on 7 June 2011
I've had the HTC flyer for almost a month now. Being a bit of a techno-junkie I also have the iPad 2 and the Dell Streak 5 inch android.
The 7 inch flyer is, as far as I'm concerned the ideal size for everyday use. Whilst the iPad is without question the best viewing tablet probably available today, it is also large and I have rarely taken it out with me because of its size. The HTC flyer on the other hand is with me all the time and fits into a very neat compact bag for everyday use. It comes with a rather OTT white leather case, which although is excellent in quality is a bit gaudy, pity they didn't make it black or brown.
I first learnt about the flyer in the Sunday Times (I didn't even know it existed), and ordered one straightaway from Amazon even though the review (and indeed others) criticised the battery performance. I have to say this is totally unfounded and may be when the unit was upgraded to gingerbread it improved battery use. I easily get a day and a half of use.
HTC promote heavily the pen feature which allows you to write on the screen and make annotations etc. I'm sure it works very well but I've yet to see any YouTube reviews where HTC sales guys are not writing in kids crayon type sized letters. Maybe it has more use in commercial applications where templates are used on the screen and the user just checks boxes etc.
The screen is particularly excellent, very bright and can be read in sunlight (albeit reasonably difficult in direct, but no worse than my iPad 2). It's very fast to use and I love the customisation and indeed the excellent HTC sense which in version 3 is very good indeed. I have no hesitation in recommending the Flyer to anyone and have even thought of selling my iPad but maybe hang onto it and little longer, ask me in another month or so! The Streak is definitely going to go.
A little heavy and quite thick to hold, it would be better if it were slimmer but no doubt the next version will offer exactly this and indeed dual core processing (which no doubt will be faster and may be improved battery life), so possibly the current HTC flyer may have a relatively short life.
Ideal for reading books (the Kindle app works perfectly on the Flyer (and again the 7 inch screen size really does emulate reading a paperback book), web browsing is superb with auto adjusting text size when tapping the screen on a particular section.
I think HTC need a round of applause for bringing this unit to market but maybe not so for the lack of promotion and marketing of the product to date. Not quite sure what they're waiting for as this is their flagship product and they have hardly made a whisper about it.
Buy it, you won't be disappointed.
Update March 2012 - Sold the unit on only for the reason of buying a new Samsung Galaxy Note which is a fraction of the weight and very fast. The screen is smaller but can be used as a phone too - albeit a rather large one!
on 29 June 2011
There's a huge amount of negative publicity out there about the Flyer: "the screen's too small"; "it's just a big phone"; "the battery life is poor". Frankly those comments are rubbish written mostly by people who see the iPad/iPad2 as the be-all and end-all - which it isn't. Probably the best review to read is the one on Engadget which gives just about the most balanced comparison of the Flyer and iPad from someone who has both.
Firstly the screen quality. It is a way, way better screen than that provided on the iPad2. And we have an iPad2 at home as well to compare! One reason is that the pixel density ie, the number of dots available to draw a given size character, is twice that of the iPad. This means that characters are crisp and sharp. Going from an iPad to the Flyer is like going from an old smartphone with a 240x320 pixel screen to a modern one with an 800x480 resolution. I'm sure Apple will fix this in due course but, for the time being, the Flyer is much better.
Secondly, screen size. Frankly you "pays your money and makes your choice". Smaller is also lighter. An iPad2 weighs approximately 50% - yes, that's right *50%* more - than a Flyer. Do you want a brick with a large display or a device with a smaller display that is pocketable and you can take with you everywhere? Remember that the pixel resolution of the Flyer (1024 x 600) is only slightly less than an iPad (1024 x 768) so it can display almost as much information, just a bit smaller!
Thirdly, the "big phone" argument. So if the Flyer is a big phone, the iPad is an even bigger phone. The reason for choosing a tablet is to get more real-estate and see things more clearly and both devices achieve that aim. How far you want to go in size is up to you.
Fourthly, battery life. Like another reviewer, I don't see this as an issue - for me. I'm not planning to use the Flyer day-in day-out. I prefer to use a device with a proper keyboard for heavy-duty typing. And I'm never going to be that long away from a USB charging point. So if I can get 1 1/2 days of life out of the device it's quite sufficient.
