Cool gifts for geeks, 2011: Computer, notebook and tablet tech treasures

Computers and notebooks and tablets, oh my!

Page 6 of 12

ViewPad 10pro Dual OS Tablet (32 GB), by ViewSonic

This may not be a smack-yourself-in-the-forehead innovation, but a tablet that runs both Windows 7 Pro and Android simultaneously (via BlueStacks) is a pretty clever idea. However, there are a few compromises here. First, the ViewSonic10pro weighs about two pounds, which, while amazing for a tablet that runs Windows, is still heavier than an iPad. The screen resolution is only 1,024 by 600, which, while fine for most Android tasks, is pretty skimpy for Windows. But expandability and flexibility are way better than most tablets, with a USB port, a mini HDMI port, a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a MicroSD slot, and a 32GB SSD (a 16GB version with W7 Home Premium is available for about $100 less).

In practice, though, a little experience is needed to get used to the UI. Flick scrolling works, but can be frustrating at times - it can take several attempts to hit what you're aiming at. The on-screen keyboard pops up at times when starting an application; this is strange. Fan noise is noticeable. And the 10pro doesn't feel as responsive as an iPad, but, to be fair, it is a lot more flexible.

The 10pro includes Thinix TabletBrowser, which is a set of tools that make it easier to do simple tasks, such as selecting a particular Web page or running a particular application, on a Windows-based tablet. It also makes configuration settings easier to access. Interestingly, Windows seems pretty responsive on the 10pro, so there probably won't be a big need for Android except to run specific Android apps.

The bottom line here is anyone looking for a Windows tablet with a few extra bells and whistles, possibly including Android, will find the 10pro an interesting option. The software needs a bit of work, and the screen is small, but, hey, if you want Windows on a tablet, you get it here.

Cool Yule rating: 4 stars
Price: $699.99 (Amazon)
Reviewed by C.J. Mathias

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