Vizio tablet

Our favorite UPS man just dropped off the Vizio 8-inch tablet (don't call it VIA anymore) and we cracked the shrink-wrap to have a look.  It's 8 inches of well-made electronics, running Android 2.3.2, and priced under $300 it's something we have been itching to have a look at since it was announced last January right before CES.

First impressions?  It's different.  Very.  It has a beautiful screen, and it's well-designed, feeling good in your hands.  The edge has a gentle bevel, and with a full soft touch coating on the back it feels like you're holding something that should cost a lot more than $300.  The software is also a big change from what we're used to, with Vizio skipping the standard Android practice of having multiple homescreens and an applications drawer.  Instead, you have a user-customizable panel with all of your apps, and a "widget board" with your live content via widgets.  We'll give it a complete run down, in the meantime there's a quick walkthrough, a handful of pictures, and device specs after the break.

Video hands-on

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Specifications

  • 8-inch 1024×768 pixel resolution display
  • 1GHz Marvell Armada 600 processor
  • Android 2.3
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 4GB of storage
  • front facing VGA camera
  • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • microSD slot, micro-USB port
  • HDCP compliant micro-HDMI port
  • three stereo speakers
  • accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • 6.6×8.1×0.48 inches
  • weighs 1.2lbs
  • up to 11 hours battery life

Vizio Tablet   Vizio Tablet

Vizio Tablet   Vizio Tablet

Vizio Tablet   Vizio Tablet

Vizio Tablet   Vizio Tablet

Vizio Tablet

 
There are 50 comments

dcreed says:

Saw this at Costco last weekend but the Spousal Unit dragged me away before I could play with it much lest I buy one.

dskwerl says:

I do not miss having a Spousal Unit in the slightest. Now when I see a gadget I want to look at, I can do it without being made to feel like the most inconsiderate person alive for doing so.

dcreed says:

I'll just go back and play without the Spousal Unit around.

Getting it in the door unnoticed may take some unpackaging in the parking lot. "This? Oh, I've had this for ages, dear."

She still hasn't noticed that my Droid 3 isn't my old Droid 1, after all.

plunder says:

Sometime a disinterest in Technology works in your favour.

prodriguez32 says:

@dcreed
its like you were reading my mind :) -exactly what i say to my Spousal Unit as well...I have things that she thought i have had for years.

amojeba says:

Don't women do the same thing with new clothes?
Lie to their man and pretend they've had it for years

slayerpsp says:

Glad its not just me I do the same thing no dear Ive had this don't you remember.But she does let me get a new phone ever year so I give her that. Not that I wouldn't get one the phones look so much alike now Htc black slabs so she would never know if it was new or old

Suntan says:

In those instances, I usually just go home and play with the Spousal Unit instead.

-Suntan

hansgruber2 says:

Great Device only $189 as of 11/11/11

MthII says:

Lol, spousal unit...

aaronwe says:

Somehow I missed that this was running Gingerbread instead of Honeycomb. Sigh.

After playing with a Xoom for a couple of days, I'm convinced that 10" 16:9 tablets are too big (#TWSS) for comfortable thumb-typing, but all the 7-8" tablets are stuck blowing up Gingerbread.

Has Vizio said anything about future upgrades? I know they can't say anything official about Ice Cream Sandwich, but a wink and a nod in that direction would certainly nudge me closer to buying one of these now.

mjforte says:

Thumb Keyboard solves the thumb typing problem.

dskwerl says:

Swiftkey's Tablet keyboard has a really good landscape keyboard that fixes that, as well.

Wookie Claws says:

Swype on the Xoom solves that too... you can use a smaller keyboard so you aren't swiping accross the whole screen. I didn't enjoy typing much on my Xoom until I got swype on it.

Gekko says:

i might buy a tablet when the price equals or is lower than a Netbook price. i can't bring myself to spend $300+ for a tablet when i can get a full Windows 7 Netbook for $200. yes they are different devices. but - for me - a tablet is a tertiary device that i'm not sure i could fully use.