I guess the final sticking point raised in reviews is price. But at the moment you can get the 3G/32GB version of the Flyer for 20% off here on Amazon. At that price it is very very competitive.
OK, with the supposed bad points out of the way, here are some of the good points of the Flyer: Have I mentioned the crisp bright display? Good! Characters that look as sharp as on my HTC Desire only on a much bigger screen.
Then there's the apps. If you install a legacy iPhone app on an iPad you get a tiny app in the middle of the screen. Do a x2 on it and it's just bigger and all pixelated. It makes absolutely no use of the extra screen space. With the Flyer, legacy Android apps - and yes, the Flyer has full access to the Android marketplace - scale perfectly, making full use of the extra space available. That means if you're using a legacy email app, you simply have more space to type your emails. And, of course, Android has a far greater proportion of free or advertising-supported apps than do the iPhone/iPad. Yes OK, I'm a cheapskate but not in exchange for quality!
The Flyer interface is fast and smooth - the first Android tablet I've seen where this is the case. Flip through screens quickly and easily using HTC's Sense interface. A minor downer which will be fixed by an eventual software update: Android 2.3 - Gingerbread - only supports phone-type widgets and icon spacing on the home screens even though the space could be used more efficiently. Not that much of an issue but it does reinforce the "Flyer is just a bigger phone" argument, even though the home screens are simply the means to gain access to apps.
So in summary, I think the HTC Flyer is a great little tablet, easy (and familiar if you're into Android) to use, superb screen, easy to carry around with you, and lots of apps as per any Android phone. The 3G version is particularly good value at the moment from Amazon. Don't leave it too long to buy one!
on 10 July 2011
A weighty little unit - on the solid side rather than cumbersome. For all the nonsense spouted on the Internet about this not running Android Honeycomb - at the moment this doesn't matter. HTC have done a great job with their Sense UI so that apps give you that 'tablet' experience. Honeycomb is apparently in the pipeline for the device anyway.
** EDIT - Now running Honeycomb. The benefits?
* Crisper UI with icons designed for tablets rather than phones
* Apps now using tablet designs rather than oversized phone designs - GMAIL split screen for instance
* You can now use the pen as a stylus to navigate / use the UI.
* I've noticed that memory management seems MUCH better under Honeycomb so the tablet never seems to struggle for memory.
** / EDIT
The basic functionality is excellent. Great native email client with faultless support for POP/IMAP and Active Sync (I'm looking at you BB Playbook - tut tut). Calendar and contacts from Active Sync come across nicely. The web browsing experience is genuinely brilliant. Flash support is good - and in browser youtube / and BBC news videos work well. I did wonder whether the 7inch screen would be big enough - but it seems fine to me. The browser is quick as well - with multi tab support.
Battery life seems quite good. For instance, I worked the tablet quite hard yesterday for browsing and Skype and still had over half the charge left at the end of the day. (nb - I used a non Market Skype apk (package) to enable video chat on the device before the official release - probably not recommended from a security point of view - but it showed how good the video chat will be when the official Android tablet version is released).
Official Skype video chat now released and works very well.
** / EDIT
I've yet to make my mind up about the magic pen. It has been very useful in some respects. A number of times I've found a web page - highlighted some info and forwarded it on via email. Whether it will be a good note taker - I'm not sure. I think it will but it will need some getting used to. One thing I feel I do need to mention is that most of the demonstrations you see about it show almost crayon like thickness to the writing. The truth of the matter is that the nib or brush can go very fine and remains quite responsive. Usage of the pen toolset becomes intuitive in a short period of time. Palm rejection is reasonable but I find it's best when you get the nib of the pen touching the screen before resting your palm down.
The case that it comes with is good quality and has a pen holder - but it's more like a pouch. Every time you want to dip in to the internet you have to drag the Flyer out and it gets in the way of the experience. This sounds like a petty moan but the whole point of tablet tech for me is to move in and out of the internet without any fuss or delay. I'd recommend getting a case with a magnetic clasp that lets you open it up like a book and get to the screen without having to take the Flyer out every time. There are some nice ones going cheap that double up as stands so you can watch video (the quality of which is excellent).
