ViewSonic Tablet Runs Windows and Android: Good Idea, Poor Execution

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As a holdover until Microsoft ships the tablet-friendly Windows 8, I like the idea of a Windows 7 tablet that also runs Android. Sure, Windows 7 doesn’t play nicely with touch screens, but it’s a great operating system for getting work done, and when you’re finished, you can switch to Android for leisure.

That’s what ViewSonic tries to accomplish with its ViewPad 10pro tablet. The 10-inch slab runs Windows 7, and also includes an Android emulator on the desktop, letting you run proper tablet apps without restarting the machine. (A previous ViewSonic tablet, the ViewPad 10, dual-booted Windows and Android, requiring a restart to switch between them.)

(MORE: Eight New Tablets and Ultrabooks You Should Know About)

It’s a neat idea in theory. But in practice, the ViewSonic 10pro only proves that some ideas are better left unrealized.

The version I tried, provided by ViewSonic for review, lists at $699 and includes a 1.5 GHz Intel Atom processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 32 GB solid state drive and Windows 7 Professional.

The Windows side of this tablet met my low expectations. Using the touch screen, Windows 7 doesn’t offer anything that could be better accomplished with a mouse and keyboard. There are no tablet-optimized apps, except for an optional user interface from Thinix that basically offers big button links to non-tablet apps and websites.

The software keyboard is sufficient, but a pre-loaded version of Swype—a keyboard that predicts words as you drag your fingers across the letters—doesn’t seem as accurate as the popular Android version. In general, Windows 7 responds to the touch with lag and choppiness that would make iPad and Android tablet users cringe.

Again, I expected all of this, figuring I would mostly rely on a USB mouse and keyboard to get work done on the Windows side. Using those input devices, the ViewPad 10pro becomes more like a netbook, handy for word processing and e-mail, but slow at gaming. At least I was able to watch the free version of Hulu without any problems.

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