One of the most interesting 7-inch tablets of the moment is by far the HTC Flyer, a very powerful and extremely original gadget, at least on paper. We will analyze in the following the strongest, but also the weakest points of the Flyer tablet and we will also shortly compare it with its most important competitors. We’re not planning to offer a review for the Flyer though, but only to point out the things you should know about it if interested in HTc’s gadget.
The good parts:
- While the tablet appears heavy and bulky at first( we will detail this later), the HTC Flyer should be firstly judged as an extremely solid and sturdy gadget. Also, the materials from which the tablet is made are clearly of a very good quality level, which will ultimately make you surprisingly comfortable with the slate.
- The magic pen stylus, while it is not a make or break kind of feature, is one of those little details that might make you fall in love with the HTC Flyer. You can write on this tablet’s screen, as well as draw or retouch images, which should prove quite fun for artsy users.
- The connectivity options. The HTC Flyer 7-inch tablet comes with standard Wi-Fi compatibility, as well as 3G compatibility. While the 3G version is currently quite expensive, this is a feature you’ll find most useful when you’ll have to get online while traveling.
- The display is brilliant. For a 7-inch slate, the brightness, the colors and the image quality offered at a 1024×600 pixels resolution are almost unbelievable. The Flyer also does a great job outdoors, overcoming natural light with extreme ease and overall offers a superb, top of the notch screen.
- The internal storage. The HTC Flyer is available in two versions, with 16 and 32 GB of internal space, but the 7-inch slate also features a microSD slot that will help you increase storage space up to 64 GB.
- The battery life. Though I personally didn’t get the chance to test the HTC Flyer for myself, the guys at Engadget.com have made a pretty useful experiment. Therefore, the tablet was highly used for about 12 hours without many interruptions and the battery was still not completely ‘’exhausted’’ at the end of the day. This is not impressive, if you ask us, this is almost out of this world for a tablet these days.
The bad parts:
- The operating system. While many tablets have already abandoned Android 3.0 and have updated to Android 3.1, the HTC Flyer is powered by the 2.4 Gingerbread, which is, however you might look at it, disappointing for a tablet that demands respect. There were promises for a Honeycomb update, but these have so far proven nothing but words in vein.
- The product dimensions. While the HTC Flyer is surprisingly light, weighing only 420 grams, the tablet is bulkier and thicker than a lot of the 7-inch slates on the market today and even than some 10-inch tablets. The slate measures 13.2 mm in width, which is for example more than 4 mm wider than the 10-inch iPad 2. Also, the Flyer is considerably thicker and heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7-inch tablet, one of the most important players on Flyer’s market niche.
- The design, while being sturdy and solid, looks a bit tacky in some ways. The color scheme is very uninspired, the white plastic elements at the top and bottom being from a whole different picture than the grey aluminum shell and the black bezel around the screen. Plus, it is quite heavy and chunky for a device that should impress with its portability factor.
- The performance level offered is a bit disappointing, especially after seeing all those strong points. Therefore, the single-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor can’t compare with the dual-core chips used on many tablets today.
- The cameras. Unfortunately, while the HTC Flyer looks pretty decent on paper from this point of view, especially due to the 5 MP rear-facing camera, things are in reality mediocre at most. The photos taken with the respective camera are disappointing, to say the least, the quality being extremely bad even in perfect lighting conditions.
- The lack of apps. This is a common issue for big screen Android devices but It’s even bigger on this tablet. While HoneyComb versions at least get a better browser, email client and a bunch of other apps rethinked by Google for bigger screens, you can’t find them on the Flyer. As for third party apps, we all know how things go here and don’t forget that this device offers a quite rare resolution for Android devices: 1024 x 768 px. Thus chances for apps that would look well and function properly on it are even slimmer.
There has been much debate regarding the price tag of the HTC Flyer, with an almost general opinion that the device is a bit too expensive for what if offers. This is true in our opinion too, but we see ourselves forced to give some explanations regarding this matter.
While the Flyer is by far the most expensive 7-inch tablet on the market today, it is also extremely clear that this is a very capable device. The design, the display, the battery life, the connectivity and many other aspects recommend HTC’s slate as one of the best gadgets of today. For what it’s worth, the slate can easily be compared with most of the successful 10-inch tablets out there, apart from its functionality (because of the OS and the lack of suitable apps). Therefore, it is quite understandable why HTC has chosen to stick to a pretty high price tag.
To mention specifics and numbers, the Flyer is currently available at Amazon for 539.99 dollars( the 16 GB version with Wi-Fi) and for 675 bucks, for the 3G version with 32 GB of storage space. In comparison, you can buy the 16 GB Wi-Fi 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab for only 369.99 dollars on Amazon, but yes, that’s a completely different kind of tablet.
Because we have mentioned some of HTC Flyer’s competitors’ names, let’s further analyze the differences between the Flyer and other 7 inch tablets available on the market. We have said a couple of words about the price, as well as the product dimensions, two areas where the Flyer is pretty drawn back, at least in comparison with the Galaxy Tab.
In terms of technical specifications however, the Galaxy Tab is easily and clearly outclassed by the HTC Flyer tablet. The 1 GHz A8 Cortex processor, along with the 1 GB of RAM memory and the Android Froyo 2.2 make for a much slower configuration, while the display and the battery life are almost laughable when compared to those of the HTC Flyer.
The Blackberry Playbook tablet is another popular 7-inch tablet on the market today, but this is also considerably weaker than the Flyer. Available at 559.99 dollars on Amazon( the 32 GB version), the Playbook is better when talking about cameras and similar when it comes to performance level( it is equipped with a 1 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor). However, the TFT capacitive touchscreen with 600×1024 pixels resolution, as well as the design are inferior to those of the HTC Flyer. Furthermore, the Playbook is powered by the BlackBerry QNX Tablet OS, which is quite buggy and not very reliable.
Overall, the HTC Flyer is far from being a perfect or a flawless device. While it has numerous strong points and advantages, the number of weak points is considerable and can’t be ignored. However, at the end of the day, the HTC 7-inch tablet is a highly portable and reliable one, featuring one of the greatest displays on the market today and a very impressive battery.
The price is not the most competitive or the most affordable one and the operating system needs an update yesterday. All in all though, this is a slate that breaths professionalism, quality and elegance while being solid, decently equipped in terms of performance and reliable.