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 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!
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 18 December 2011
Before purchasing the 3G Flyer, I had the Samsung 7" tab and then the Asus Transformer. I found the Asus too big and heavy for daily use and carrying around and therefore I hardly used it.
The Flyer is a perfect size for me, a crisp 7" screen and it's light enough to hold in one hand while watching videos, browsing, ebooks etc.
The 3G version has just been updated to Honeycomb 3.2 (before it was Gingerbread 2.3 - mainly made for mobile phones), so the update is a welcomed addition.
In the box, you get a case (white leather), stylus pen, charger, USB cable etc, therefore I did not need to buy any additional accessories. The internal memory is 16GB and you also get a 16GB micro SD card, total of 32GB. If you are familiar with HTC, you will know that they use their own purpose built Android overlay called "Sense" - perfect for Facebook, Movies, Bookmarks, weather etc.
The Flyer is quick at processing tasks, the display is fluid and flows very nicely.
on 8 April 2012
I have kept an eye on this tablet since it was released but it was overpriced and even more expensive than the ipad at one point. I decided to snap it up as soon as the price became below the £200 mark as I don't think it should be priced more than that for a 7" tablet that has been around for almost a year. Many retailers still exagerate the price for this tablet which doesn't do any justification even though its such a well built device. I am glad these tablets are becoming more affordable now via online retailers such as Amazon for people to purchase.
I did not want to buy an ipad (although they are fantastic tablets) due to its restrictions and how everything just operates via itunes. I wanted a tablet where I could just simply copy music, photos and videos via the usb port from my netbook. This does exactly that so there's no complications. If you insert a micro sd card into the tablet and connect it to your computer it will recognise the tablet and the card as 2 separate drives so it works out even better if you want to copy your files across to the sd card only
Updating to Honeycomb was straight forward and I had no issues with the menu buttons being disabled. I personally think its best to have it updated to the latest OS when available.
I have had the tablet for just 1 day now and so far all my family members who are ipad owners are well impressed with it. They love the size and speed when on the net. Some people may find the screen size small when compared to the ipad as there's a huge difference but this tablet is certainly more portable. Personally I don't have any issues as I'm used to using small screens such as netbooks.
Even though this is only the 16GB wireless version and not 3G it can be used like one. I also have a HTC Desire HD phone with mobile data which can be used as a Wireless Hotspot using a secured password. I can then connect the Flyer onto my mobile phone via wireless which it will then pick up as a Wireless Network. It will then only connect if I enter the correct password. Its just like using 3G and comes in handy if you're out and about on your travels where there is no wireless network available. Those of you who think they need the 3G version, well think again as this will work just like it if you have a decent smartphone with plenty of mobile data to play with. I am well impressed with this feature.
I don't think I will be using the Stylus Pen that much but I have tested it and comes in handy if you like to make notes or do some fancy sketches.
I strongly recommend to buy a decent leather case and screen protector as I had read other reviews which states that without it you can scratch the screen if you use the Stylus Pen a lot. Also as the tablet is well built you can feel the weight of it so you don't want to accidently drop it.
Overall, its quick to browse online or play videos via youtube, you can play your own collection of movies, music and view photos. All of which is easy to transfer across from your PC via a USB port. What more do you want?
I know there are a few next generation android tablets releasing soon and even though this tablet is not a dual or a quad core speed it still does everything you need to just like the high spec ones.
If ipad owners can be impressed with this tablet due to its high spec and good looks then its definately on a winner. The reviews on this tablet overall are mixed because the majority will choose an ipad due to its reputation but I think its one of best 7" tablets out there for sure. It even has a Kid Mode feature where it becomes more user friendly for children to use to read books, play games or to do any drawings.
I strongly recommened anyone out there looking for an android tablet to buy the HTC flyer. I have a HTC phone and now a tablet. So far I am well impressed with how good these devices are. Everyone have heard of Apple and Samsung but let me tell you that HTC is now becoming very reputable. Well done HTC!
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 26 April 2012
After looking around for sometime to purchase a tab, I finally "have taken the plunge" and bought the Flyer! I had a fairly long list of needs, wifi only, 16GB but expandable memory to a minimum of 32GB. I must have many "tech apps" (I work in IT and there are times I need to do various things remotely), and extremely portable afterall this was going to be my "device of choice" during my weekends away.
So anyway I purchased the Flyer, the day it arrived I connected it to my wifi, first job start on the updates. The first two were to update gingerbread to the latest version, the third was to update gingerbread to Honeycomb.Then on to the apps, wow what a selection! I have installed various tech apps (all free) and all I can say it suits my demands perfectly!
The "extra" things that are in the box that I tried to find out before purchasing are as follows:
Leatherette white case.
I also purchased a 32GB mirco SD card, so that I can load that with numerous films/TV series so I can watch things of my choice during flights.
All this for a little over £235.00, it must be the bargain of the year surely? I have no doubt that some would say something along the lines of "my ipad will do something that the HTC will not". Hey if you are happy to be tied to their apps so be it, but a real tech will want and expect so much more than Apple would ever agree to! Get one you will not be disappointed!
on 25 March 2012
Before choosing the Flyer I spent a week researching 7" Android tablets, weighing up pros and cons, looking at specs, reading reviews and so on for 7" tablets below £250.
Screen - the screen is lovely, good viewing angles, bright colours.
Honeycomb update - I updated straight out of the box. I've read that some people don't like it, I prefer it to Gingerbread. It makes the stylus more useful and makes the Flyer look like a tablet rather than a ridiculously large phone.
Apps - The range and number of apps is increasing all the time. I already had a HTC Desire so all my apps were waiting for me to choose which ones to download, and I'm also finding more and more Android versions of apps I had on my iPod Touch.
The update from the old Market to Play did cause some alarm by suddenly restarting the Flyer without any warning just as I'd started downloading an app, but all was ok afterwards.
HTC Sense - if you like it as I do, it's a good thing.
Build quality - it feels like an expensive device.
Connectivity - bluetooth, wifi all work as you'd expect them to with no problems.
Stylus - is fun for doodling, but my handwriting was even more illegible than usual! There's at least one app available that seems more responsive than HTC's own note taking app, so it's worth having a look and trying a few out.
The not so good:
Honeycomb update - I know some people have had problems, the only one I have is that the Flyer is a little sluggish unlocking if it's not been used for a while, ie over night. Not a big deal, I'm talking seconds not minutes, and after that it wakes up and unlocks with no delay.
Weight - some may find it a little on the heavy side. I don't like things feeling too light and insubstantial so not a problem for me.
Camera - Rear camera isn't great, mainly because the lack of a flash means you need really good light. Front one is only 1.3mp, but works fine for Skype. Nobody should be buying a tablet just for the camera though.
Stylus - the main problem with the stylus is that I can't find a handwriting recognition app, the one thing that would make it really useful to me. The only one I've found so far replaces the keyboard!
Online community - there isn't much specifically for the Flyer which is a shame.
Case - it's good that a case comes with it, but white? Really? It looks nice now, but a few weeks in my bag and it's going to look grubby.
I'm finding it to be a really easy to use device that does everything I want it to - browsing the internet, watching videos, ebook reader for illustrated books to complement my Kindle 3 and playing mainly puzzle type games - and it looks and feels like a good quality product. The extra ram and screen quality make it a better purchase than the below £200 budget tablets I looked at.
If you look for online reviews make sure you do read them all the way through because many of them make overall positive comments but marked the Flyer down for it's high price at release and Gingerbread OS. The Honeycomb update and current price addresses both issues and I would happily recommend the Flyer to anyone looking for a 7" tablet for £250 or less.