The Bottom Line
- Sturdy Aluminum Case Design
- Screen Handles Outdoor
- Smaller Size Makes It Easier To Hold And Carry
- Cameras Provides Lackluster Image Quality
- Expensive For Features
- Older Android 2.3 Operating System
- 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (Cortex A8) Processor
- 1GB Memory
- 16GB Storage
- 7-inch WVGA (1024x600) Multitouch Display
- Adreno 220 Graphics
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless, 3G Wireless, Bluetooth
- 5.0 Megapixel Back Camera And 1.3 Megapixel Front Camera
- mini-USB, 3.5mm Audio Jack
- 7.8" x 4.9" x .5" @ .9 lbs.
- Android 2.3
Guide Review - HTC Flyer 16GB 3G 7-inch Tablet Computer Review
Jun 7 2011 - HTC's Flyer tablet is a bridge device between traditional smartphones and the new tablets. The 7-inch screen size makes it more compact and easy to hold in one hand but it is still too large to compare with a smartphone. The device is also quite thick for a 7-inch tablet but it does offer a very solid feel thanks to its durable aluminum casing. In fact, this feels like one of the sturdiest tablets built to date.
Rather than using the latest Android 3.0 tablet software, the HTC Flyer uses the older Android 2.3 with a Sense UI layer on top. This means that the experience is much closer to HTC's Android based smartphones than the new generation of tablets. While this gives the platform a bit more stability compared to Android 3.0, it doesn't have all of the new user interface additions that make more sense to a tablet. This can either be seen as a benefit to those moving from an Android smartphone or a disability compared to the newer generation of tablets.
The 7-inch screen helps keep the overall size of the HTC Flyer smaller than most tablets that have elected to use a 10-inch screen. The downside is that the display has a lower 1024x600 resolution compared to most of the 10-inch tablets. This does make a bit of a difference in tasks such as browsing the web but the compactness actually allows the Flyer to feel much better as an e-reader held in one hand. The display does a very good job especially outdoors where many tablets have issues. The light sensor automatically adjust the brightness to compensate for the glare of the reflective glass. This is one of the best overall screens to be used in such conditions.
One of the biggest disappointments with the HTC Flyer is the cameras. In terms of the specs, it looks like it should do pretty well against other tablets as it has a a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 1.3 megapixel front camera. In actual usage, the images produced from them did poor in rendering color and often had blurry or poor brightness. It is capable of recording 720p high definition video but it suffers from the same problems as the still images.
Battery life with the HTC Flyer is highly variable. It packs enough juice to be used all day but some applications will quickly drain the battery life. This seems to include high definition video playback and the camera features. In video playback tests, it was able to handle roughly eight hours of playback which is still respectable considering its smaller size than the iPad 2 with its nearly ten hours of running time. It should easily be able to last a full day if the less demanding tasks are run.
A big irony of the HTC Flyer is the stylus of Magic Pen. First off, it isn't included with the tablet but is a very expensive $80 accessory. Most tablet specific stylus products are priced around $25 to $30. It may cost more as it uses the aluminum design of the Flyer. The problem is what it can or cannot do. Too much of the features rely on software support and there is little of that right now beyond what a standard capacity screen stylus can already accomplish for much less.