As a book reader - the inbuilt app is very fancy and integrates with the pen technology as you'll have seen in the you tube demonstrations. Page turning effects are all very nice - yet the selection of books 'appears' limited compared to some other book stores. I've opted for the Kindle app instead. The reading experience is great but you have to accept that a tablet with backlit screen will not beat a dedicated book e-reader for quality - but it will do nicely if you don't want multiple devices around the house.
Just one other point that's been quite important to me. The ability to expand storage by adding an SD card is great - as is Androids flexibility to allow me to connect to network attached storage (with the right app) if I like without having to sync up through a.n.other system. Again - it just enabled integration with my existing environment without needing more 'stuff' or 'procedures' to get at my data.
4 stars instead of 5?
1 - The cameras (mainly the rear HD one) are not great if the light quality is poor. I've had a couple of HTC phones like this. If you have low watt lights indoors - expect pictures to be grainy.
2 - It's overpriced in my opinion by around £50 / £75
Now at a bargain price .. I'm considering getting one for my wife
** / EDIT
3 - I don't think there is a single tablet out there that I would give 5 stars to yet because I'm fussy.
I hope this helps you make your decision.
on 23 May 2011
Recently i brought the HTC Flyer 7 because i was intrigued to find out about the modified 2.4 android OS and how a HTC tablet would hold up against my old Ipad. After a week of messing around on the HTC Flyer i do find it hard to put it down, i use it for everything now from email and Internet surfing to playing games on the market. But i began to wonder how it holds out against the new Ipad 2. After 'borrowing' the Ipad 2 from a friend in order to write this review, i found some Pros and Cons for both devices.
Firstly is power. The HTC Flyer 7 only has a 1.5GHz processor, this surprised me because most of the recent tablets such as the Ipad 2, the Motorola XOOM and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 all feature a dual core processor. Although in saying that, using the Flyer i have found there is no lag and is very fluent; it can also play dual core games! But to anyone bothered about the extra currently unnoticeable 500MHz i would suggest any of the three other tablets above.
Next is operating system. 2.4 is an amazing OS, full flash support, jaw-dropping graphics and gives the HTC Flyer a smart and professional look. The OS in my opinion is much better than the Apple's for a few simple reasons. One is full flash support, ultimately a better browser, and two its more customizable and better looking. Although, there is a bit of a difference between apps on the Ipad 2 and apps on the Flyer. Apps on the Ipad 2 are just a tad faster than on the Flyer because there apps are more intergrated with their custom CPU.
Displays. The Flyer has only a 7 inch display, this can be viewed as both a good and a bad thing. The good thing being is it will fit into a pocket better, and i find it is much more portable (The HTC is also about 200g lighter!). The bad thing is i like having the bigger display simply because typing is better and videos are more clear. Having said that, the choice in screen size is simply down to the consumer, and it was nice of HTC to give us this choice.
The real selling point to me is the expandable memory, something the Ipad has yet to offer. For just an extra £50 i can go out and get a Micro SD card to increase my memory to 64GB! Which is brilliant. All in all, i like them both a lot, its hard to find differences between them and when you do, thats only because if those differences weren't there, all the tablets would be exactly the same. I recommend this tablet to users who want portability over size and power, and who like the interface of Android more. If not i would suggest considering the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola XOOM or the Ipad 2. Still an utterly brilliant bit of kit, you wont be disappointed.
on 20 May 2011
Had the flyer for a few days now and I've not put it down. The build quality is great feels solid and looks great. The screen is also bright and clear when used outside. Internet over WiFi is fast and looks great when using the flyer horizontally. Apps from android market look good could be better resolution though, as the market doesn't accept maestro I've only tried the free apps. Battery is good also last a full day when using it for browsing the web. HTC watch is great movies look good and start playing immediately.
The negatives, its very expensive, when using it horizontally the keypad is better suited for large hands if you like typing with both hands.
on 26 September 2011
I've considered a HTC Flyer purchase for months, but what made me finally take the plunge was a combination of the HTC Jetsream 10 inch tablet that I'd been eyeing up finally being released as US only and Amazon reducing the 32GB Flyer to the cheapest I've seen it anywhere last week.