FireAndGlass says:

Where can you get a netbook for $200? and it's probably the slowest piece of crap too. Seriously, you say "full windows" but it's called "netbook" because they're so underpowered they can't do anything but browse the web, so might as well do that in a better, lighter form factor with all day battery life. If you want a keyboard too, get a bluetooth one or a Transformer.

hegemon13 says:

I bought a $200 netbook, and it's fine for everything I would use a portable device for. I'm running full Windows 7 (not Starter). Is it underpowered compared to my desktop? Sure, but so is a tablet.

The first poster was right, though. It's a very different device. If you want something primarily for media consumption, a tablet works great, probably better. On the other hand, I do a lot of writing, and the full keyboard is an absolute must-have for me. So, I can spend $200 on a device that will run OpenOffice and still do everything else I need a portable device to do. Or, I can spend $500 a device and keyboard that runs much more limited productivity suites. Hmm, I don't have to think about that for too long. Touch-screens are cool, but not $300 cool. I have my phone for instant Web and communication access. I don't need a bigger version of the same thing.

Impulses says:

$200 net books are rather worthless... Single core Atom, 3 cell batteries good for only like 3-5 hours, etc. Now, a $400 netbook, that is in many ways a lot more capable than any tablet. For that kinda money you can get a Brazos-class net book with a decent GPU for Flash content, 9 hour battery, etc. Still cheaper than many tablets.

I actually own an early gen netbook (first Aspire One), single core Atom, 5 hour battery life WITH a 6 cell battery (Atom's accompanying chipset was less efficient back then), etc. Paid $450 for it about two or three years ago, it's held up well after I swapped the 160GB HDD for a SSD. Until recently, I held the same opinion as you about tablets...

When Staples held that $100 off discount coupon on tablets I decided to splurge on the ASUS Transformer... At $300 it seemed reasonable, that's the same amount I paid for a 2nd Gen iPod touch a few years ago. The IPS screen on this is really something else, and with the keyboard dock it lasts longer on a charge than any laptop, while still costing the same as the better modern netbooks...

It's still less capable than my netbook in a few ways, by virtue of running a mobile OS (can't write code on it, or do video transcoding)... But when it come to daily tasks it beats the heck out of any netbook (and many laptops, if not most). Reading on the thing is a joy. That being said, were it not for the steep discount i'd still be waiting out the prices too.

Gekko says:

i have a $200 Acer Netbook i bought over 1.5 years at Walmart. it runs Windows 7, Full Office 2007 (Excel and Word), full Chrome Browser (of course) and i stream movies and do whatever else i want to do on a FULL WINDOWS 7 PC. it's fast enough to do everything i want to do great. do i game? no. never tried it and have no interest in gaming. but my point is that this is a FULL PC. and it can do everything i want it to - full Win 7, full MS Office, full Chrome w/ full extensions (MightyText etc.), and all Win 7 apps. a tablet can't come close to that. yes battery life is not as good as a tablet but there's a sacrifice as you are using a gimped device vs. a full real PC.

Impulses says:

There's SMS apps for tablets too you know, take a look at SyncSMS (syncs with phone over the web with Dropbox) or TextTab (syncs directly over Bluetooth)... I'm not saying tablets can replace Windows machines in every capacity, they obviously can't, but each has it's upsides.

I do agree that at $400+ they're still overpriced, but $300 was just low enough for me personally... And having used one for a bit i do think they're a lot more comfortable and enjoyable to use during mundane daily tasks than any netbook, specially in the case of the versatile Transformer.

I'm not a display snob, but a 1280x800 IPS display viewable from any angle w/o losing color uniformity is simply an order of magnitude better than the cheap 1024x600 TN displays on netbooks. The difference was way more noticeable than when i finally got a 24" IPS screen for my dektop. Heck, a Tegra 2 tablet can even stream higher res Flash better than a $200 single core Atom net book with no GPU acceleration can.

Am I throwing my netbook out or selling it? No, not for now. The nature of an engineering curriculum (and just being a geek) means there's still things I can only do on Windows rig, but I'll probably just replace it with a bigger laptop if necessary before I graduate.

