Viewsonic gTablet

Viewsonic gTabletMy most recent toy purchase is the Viewsonic gTablet. This was an impulse purchase for a bargain from Tiger Direct.

Overall, the gTablet is sleek and stylish, much like other similar tablets (get the tech specs here). The one major problem with the gTablet, which everyone discusses (see this cnet review too), is the stock "Tap N Tap" program. 

This program is clunky and has limited features, one biggie being that you can't access the Android Market. The Viewsonic "market" is a knockoff market, which lacks features and apps. I may suggest that if you're okay with using the stock market, there's no need to go further, and you'll remain happy with the Viewsonic gTablet.

If, like me, you're more titillated by the tech, then you'll probably want to root the device (CAUTION, THIS VOIDS YOUR WARRANTY AND CAN DESTROY YOUR DEVICE), install a custom ROM, and gain the gTablet's full potential. After root, the gTablet is amazing. I think this device is an excellent competitor with the iPad (and perhaps to a small degree, iPad2).

I have played for 2 days with the Cyanogenmod 6 ROM. The setup was quite easy, and their step-by-step instructions (I used recovery because the other method didn't work) got me finished quickly. I do plan to experiment with other ROMs, especially TnT Lite.

I think the gTablet will be a big (and cheap) boost for lawyers. While the Market is missing some of the seemingly great apps for Apple's iPad, there are many that will adequately suffice.

Right now, I'm running Dropbox, which I connect to my office and share files I may need. For instance, I recently used the app while preparing for a hearing to recall and present PDF and Word documents, if needed.

Also, the gTablet towers over competition with it's microSD slot and USB port, make it easy to store additional files. The tablet is expandable to 32 GB. Hopefully, this expansion, plus the on-board 16 GB storage will give you everything you need to make sure you're comfortable away from the office.

I can't send all praises without emphasizing some of the drawbacks, too. First, you're likely going to want to root the device. This requires some technical prowess, and guts. Second, the device does not have GPS or a 2nd (rear) camera. These aren't huge drawbacks for me, because I have my phone and high-quality SLR cameras. I also am not sure that I need GPS on a tablet device, when I have my Motorola Droid that acts like a Tom-Tom or Garmin device. Third, WiFi-only access kind of stinks, especially where you're accustomed to 3g. I solve this by (1) leaving my device at home; (2) finding a WiFi connection; or (3) tethering using Barnacle WiFi Tether. Third, there are only a few true tablet apps available for use. Therefore, many of the applications get reformatted to fit onto the table. Unfortunately, most of the formatting focuses on the smaller, smartphone screen. What you end up with is a 4 inch screen, surrounded by black. Finally, because iPad is the lawyer behemoth, there aren't a lot of lawyer-related apps, yet. I predict this will catch up as more and more lawyer-programmers get apps on the Market.

Overall, I'm satisfied with the performance and features of the Viewsonic gTablet. Android or iPad tablets certainly won't replace your desktop or laptop, though you can find comfort in knowing that they'll approach as close to perfection as possible. I think the Viewsonic gTablet is the Android-lover's response to the iPad, at a cheaper price. The gTablet isn't going to kill the iPad, but it stands in the ring with Goliath, and punches him in the gut (at least 2 times).

Photo: Viewsonic

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.