What’s in the box?
- View Quest Slate 2
- USB to Mini USB Cable
- Leather Device Pouch
- 3 Pin UK Mains Charger
- 3.5mm Earphones
- CPU: Telechips 8902 720MHZ ARM11 DSP
- Operating System: Android 2.1
- Browser: Google Browser
- Internal Hard Disk: 2GB
- Internal Memory: 256MB DDR2 EPROM
- Expansion Slot: MicroSD
- Screen: 8.0 inch TFT Capacitive Touch Panel
- Camera: 1.3 megapixels (front facing)
- Resolution: 800×600
- Built-in speakers: 1W x 2 speakers
- Earphone Socket: 3.5mm
- HDMI Socket: 1080P
- USB: USB 2.0
- Battery: Rechargeable lithium battery 4500mAh
- Size: 210.5mm × 160.5mm × 14.7mm
- Weight: 0.572kg
- Voltage: DC 5V
- Working Temperature: -10℃ to +65℃
- Music Formats: MP3, WMA, APE, FLAC
- Video Formats: RMVB, AVI, MP4, 3GP, FLV, WMV, MOV
- Picture Formats: JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIEF
- Network access: WiFi
- Screen Clarity
- Mains Charger Type
- Charging Slot Location
- Lack of Flash Support
Where To Buy:
http://www.viewquest.co.uk/shop.php – £199.99
http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.211-8757.aspx – £199.99 (398 Clubcard Points)
The View Quest Slate 2 is the follow-up device to View Quest’s entry to the Android world with their budget Android 1.5 powered View Quest Slate 1 (named the View Quest Slate).
When View Quest asked me to review their Slate 2 I jumped at the chance in the hope to change my opinion on both the company and their Android devices having been a very disappointed owner of their initial Slate device.
I was impressed with the packaging that the device came in, a very bright pink box with lots of glossy images showing the capabilities of the device and its features. Inside the box was no different at all, very well packaged and not huge amount of wasted space though the green minded folk might have felt that there was no need for the cardboard insert underneath the device itself.
The first thing I noticed about the device itself was just how light it was considering its size. At 8 inches (1 inch bigger than the HTC Flyer) it weighed just 157 grams more.
Having just had it delivered I thought it best to throw it onto a full charge before using it and in doing so found the devices weak point. Sadly the device came with a 3 pin UK to single pin proprietary adapter and the location of the charging port was right at the very bottom of the device (if held upright). The charger and port seemed very flimsy and if I wobbled the charge pin around the device would stop charging. I must strongly point out though that the device I was given was a review unit so it’s very possible that it had some abuse on the charger port before I got my hands on it.
The top of the Slate 2 houses the two 1W speakers behind a mesh grill and sunken into the device.
The left hand side of the device is completely blank with no buttons or recesses.
The right hand side is home to the volume buttons which are two separate circular buttons approximately 1 cm apart from each other. Another interesting point to note about this side of the device is the break up of the silver trim into a black band which we can only assume is to suggest that the device (when held in landscape mode) is held with this side facing upwards.
The bottom of the device has (from left to right) microphone, microSD slot, HDMI port, miniUSB port, charging port , reset button (pin required) and the power button which is very like like the two volume buttons on the side except for the fact that it has LEDs to illuminate it when charging.
The back is bevelled and housed in aluminium with the logo printed on there and the housing for the internal antenna as shown below in black.
On the working side (front to the normal folk) the device has an approx 2 cm black border around the main screen, the front facing camera to the top right and the touch sensitive Home, Menu, Back and Search buttons at the bottom.
After a few hours on charge I powered up the device which now had a full charge and took around 47 seconds to boot to the Android Home screen.
Instantly I noticed a massive difference to the resolution and brightness in the new capacitive touch screen, it was such a relief to swipe instead of having to push the home screens around which I was used to on the Slate 1.
After setting up my WiFi and downloading some essential apps from the App Store (AndAppStore) I got to using the device and pushing it to its limits processor wise. I found that it multi tasked very well considering the processor was under 1GB. In the two or so hours that I pushed the device to its limits by launching multiple apps, taking photos, playing youtube videos and music I found that it never once froze nor did it struggle on swiping of home screens or launching the applications menu whilst all this was going on.
One of the parts I didn’t quite like was the fact that it decided to add strange custom borders around the app logos that mage it difficult for me to determine what was what just by the logos.
The front facing 1.3 camera is probably one of the best camera’s I have seen on a device of this nature in well lit areas. The photos taken are of similar quality to what I would expect from a 3MP camera however I should point out that it was quite grainy in lower lit areas.
A point to note for the future View Quest is considering adding an LED flash to the device which would make it so much better.
Having given the device to my wife to read some e-books on at work she was very impressed with it. Though not quite Kindle like (remember these are two completely different devices) the Slate 2 performed very well in sun lit areas and didn’t seem to pose any problems for reading. The only problem my wife found was that holding the Slate 2 upright caused some problems when she decided to rest it on a table for comfort as the power button which protrudes from the bottom often switched the device to stand by mode.
My next challenge to the device was to see how it would perform if I used my mobile handset as a WiFi tether point outdoors. This is where the Slate 2 surprised me most! Not only did it perform just as it did indoors on my home WiFi but it out performed the speed of my handset in rendering large web pages with multiple images.
My tests weren’t to end there though… my next stop was to see if I could watch a feature length film on it and nnot drain a fully charged battery. It passed with flying colours, infact I managed to get two full length movies watched with a full battery charge which again surprised me.
Recommendations for View Quest:
- Flash is a must
- Move the power button to the top of the device
- Change the charger and all other USB based ports to microUSB
I’ve now had the device for near on two weeks and lets just say that it’s taken a large amount of abuse from me in terms of usage.
Despite the flaws I listed above, the Slate 2 done exactly what I wanted it to do and in the areas I wanted / needed it to be done in.
View Quest have come a VERY long way since their initial devices and I for one am now a very happy user.