvy returned theirs. This could have proved to be a mistake if demand now exceeds supply. My patience was rewarded with a great little device.
Is it perfect? No, but it just blows the doors off the competition re overall function (it's fast, has flash and a clean user interface with enough apps to keep me busy (yes, even Angry Birds) as apps are added) and price (you won't find a Galaxy Tab or Ipad for anything near $399.) Once people realize what a deal this tablet is compared to the Galaxy and the Ipad, they may be more difficult to find and purchase.
SUMMARY: Viewsonic stumbled badly in their rush to get this tablet to market, but they've made it right. And, updates will continue to be made which will make this tablet PC even better.
on April 22, 2011
I wanted a tablet device to use for browsing, photo display and reading of all of my news articles with the Pulse App, Tech News App etc. But most of all I wanted it for reading all of my Kindle Books. I wanted a low cost alternative to the iPad2 and the Xoom.
I was lucky ordering my Viewsonic g Tablet right on the day Amazon/Woot was offering them for $279. It arrived a few days later. I didn't know what to expect. I Opened the g Tablet and took it for a spin. All of the hardware was there as listed; usb, mini usb, 10.1 screen, accelerometer, blueblooth, wi-fi.
It arrived with the batteries fully discharged so I plugged it in and powered up. Start to Load took only about 20 seconds. At first glance the Tap-Tap interface wasn't bad but a few minutes later I realized what a mish-mosh of design by committee engineering it really was. Performance was tepid. The screen had a narrow available viewing surface. Really nothing to write home about. No Android Market. My mobile G2 phone did better. I gave Viewsonic an E for Effort and pressed on. Underneath the interface was the heart of Android 2.2. Once I was sure everything was in order I knew what I had to do.
On my home pc I navigated to the XDA website, found and read the install instructions and then downloaded stable releases of the ClockworkMod application and Vegan 5.1 (Android 2.2) in zip format.
I grabbed the g Tablet and its USB cable and plugged it into my PC. When the directory appeared I extraced the ClockWorkMod application to the Root directory of my g Table. I exracted/copied over the folder to a location off of the root folder. It came up with an update detected message and did an update. Moments later my g Table was rooted and the ClockWorkMod Installer was ready to go.
I reconnected the USB. I copied over the Vegan 5.1 zip file to another folder off of the root folder. I disconnected the usb cable and rebooted the g Tablet again.
On the installer menu I deleted the User Data and then the cache I then selected the zip file for Vegan off of the menu (Use the rocker volume switches) and we were off! The update took a few minutes. I don't know exactly. When I looked at the screen there was the Vegan Logo and then there was a typical Android 2.2 screen.
First off let me tell you in 30 minutes my g Tablet went from being a clunker to a screamer. Applications that were poking along popped up on the screen. Everything was snap, snap, snap! Wow! I finished the setup process with google. I then downloaded a couple hundred of my favorite apps and games from Android Market (already installed) and was promply rewarded. Angry Birds was awesome, Pulse newsreader looked amazing, Pandora was great.
Provided that one is willing to do a little extra effort and a little homework the payoff in performance and value was amazing. Clearly this was a case of a happy investment. I cannot recommend this course of action enough. By now Viewsonic has gotten word about what people are doing with their discarded inventory. And they have already issued an update. My warning is Don't do it or allow it! Their update is an effort to disable your ability to root your g Tablet. If you do then you will have to download another 'fix' from XDA that will basically roll the Tap-Tap to the previous edition so you can upgrade it.
Except for the Screens narrower range of view the g-table was now as good or better then the Motorola Xoom or Samsung Galaxy Tablets. Do take advantage of this great value. I cannot be happier with my purchase.
PS: One little nice extra tidbit of info. Android 3.0 Honeycomb is in the works to be available for this Tablet shortly with Vegan ....
Well its been over 6 months now. This tablet has been steady and reliable for the whole time. The only irksome item I've found is that the viewing angles tend to be a little limited to around a 90 degree field of vision instead of the usual 160 degree found on the iPad's or on the Samsung Galaxy.
on June 29, 2011
tl;dr: If you can get over the viewing angles like I have, and if you're even slightly tech-savvy or know someone who is, then this is by far the cheapest way to properly experience the joys of tablet computing for the first time.