Impulses says:

Worth noting that I do have a desktop as well though, as I alluded to... To me, both tablets and netbooks are tertiary devices, behind the desktops/full laptops and smartphones. If I didnt game anymore or didnt need a desktop for demanding tasks (video editing, etc) I'd just have a 14" laptop, I can't see a netbook ever being my primary device, but that's just me.

I definetely wouldn't buy a $200 netbook right now when $400 Brazos netbooks are SO much more capable and likely to last you a while. The netbook market kinda stagnated for a while there while Intel re-raised it's profit margin and before AMD had a viable alternative.

Gekko says:

i'm not a big fan of the form factor of tablets. i like the "L" shape of a Laptop/Netbook. it sits up nice on my lap/couch/chair/bed and i don't need to constantly hold it or fool with a contraption to try to prop it up. a full real keyboard is nice too. i have a 10.1" Netbook and my 4.3" EVO. my EVO is my tablet. i can do everything i need to do with no compromises. maybe i'll buy a tablet someday but i have yet to feel it in my gut that "i need that." my guess is that it would sit around and collect dust.

Impulses says:

The ASUS Transformer gives me the versatility of having both form factors in one, that's part of what sold me, though the keyboard dock is somewhat overpriced at $150... At $100 it'd be a no brainer, the extra battery/ports shouldn't be overlooked. I do hope ASUS makes good on the promise of keeping future tablets compatible with it tho, and I hope Lenovo and others keep innovating with other devices as versatile.

I agree that no one NEEDS a tablet tho, not like you need at least a basic computer and like you sorta need a smartphone. That's probably the biggest barrier to the tablet market really exploding. I don't see the vast majority of people ever being able to justify one as a work tool for instance, at least not the current incarnations (though they have a niche that's still somewhat untapped in places like hospitals, etc).

I'm using mine mostly in place of my netbook/EVO, outside of printing a lot less PDFs I doubt I'll be using it in any scenario where I couldn't use either of those other two devices instead. I'm using my phone a heck of a lot less at home but I'm still doubtful it'd lead me to buy a smaller phone next time, I could see that happening for others tho.

Gekko says:

i'm a minimalist. less is more.

it's very peaceful and calming.

acculver says:

Im willing to bet that Apple will be suing them because it is in the shape rectangle. All I have to say is how sad it is.

This tablet is DOA, who wants to unlock their device and just look at a grid of apps?

shmigga says:

Yeah exactly. Only someone with a low IQ would. This thing looks horrible.

hansgruber2 says:

Well actually, Having a PhD in Psychology as well being a Psychiatrist- I know , IT IS someone with LOW IQ that needs pictures or a specific setting. People with high IQ are very adaptable and actually prefer to use terminal- which is much harsher than an App screen. Refer to Articles in New England JM, or Biochem Jt.

greasyspoon says:

About 9.25 million folks as of last quarter. Apple's gonna sue these guys for sure.

marvin says:

You can easily change the home launcher to Launcher Pro or any other home launcher you want.

cjstillwell says:

Had this for a week and took it back. Hated the UI and had to put launcher pro on it. Got a lot of force closes as well. Plus the built in remote app sucked and had little device support. I got the acer iconia instead and love it!

johnny99 says:

If I didn't already have a NookColor, I would strongly consider the Vizio for $290. The Nook is a little cheaper, but the Vizio has GPS, Bluetooth, and camera. Also, I assume you don't have to hack the Vizio to run standard Android apps.

marvin says:

Most apps run fine on the Vizio. We are using ours for Nook, Kindle, and many games for the grandkids. We have apps from both the standard Android market and the Amazon Appstore.

snovguy says:

I'll be interested to see the review, I have had mixed results with mine so far. The remote app with ir blaster is pretty slick.

However the UI is laggy in weird ways and it's not been friendly to app launchers like launcher pro (had to do a factory reset).