Overall I'm very pleased with the Flyer. I have a HTC Desire phone, and if you've already used a HTC/Android device, you'll find this very familiar. Various modifications have been made for the larger tablet screen compared with a phone screen - for example, in landscape mode, the built in Mail app has a list of messages on the left and a reading pane on the right, and has an "all accounts" view to show a combined view of messages from all accounts in date/time order.
The stylus (HTC Scribe) which is included seems a bit gimmicky to me. I may find a use for it at some point, but I've never had the need to annotate a webpage, etc to date. Of course you can use it with the bundled Evernote software to handwrite notes on the tablet which might be useful if taking note of something while out and about and should be faster than typing I guess.
The bundled apps are good (although, not being a fan of social networking, would love to be able to uninstall Facebook/Twitter without rooting the device etc). My 22 month old son loves the Zoodles Kid Mode app and cried after using it for a couple of hours at the weekend when I told him it was "Daddy's turn" again! Likewise the Reader app turns the device into a "kindle" style book reader, and Watch allows you to buy or rent movies. Both come with samples (a few books for Reader and a few trailers for Watch) and I can see they are very useable apps which will be handy for travel etc.
The built in speakers aren't going to rival a top end hifi, but are way better than I expected based on the Desire's speaker. They'd be fine for day to day listening and would save the need for bringing "travel speakers" on holiday.
Battery life seems fine to me. I've used approx 50% with fairly heavy usage on and off throughout a full day. Obviously playing video will be harder on battery than playing a simple puzzle game (for example) - if you have a smartphone you'll have a fair idea what does & doesn't use a lot of power.
A surprise to me was you can use the Flyer for text messages. I'd considered that to be phone functionality so didn't expect to find it there, but it is! You can also make phone calls using Skype, etc, but not directly on the mobile network obviously. There are 2 mics and 2 speakers so call quality is very good on Skype.
Overall I'm very pleased with the Flyer and would recommend to anyone who is at the "will I, won't I" stage I was at for some time to go for it. The Amazon reviews are (mostly) much more correct than the various reviews on tech sites etc that seem to slam it as being rubbish for some reason. And best of all, it's not an iPad :-)
Top marks to HTC for a great tablet, and to Amazon for a great price and excellent service as usual.
on 9 October 2011
I decided a while ago that I would purchase a tablet, and as I am a very indecisive person I spent quite some time choosing which one to purchase. I ended up picking this little tablet, and I'm very glad I did. I chose the 16GB WiFi only version, as here's why:
Size: It will never compete with the iPad with its 7" screen, but I don't think it needs to. It's the perfect size for taking out and about and especially for reading things as it's the same size as a paperback. It's perfect for just popping in your handbag - just make sure you have a screen protector first!
Weight: It is a little on the sturdy side but I don't think that's a bad thing. It's weight feels comfortable, it doesn't come across as fragile and you don't feel like you might snap it in two if you press too hard on the screen.
Look: The sleek silver design looks very classy and it feels lovely and smooth. The only thing that detracts from the look is the white...I can only describe them as 'bumpers' on each end. They don't bother me at all, I just wonder why they were included.
Display: It has a very vibrant display indeed. I like having the brightness as low as possible, but even then the colours still stand out really well. When reading the words are very clear, and in low light it doesn't strain your eyes if you read for a couple of hours.
Features: As it is running the Android 2.3 OS it can handle apps quite well, and I have to say I do love the live wallpapers available. It handles games and apps smoothly and its balance sensitivity in the Teeter game is very good. I recommend clearing out the Task Manager on a regular basis though, as apps you close tend to keep running in the background, eating up the RAM.
Battery life: This seems to be the most important factor for most people when choosing their tablet. You have to remember that this is in essence a portable computer and as such has processing running in the background. You aren't going to get a week's heavy use out of it in between charges, but I use it for a few hours every night, reading and surfing the web, and the battery lasts about 5 days.
Responsiveness: The capacitive touch screen is very responsive, almost too responsive sometimes. The movement of the display is almost seamless and navigation is quick and easy. The interface is user-friendly and it's really easy to get used to using it. Using the internet is easy, although sometimes the zoom needs to be employed to click on smaller options - I have larger fingers and occasionally found myself accidentally clicking on the option adjacent to the one I wanted. The zoom fixes this though, so I don't see this as a problem.
