updated 12:15 pm EST, Mon February 14, 2011
ViewPad takes tablet name, but with phone size
Although ViewSonic is better known for its monitors and televisions, the company brought several new tablets and smartphones to show off at Mobile World Congress. Electronista stopped by the company's booth to check out the v350 handset and the ViewPad 4, a device that seems closer in size to a smartphone but carries a name suggestive of a tablet.
Both products are not aimed directly at the mainstream Android market, but they each seem to fit a unique niche. The v350 features dual SIM slots for world travelers or business users who need to have two separate lines. The Android 2.2 interface has been tweaked to support the added functionality, allowing for easy switching between both SIMs.
Aside from the primary feature, the v350 offers a compact build with a fairly basic set of smartphone features. The device integrates a 3.5-inch touchscreen with 480x320 resolution, along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS components.
The ViewPad 4 steps up to a four-inch display and a larger housing, which we consider to fit squarely in the smartphone arena rather than the tablet market. The Android 2.3-based handset is powered by a 1GHz processor, while dual cameras support video calling and HDMI output enables connection to external displays.
We were more impressed with the v350, especially after hearing quite a bit of grumbling from MWC attendees who had to deal with locked handsets upon arrival in Barcelona. The device would eliminate the need to buy a second device or go through the unlocking process just to run a foreign SIM. The ViewPad 4 was not as spectacular, with a midrange feature set and an overall design that is not attractive.