Also i'd be interested to know about the GPS, mine (bought from Walmart) doesn't seem to think my unit has a GPS)

I agree about the intial feeling on build quality. It feels pretty solid. (though the packaging is bargain basement )

Taz89 says:

vizio dont even bother...have you not seen that apple have patented or trademarked the shape rectangle for tables..so if i were you comebak with a circle tablet otherwise your getting sued by well i think we all know who.

Nate Rules says:

Seems to me like you get alot more tablet for only $100 dollars more. If the Transformer and Iconia are only $400, then this should be about $200. This would have been a sweet deal a year ago.

cegabq says:

Anxious to hear how the integration with an internet TV goes!

Jordan jones says:

Why did you make a tablet video vizio don, the you know apple sues for that? Apple invented the tablet in 2010 and people have been copying them since 2002.

Divegeek says:

I'm typing this from mine right now. It is different not having a standard home screen, but I have gotten used to it after just a few days.

The universal remote app works perfectly with my Vizio tv, and ok with my cable companies dvr. Unfortunately the menu button for the dvr doesn't have work quite right. It was much easier to set up than most universal remote I have dealt with. All you do is pick a device type and then type in the model number and you're done.

I tried install Swype, but it said the resolution was not yet compatible.

As for speed I have seen it lag once in a great while, while playing angry birds. But nothing to complain about from a single core processor.

Divegeek says:

I just remembered... You can dismiss individual notifications, unlike on my Evo3d

marvin says:

Thumb keyboard works well.

newboyx says:

If this thing can be rooted so some kickass devs can fix Vizio's subpar UI I'm on it.
Hackability is key. Just ask nook owners.

combatshaw says:

I bought mine from Walmart the other day, and I am definitely impressed! It has a nice feel, good size screen so I can read e-books on it, but also surf the web and watch movies as well. Ipad killer this one is not, but I wasn't looking for an iPad killer, just something that suited my lifestyle a little more. I'm still figuring things out with it, but the Vizio UI is easy to get used to if you are used to working with Android and iOS. If any developers are working on some rooting, ROMS, new firmware, etc, I would love to hear about it. My recommendation is to go out and pick one of these up.

google123 says:

Pro: This is a $300 tablet.

Con: This is a $300 tablet.

Impulses says:

That sums it up rather well... $400+ Honeycomb tablets are way more capable and it's not about the size even, HC plays a large role in usability, as does screen res. I only bit on the Transformer because I got it for $300, otherwise I'd be waiting for the inevitable price drops when quad core tablets hit, and for cheaper 8.9" HC tablets that will eventually come.

Tablets in general are bound to drop in price aross the board regardless of future quad-core models, just like netbooks did. People forget that the first wave of WinXP net books were $400+ for a good year, then $300 for a while, and that market only stagnated due to lack of competition. AMD didn't have a viable alternative until the end of last year and Intel wasn't interested in cannibalizing it's regular laptop business.

The tablet market is likely to remain way more competitive with players like ASUS, Acer, and Lenovo joining the phone manufacturers. They're used to low margins and have survived without a carrier subsidy model. Not to mention multiple SoC vendors competing inside, it's all NV/Tegra 2 right now, but Qualcomm, Samsung, and TI will definitely make waves soon.

plunder says:

1024x768 is nice on a basic tablet. My Archos70 only has 800x480 which is a bit limiting.

outrun says:

i am a huge vizio fan. I waited a long time for this to come out.Long story short it sucked. Just save up another100 and get the transformer. Love this tablet.

mbrouill says:

Funny thing is Spousal Unit seems to be the one bringing the toys home sooner than I do...

LMO says:

UH-OH! Watch out -- Apple's going to sue because it looks too much like an iPad. Bwahahahahahaha!

marvin says:

We have had ours for a few days and are enjoying it. Mostly using for e-reading (we bought this instead of the Nook Color). Using launcher pro as the home launcher and have installed a bunch of educational games for our grandkids. I am impressed with the display and sound (viewing angle is limited). Also I downloaded some movies for the Internet Archive and they play well on the Vizio.