Saturday, October 8, 2011

HTC Flyer Review. Is this the best 7" tablet available?

HTC Flyer Lock Screen
The latest generation of tablets and phones have dual-core processors, typically running at 1Ghz. HTC's Flyer has a 1.5Ghz single-core Qualcomm processor. Now that its price has come down to Earth and you can get one for $299 this 7" tablet may well be the best performing tablet in it's price range. The Flyer isn't just an ordinary Android tablet. On top of the regular hardware features most tablets have, HTC has added their Scribe Technology™. You need their normally $79 Pen to take advantage of it, but the Pen can be had for $50 if you shop around.  The 1.5Ghz processor is also unusual, and suffers only to make the Flyer fly. Boot-up time is delightfully brief. Screen reaction is fluid, and apps open quickly.

Inside the box:
  • HTC Flyer
  • USB cable
  • AC Power adapter
  • Quick guide
  • Safety and regulatory guide
  • Call center card (hotline card)
  • Warranty card
  • 7-inch 1024x600 TFT capacitive touch screen.
  • 16GB internal memory, with microSD slot.
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz.
  • G-sensor, GPS/aGPS, digital compass, ambient light sensor.
  • Rear (5MP) and Front (1.3MP) cameras.
  • Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP for stereo headsets.
  • MHL port (HDMI-out) and DLNA capability.
  • SRS WOW HD™ surround sound over the dual speakers or headphones.
Dimensions: 7.6875 x 4.8125 x 0.5625 inches.  Weight: 14.7oz  (418g). A little lighter and narrower than the BlackBerry Playbook.
Music: Now Playing
Media Support: I was able to play WMV (540 x 360 ; 960 x 720), MP4 (1280 x 720), and AVI (640 x 480) video files with no problem or dropped frames.  I couldn't find any info on what the resolution limits are or what specific audio and video codec combinations play or won't play.  Among the audio files I could test and would play were WMA, WMA lossless, MP3, AAC, M4A, and WAV. FLAC files wouldn't open.  I had no problems with .JPG photos.
Multi-Page View
User Interface (UI): is typical HTC sense, and almost identical to the Sense UI you'll find on HTC Phones.  I have the HTC Evo 3D, and first boot-up of this Flyer tablet was deja vu.  Rumors are that there is a Honeycomb 3.* update in the works for the Flyer, but for now the UI is very phone-like. It WILL switch from portrait to landscape when the screen is rotated though.  Screen response is quick. A light touch is all that is needed to get a reaction from the screen.  Graphics flow smoothly.  Photos zoom in and out with no delay or sluggishness.   If you pull down the notifications bar at the top of the screen there is a tab for Quick Settings. It include check boxes for Auto Brightness, Auto Rotation, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a link to All Settings. Very handy. The bottom of the screen has a row of icons that stay there no matter which home page you are on. They can be swapped out for any app or shortcut or web bookmark. A hold of the Home button brings up your 10 most recently used apps to choose from.  A quick double-tap of the Home button (when on the 1st page) brings up an array of all the Home pages.  Tap any one to jump immediately there.  In landscape (horizontal) position the Home pages display in a 3D carousel view.  Nice effect.
Pen Tools
Share your Pen Scribble
Pen:  I ordered the Pen that goes with the Flyer from  Saved roughly $30 over (OK, under)BestBuy's asking price.  The first time you use the pen the tablet will bring up some quick lessons on how to use it. In use a tap on the pen on the screen takes a snapshot of what is displayed, then lets you draw over that image using any of several pens/pencils/brushes and colors. This capability alone makes the Flyer a very useful tool if you need to annotate a drawing or sign a document on the Flyer.  I'm a  design educator and students often email design sketches (as JPG images) to me. This feature will allow me to draw/comment on the images then "Share Via" them back to the student.  The pen is far more accurate for drawing than any capacitive stylus, but it doesn't work as a stylus.  It is only a drawing and high-lighting tool. Still a great feature that only THIS tablet has as far as I know.
Notices Drop-Down
Google News
Reader Widget
Rear Camera and Speaker Slots
Weather Widget
Conclusions:   This is a fantastic tablet (at $299).  Even with no Android 3.? update it is quickly becoming my most productive device.  I can print straight to my Canon WiFi printer from within any app where it makes sense to.  Anything on my screen can be captured then drawn on using the Pen. Essentially screen capture with annotation rolled into one. You could make a pictorial tutorial about any topic that can be displayed on the screen, complete with commentary and notes, then quickly post them all to email or Facebook or even send them via bluetooth to your PC or friend's phone/tablet.   Every other feature is first rate as well. Boot up time is incredibly fast. The cameras work better than most tablet cameras.  WiFi can be set to turn off when the screen times out, for a tremendous boost in battery duration. I get a giddy feeling when I hold this one. At $299 it is a steal.  You want one.  Go get it!


P.S.  If you enjoy my blog, please consider clicking on an Ad or two.   Thanks!


  1. Nice review. it seems this tablet very popular on android market. well, does it can installed windows media player to watch wmv videos?

  2. Nice sharp for the HTC tablet .
    but i more interested in is Galaxy Tab tablet .
    I've got one and i always convert DVD to Galaxy Tab for enjoy the DVD movies on the go.