Hands-On with ViewSonic’s 21.5”… Tablet?

ViewSonic might not be one of the major tech players on the market, but one thing you can say about them is that they never fail to throw some curveballs come tradeshow time. Computex 2012 was no different, with ViewSonic showing off what could legitimately be described as a 21.5” Android Ice Cream Sandwich tablet, called the Android Smart Display.

The 21.5” 1920 x 1080 HD display is anti-glare and multi-touch, and runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich. The 21.5” whatever-you-want-to-call-it stands on its own, and runs on a 1 GHz TI OMAP 4428 dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, with 1 GB of LPDDR2 RAM. Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth v2.1 support is also on board. There is a front-facing 1.2 MP HD camera, one HDMI port, three USB 2.0 ports, a micro SD slot supporting up to 32 GB of storage, and a headphone jack, as well. Audio comes from Supreme SRS Sound technology.

The Android Smart Display felt like a supersized tablet during use. ViewSonic has customized the ICS UI relatively little, offering up a pretty familiar Android experience. A few apps, like Angry Birds, were loaded up onto the Smart Display and looked crisp, with no distortion or bleeding of colors around the edges. The display is by no means top of the line, but it’s clear enough to please most. Touch response lagged a little at times, but hopefully that will hopefully be ironed out before release.

Right next to the Android Smart Display, ViewSonic had a similar device, called the Windows 8 Touch Display. At 22”, this is basically the same idea as the Android Smart Display, running Windows 8 instead of Android ICS, which made it feel more like an all-in-one touch-based computer. The displays are similar, but the Windows 8 Touch Display featured LED backlighting, as well. No HDMI ports on this one, and there are only two USB 2.o ports. Unfortunately, the Windows 8 Touch Display didn’t seem to have a camera. RGB input means you can probably use this as an extra monitor, too.

Windows 8 handled well as a touch platform – moving around windows and snapping them into place with your fingers felt intuitive. Touch response seemed to be faster on the Windows 8 Touch Display than on the Android Smart Display, with little to no lag.

The Android Smart Display is slated to cost $479, though there’s no word yet on when it will be available. No word on pricing or availability for the Windows 8 Touch Display.

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