My initial experience of the Viewsonic gtablet

I recently purchased a Viewsonic gtablet (or gtab) and I thought I’d dump some thoughts I had on it for future buyers. Firstly I’m based in South Africa so access to technology like this is, well, lacking. The only “tablet” officially available as of this post, is the Samsung Galaxy Tab (I say “tablet” because it’s more like a rather large phone). I picked up the gtab at a local online distributor and had it shipped as a grey import. The price I paid put it in at half the price of the Samsung tablet.

The specs for the gtab can be viewed on the Viewsonic Site, some of the things that stuck out were:

  • 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 – Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU – dual core is cool, ready for Honeycomb release of Android. The NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset is awesome, read up on it at NVidia (Angry Birds flies on this tablet, pardon the pun).
  • 8-10 hour battery life (confirmed), only need to charge this thing every few days.
  • USB Host, plug in your external drive and away you go, also, plug in a keyboard / mouse and it just works!
  • Unfortunately (or fortunately?) it comes with only Wireless and Bluetooth (no data or GPS) but, to be honest, I think I prefer it that way, plus you can tether your android phone to it and share it’s GPS and data connectivity (I use an app called Wireless Tether) if needed.

The gtab ships standard with a charger (US plug, luckily I had a converter), USB cable, some (very basic) instructions and a cloth, which doesn’t work so great, buy yourself a microfibre cloth if you’re anal about the screen or invest in a screen protector (I believe there are a few available), although the screen is pretty durable and a good wipe now and then is more than sufficient.

The first thing that struck me as I unboxed it was its wide format (10in x 6.5in) as opposed to the IPad (7.5in x 9.5in) which seemed strange at first but quickly grew on me. It’s designed to be a landscape device, controls at the top right corner. It’s also slightly thicker than the IPad giving the impression it’s significantly heavier (which it isn’t, weighing in at only .05 lbs more). For me the extra thickness gave it a better feeling when holding it and I could grip it better (forgive the porno connotations but maybe this site will get more hits now đŸ˜‰ ).

Out of the box it requires a 3-4hr charge to full before you can use it, prepare for the annoying wait. Also, the standard ROM is a dog. It’s slow and apps crashed continuously. I strongly suggest you redo the ROM on it straight after charging, I went with the  CyanogenMod using these instructions and I was up and running within an hour with a vastly improved experience. Remember to do the Market Fix as well to give you access to the Android Market. After that go crazy and install all your favorite apps, first thing I installed was Angry Birds, simply to see the performance, and it rocked.

There are, however, one or two things I had issues with that still need to be sorted out:

  • I cannot get the onboard speakers to work (headphones work great)
  • Battling to get all the supposed supported movie formats to work, not sure why but will give feedback once sorted.
  • Occasionally the tablet gets “jerky” but I suspect it’s all the rubbish I installed.

Other than that it’s a great device, I’m enjoying using it and would highly recommend it, especially for the price.

I’d be interested to know other peoples experiences with the gtab, and if you know how to fix the sound, please let me know…

3 Comments

Rick TonoliJanuary 25th, 2011 at 23:54

The speaker issue seems to be resolved if you plug in a headphone and then unplug it. Obviously not a permanent solution but works in the interim until a fix is put in.

Rick TonoliJanuary 26th, 2011 at 16:02

CyanogenMod is a phone rom, so it comes with phone apps which are useless for this tablet (and wastes battery life polling). I followed this link: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=855812 to remove the apps (although, it didn’t work for me so I settled on removing the following apps: Mms, VoiceDialer, TelephonyProvider, then Phone manually, and in that order, using a root explorer, caused a Force Close Loop but a hard reset fixed it).

I might be imagining it but I see a marked improvement in performance now…

Rick TonoliApril 24th, 2011 at 13:45

Upgraded to CyanogenMod 7.0.0 (Official Release) which is essentially Gingerbread (Android 2.3) and now the device ROCKS, I highly recommend this upgrade, be aware that you’ll have to reinstall everything, but it’s well worth it.

Have a look here to start: http://forum.cyanogenmod.com/topic/20139-cyanogenmod-7-for-viewsonic-g-tablet-v700-10-april-2011/

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