I’ve been spending some time with the HTC Flyer and I have to say it’s been an enjoyable experience. I think that HTC got a lot of things right here but I definitely see room for improvement.
- Android 2.3 OS(Gingerbread)
- 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
- 7-inch capacitive multi-touch screen with 1024 X 600 resolution
- 1 GB of RAM , 16 GB of internal storage (Up to 32 GB) and Micro SD memory card support
- 5 megapixel camera with auto focus on back side and front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera
- Battery capacity 4000 mAh; Standby time up to 14 hours; Video playback up to 4 hours
- Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
- Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
- 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
- micro USB 2.0
- Internal GPS antenna with navigation system
- GPS Sensors, Ambient light sensor, G-Sensor Digital compass, Accelerometer
And now we get to the cameras. I say this with a heavy heart, but the cameras on the Flyer are just plain bad. Even in high, soft light conditions the images I took with it were artifacted. The rear camera, a 5 megapixel sensor takes grainy images in even the best of conditions. The front facing 1.3 megapixel camera is a pretty standard video conferencing sensor but I really wish it had a higher light sensitivity and higher resolution. It works well enough when recording. Images aren’t overly jittery and I haven’t seen any image tearing but it just isn’t really very nice to look at. HTC really needs to step up their game on their cameras. It’s not a good thing to be known for having bad cameras.
The home screen is pretty standard aside from a neat spinning animation that it will do if you swipe to another pane very quickly. And the app tray is not anything big to write home about. The real stars here are the tablets custom software. HTC is really well known for its widgets, particularly its weather widgets and their animations, with sweeping and soaring visuals of clouds, pouring rain and warm suns. The sounds of these widgets are just as nice the visuals. I’ll be sure to embed video for your viewing pleasure. I mean I was actually excited that it was raining last night because it meant I got to see the thunder storm animations.
The other custom software to note here is the Notes app which is deeply integrated with Evernote. I am a huge proponent of Evernote, I use it on every device I own and it is a life-saver at work and school. Typing up something on the on-screen keyboard is snappy and responsive though I do wish this came stock with Swype, but that is easily remedied. You can even use the stylus (*sold separately) to draw up notes or designs and sync them to your Evernote account.
It’s worth noting that this will be the first device to have integration with the OnLive gaming service. We reviewed their set top box here. As it stands now you can only view other people playing games but it does give a good sense of what to expect. I really hope to see this once it’s fully functional. I’ll be sure to review it and let you guys know what I think!
The stylus is something that has surprised me quite a bit even though it was a primary motivator for buying this tablet. I should mention now that it is sold separately, for $80!!! When I first started hearing about this tablet all I ever saw was it and the stylus, almost everyone I read was under the impression that this was going to be a pack in. It’s what generated so much buzz around this thing. And they go and sell it on its own!? For $80!? All this being said, it is very much worth the price. The stylus feels nice and solid in the hand, its function buttons are clicky and responsive and it doesn’t feel the slightest bit cheap, which is good considering the price. It has, from what I can tell, 2 pressure levels which are nice when sketching something out. Using the stylus is fairly intuitive and there is a nice in-depth tutorial about how to use it and its companion software.
You can make a note on almost any screen on the device, the only thing I haven’t been able to do is draw over video. When you tap the screen with the stylus a screenshot is instantly taken and displayed. Tapping a capacitive button in the lower right of the bezel with the stylus brings up an on-screen menu for selecting different brush types ranging from paintbrush, to pen, to pencil and marker. You can set the thickness of your stroke, but oddly not the opacity as far as I have seen. You have a pretty basic color palette, which could definitely do with a Photoshop style color picker.
The sensitivity of this stylus is pretty great, but not quite like what you would find on say a Cintiq display. I rarely notice lag in my strokes after I make them and the lines follow very true to what I intend. You won’t be drawing your next web comic on here unless we get some good art software for it but it’s good enough to play with and make colorful, detailed designs.
The screen itself is a capacitive touch screen with a digitizer built on top for the stylus, this means that the stylus does not work in software that isn’t built to listen to the digitizer’s output. I hope that Autodesk will hook up with HTC to bring deep Flyer stylus integration to their Sketchbook software. That would really make this a killer tablet for artists and designers.
I really am happy with this stylus; it’s not frivolous at all and is a serious reason to consider this device.
This is a really snappy little device. With a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon processor and 1 GB of RAM, it’s pretty hard to slow this thing down. It never feels laggy or jittery, graphic intensive games like Dungeon Defenders load quickly and moving around inside the OS is comfortable. The stylus is very useful and functions mostly as you’d want it to. I don’t really have any unkind words for this little guy.
Highly polished UI
Around 7 hours of continuous battery life with constant use
Poor Audio Quality
No full-size USB port
Mediocre Camera quality