Price: Since I bought this tablet the price has gone up somewhat (it was 329.99 when I bought it and is now 458.96) so I'm not sure that it now is as good value for money as it has been. The iPad is very close in price, but since I have only briefly used the iPad 1 I can't make an informed comment.
Conclusion: I love it. I bought it. I'm recommending it. Enjoy :-)
on 14 March 2012
I recently got an HTC Flyer from Expansys and have been comparing to iOS on my current gen iPod Touch. First impressions are that HTC Sense looks rather nice, and Android seems to provide much more data on the OS than iOS which is a bit disconcerting when you're used to the more closed system! The real beauty compared to Apple is lack of iTunes - drag and drop files onto the Flyer (and within the flyer)...so easy! One small point - I have noticed that the SD card is sometimes not immediately recognised after mounting the Flyer as a disc drive to laptop - a simple restart after disconnecting the Flyer will fix that. Anyway, Android wins big time for flexibility of file management.
I know this is slightly off topic, talking about Android apps against Apple, but the apps are an integral part of the device so here goes...Apple seems to have better choice and more of the Android versions seem slightly rough round the edges - perhaps a result of all the hardware variants they have to satisfy? Still, they tend to work OK, so no real complaints, just a bit less polished on occasion than what I'm used to. On balance, I prefer Apple on this one. However, two honourable mentions to brilliant apps - I would recommend PlayerPro music app which is miles better sound quality and UI than the Android stock player, and also Catch which I settled on after trialling Evernote and Springpad as well.
The device itself is heavier than expected, but feels fairly rugged. Borderline weight for e-reading I'd say. The seven inch screen is just lovely - a thing of beauty - and really responsive - at least as good as iPod Touch. Overall, it really feels well-made and I'm happy with it. Taking off the top slot for MicroSD card is tricky at first, but I found the best technique is to press the middle of the removable cover reasonably firmly with one finger then slide up, rather than try to press all along the cover or at both sides simultaneously. It actually comes off pretty easily once you've figured it for the first time, but I wouldn't force it as the little plastic pads which lock it in place look eminently breakable! The MicroSD slots in really easily, with a satisfying click.
I've begun to find the stylus useful for annotating PDFs - for instance I annotated city maps copied from the web for a recent short break, with notes of key places to go and how to get there. Worked a treat. Can see me using the stylus and PDF annotation for work meetings also.
Battery life is so-so. If you want to get acceptable battery then you might need to look at disabling wi-fi, GPRS etc etc and stick it on Airplane when not using, but that's sensible stuff anyway. Juice Defender might assist and I await the results - I got the 'Plus' version. Because it's a bit thirsty, I now habitually keep it topped up when not using it, so it rarely falls beneath, say, 50%.
Within Gingerbread I noticed if you go into Tablet Information, there was a cell radio function which was eating about one-third of battery life for no apparent purpose. There is a fix for this, although the fix sometimes reverses itself so you need to periodically check. The fix involves the calculator (has to be in landscape mode, not portrait!) and entering a series of symbols and numbers. If you have this problem, look online - you'll find it. However, since the Honeycomb update, the cell standby power consumption does not show up under Tablet Info. Either it's gone, or it's hidden! Benefit of the doubt here...I assume it's fixed.
As for Honeycomb, my update arrived and I pressed 'install' with gusto, only to find that the device locked in the Boot screen - not even able to power off, just a repeating series of circular commands. Something to do with "S-on" if you care to look it up on the web. Anyway, the fixes were WAY beyond my technical knowledge, and to give HTC their due, they immediately asked for it back under warranty and paid for UPS to come and collect it from me. Great service on this one - tablet collected for repair p.m. on Friday, back with me fixed on the Tuesday. Really can't ask for much more than that.
I prefer Honeycomb (which is what they installed for me) to Gingerbread. Nothing wrong with the latter, and the shifting buttons on the bezel were indeed cute in Gingerbread but, to be honest, I occasionally brushed them by mistake whilst holding the tablet, so having pretty much everything on screen is an improvement. Also, more flexibility in screen layout under Honeycomb. For me, it's a winner. Unfortunately I had downloaded Quickoffice pro on Gingerbread, not realising that it doesn't work with Honeycomb. C'est la vie.