My use case:
-Technophile college student (on a budget) with a desktop computer, looking for a more portable computing experience
-This was bought to essentially replace a recently sold laptop for watching videos, reading, note-taking, music-listening, and studying on the go.
-Half the price of the competition. I paid $319 here on Amazon about two months ago, and even then, this was the cheapest dual-core tablet, bar-none. This tablet is an absolute steal at the price it is today ($260)
-10.1" screen is an ideal and pleasant size. It won't fit in your pocket, but it's still half the size of my smallest textbook.
-Small enough that I take it with me to work and to class every day without a second thought, but large and powerful enough that I actually want to.
-Impressive battery life. I'm used to only getting 2-3 hours of active use out of a laptop, but the gtab can literally go all day with moderate usage.
-Full USB port!! This is a serious asset. Most ROMs have keyboard and mouse support, if that's your scene. Most other tablets don't have this, including the iPad 2.
-Multitouch, capacitive touchscreen. If we're comparing this to other cheap Android tablets, this is a very big deal. If we're comparing it to the iPad, note that the screen only recognizes up to two fingers touching it (this is normal for most devices these days, but the iPad supports three, four, and five-fingered gestures).
-Most, if not all, other tablets in this price range are smaller, single-core devices that don't have this tablet's kind of community behind them. Again, this tablet is a steal.
-There are MANY ROMs available; you mostly can't go wrong with any of them. My personal recommendation, after trying out Honeycomb, stock, VeganTab 7, etc etc, is CyanogenMod 7 *nightly*. Make sure that if you're using CyanogenMod or a CM7-based ROM (VeganTab 7, etc) that it's no older than *NIGHTLY BUILD 54*. Build 54 added partial hardware acceleration, which completely changes the quality of this tablet's computing experience. The Gtablet is called "harmony" on the CM7 site, named after its chipset.
-You absolutely must flash this tablet to a different ROM. This will stop some people from even considering this tablet, either for reasons of technical competency or the belief that these things should "just work out of the box."
-Poor screen viewing angle.
**There's no getting around it.
**The up/down viewing angle is the problem. It's especially bad if you're trying to use the tablet in portrait mode (i.e. as an overlarge e-reader).
**You will get jealous of the iPad's screen, and when you do, remember that you can buy three G-tablets for the price of one iPad 2 32GB.
**Do not expect to comfortably use this tablet on a flat surface. You won't be able to see the screen properly unless you're hunched over it.
-Lower screen resolution than most comparatively-sized tablets (Xoom, iPad 2, Galaxy Tab 10.1)
-IMPORTANT NOTE ON HARDWARE ACCELERATION: You gotta read the fine print - or search for it - when you're looking at ROMs. Froyo ROMs (any of the stock ROMs, Vegan 5.1, a few of Roebeet's 1.2 ROMs, etc) have full hardware acceleration, and (to reiterate) CyanogenMod 7 *NIGHTLY BUILD 54 AND ONWARD*, based on Gingerbread, has partial hardware acceleration. Any of these latter ROMs will play tablet-quality content (HD youtube videos, etc.) without stuttering, skipping, or freezing. Most of the Gingerbread and Honeycomb ROMs available have this problem.
-The bezels are asymmetrical! The top bezel is much thinner than the bottom one. This bothers me a lot in portrait mode.
-Can't charge on USB, so if your gtab dies while you're out (unlikely), you can't just borrow your friend's USB cable and keep going. You'll also need a different car charger from your phone, if you decide you need one.
-Poor support for video chatting on Android at the moment, so the front-facing camera goes unused for me. Once Google Talk for Android gets video calling, we'll be in business. Check out VTok in the meantime. This isn't an Android review, but you should know this before you get too excited about video chatting with your family on your shiny new tablet.
-Poor support for document editing and collaboration on Android at the moment. If anyone knows a good way to do this, let me know and I'll correct this review. This is one of the primary reasons why I invested in a tablet and a portable keyboard.
-Makes a great reading device, but don't expect to be able to use it outside during the day.
THE BOTTOM LINE
-For the current price, there's no question that you should buy this tablet if you're on a budget but still looking for something portable and powerful enough to be useful every day - especially if you managed to read through this giant review.
-On tablets in general: Most people don't understand what they're getting when they buy a tablet. The device will just be a toy that'll be left unused if you already have a good method of portable computing. However, if you're looking for more portability, a tablet just might fit that niche.