The Flyer carries design elements from both the Legend and the Desire smartphones. The aluminum unibody build hasan uncanny resemblance to the Legend, while the sim card access slot resembles part of the back panel of the Desire.
The slimness of the Flyer is along with the solid build, a real eye catcher- itisjust13.2mm thick. The 7-inch screen is flanked by 4 touchscreen- home, menu, return and stylus mode. The front facing camera is placed above the screen, if you look at it in the landscape mode. The sides are even slimmer than the entire thickness of the tablet, which makes the rear panel bulge a bit along the sides before it settles into a flat form. The camera on the rear panel is towards the top, and falls right in the middle of the slider that needs to be removed to access the sim card slot. We had a tough time opening this one, and were paralytically worried all this while that the panel might get damaged. The top panel has the 3.5mm audio jack, and the power button. The bottom panel has the proprietary USB port.
The biggest, and most unique feature on the HTC Flyer is the pen feature. The magic pen is also made from aluminum. It feels pretty much like a traditional pen, but relies on pressure and preci*sion for successful utilization. There are very few apps that can utilize the pen feature on their own. The Notes application isone that utilizes this to the fullest. You can scribble, mark or highlight text within the notes application. For any other apps, you will need to take a screenshot of the screen before the scribbling can begin. Touch the display with the pen, and press any button on the pen to take a snapshot. You may scribble now and save the pic, or save and scribble.
However, to work this successfully, the pressure you apply on the pen's tip needs to remain constant and uniform. Secondly, if the hand touches the screen before the tip of the pen, the on-screen keypad may show up, since the tablet may recognize that as an intent to use touch to type. It is a bit of a surprise to find a single-core processor, albeit a 1.5GHz one, in the day and age of dual core power. The limitation thrown up immediately is that th Flyer cannot play back lO80p HD videos. The lack of an HDMI out pOti also explains this. While the tablet isn't slow per se, but could have done with the extra grunt offered by a dual core processor. HTC could have easily used the dual core 1.2GHz processor they launched the Sensation smart*phone with, and made the Flyer more in tune with the times.
The 7-inch display is very good. Colours are reasonably vivid, but don't pop out uncomfortably. The black levels seen on this display are much better than what we saw on the Sensation smartphone. Sharpness is quite decent when browsing through the menu, but there is a distinct lack of it when watching videos. Legibility on sunlight is pretty okay, as long as the brightness is set to auto mode, or is set at 50% or above. The 5MP camera is, simply put, a bit of a disappointment. Still images are very noisy, irre*specti ve ofthe lighting conditions. Videos have a good colour depth, but the movements are jerky and not very smooth. Android 2.3,just like the single core processor, is something we do not understand the logic behind.
Despite the 'optimized for tab*lets' Android 3.0 OS available for deployment, HTC still decided to roll ou t the Flyer with Android 2.3. The simple reason behind this is that HTC didn't want to leave out the Sense UI. We aren't impressed. While the HTC Sense does well visually and with certain apps, it definitely isn't worthy enough to attempt at replacing the tnissing elements from Android 3.0. First off, you wont get the tablet display optiJnized versions of many apps. For example, no Gmail tablet app for you. Secondly; the FJ yer will be stuck with apps essentially made for smartphone displays. Some will not render properly, inevi*tably, causing more heartburn. Hopefully, HTC will become less possessive about the Sense UI, and upgrade the Flyer to Android 3.0 in the near future.
The HTC Flyer is a disappoiJlt*ment. No Android 3.0, single core processor in the age of dual core ones and no HDMI out. The price tag of ~ 40k magnifies the fact that the Flyer misses out on some crucial elements. You might be better off waiting for the Motorola Xoom. Or just get the Apple iPad 2, if you aren't hell bent on bu ying an Android tablet anyway.