I'm now about a month down the line with it, and the teething problems noted above have all sorted themselves out. The device is now only losing a star for uninspiring battery performance, but it's manageable and I'm now glad I went for the Flyer rather than shelling out extra for an iPad.
on 26 December 2011
I bought the Flyer primarily for work. I'm an exploration geologist working in West Africa, and I had long wanted a tablet computer that would allow me to take notes and photos in the field, and be able to tag locations and data with GPS. Critically, I also had to be able to draw sketches with it, as it's very important to put field sketches in my notes. When the rock logger Android App was developed to a useable point, and the iPad's popularity meant that other companies started making a variety of tablets, I looked around for a tablet that would be useable in the field. I settle on the flyer, which I'd seen in a review in Stuff magazine (UK edition). I particularly needed a stylus that worked well with a note taking app,a tablet small enough that i could hold it in one hand and use the stylus like an actual notebook, and also Android so I could use rock logger. I did however, balk at the price of the tablet, which was £600 at the time, basically the same as an iPad2. However, shopping around I found a grey-import store, and got one for £400, which was acceptable.
I'm still getting used to the Flyer, but I'm very happy with it. The note taking function is really great, and I never have to ink in my notebook or make a spare copy, as I can just back this up by bluetooth to my laptop. I particularly like the ability to be able to take a photo, and then draw on it using the pen capability. And the pen capability is fantastic, easy to use and accurate. I havne't actually used Rocklogger that much yet, but I expect to in the mapping season, which runs January-May. A feature I hadn't thought off, but use quite a lot is being able to take data with me into the field, and then view it using the office or pdf viewer apps, so I can basically take data or books to look things up while in the field.
On the more general side, I also use the tablet as an eBook reader, which is great for entertainment in camp, as I can download a set of books when I visit the mine, and with the micro-SD card, there's no worry about capacity. I haven't used it for videos yet, I'm building up to that. I also like just having a little table fro some casual gaming, again good for the evenings when I'm all geologied out. And I'll be using the iFitness app to help stay in shape as well.
Criticisms and caveats: not always the most stable of platforms, I've had some applications force quit on me, and you only get decent battery life if you turn things like live wallpapers off, and put it in airplane mode. As I'm nowhere near a WiFi connection 90% of the time, this isn't a big problem for me, but i can see it might get annoying. pages I'm veiwing not jumping around when I rotate from landscape to potrait would also be good, especially in notes, where rotating the table means the page jumps back to the top each time, and I have to scroll back down. Also, while I love using this in the field, that is in a country where it only rains 2-3 months in the year, I would not want to use this somewhere it regularly rains.
Overall, I'm very chuffed with this tablet, it does what I need and more, and is the closest thing I've found to a geologist's best (technology) friend. now that the price has been slashed, well worth a look.
on 29 December 2011
I bought my HTC Flyer for £200. I said I would never spend more than this for a tablet and now they are everywhere at this price. I hope it doesn't mean that HTC will be discontinuing it. I love the portable size of the Flyer, its just right, you can slip it in a pocket. Its not heavy and you can browse, email and read with it on your lap without hand fatigue. The screen is bright clear and crisp with excellent colour reproduction. Mine is running on 2.77. its not Honeycomb, but who needs that, its only just snazzier graphics as far as I know, although I think its coming. There are thousands of useful Apps in the Android Market, so there is no shortage of decent proven software to make this tablet fly, and it does, the fast processor means that all the software speeds along with no waiting. There is no problem with using software originally meant for phones as it fits the screen perfectly unlike iPhone apps on the iPAD. Compared with my daughters iPAD there are none of the shackles that tie you down like the iTune store, having no Flash and the heavy and cumbersome format.
The Kindle App is geat, so is World Newspapers. I have all my Gmail synchronised and my Google Calendar, it was so simple to set it up. My wife has half the screens and we share the front one so she has her Yahoo mail right there at her fingertips too.
All in all a brilliant product. Well done HTC.
HTC have now sent the Honeycomb upgrade. This means you can use the stylus within applications Have a look at the Fresco group at Flikr to see what I painted. After a month with the Flyer I am very happy indeed.
Edit: Its now April, the Flyer has been so good I have just purchased another one for my wife's birthday. I am enjoying doing a little painting on it with Fresco Pro App using the stylus.
Its a wonderful product, the best Android Tablet out there!