Way back in Feburary, when I first laid eyes on it, I declared the HTC’ Flyer tablet my favorite tablet at Mobile World Congress. Why? I liked Flyer for two main reasons. First, I thought its 7-inch display lent itself to a more portable, usable, one-hand-friendly form factor than its larger, 10-inch display competitors like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Second, in a newly born world of “they’re all the same!” Android Honeycomb tablets, Flyer stood out for its customized software and seemingly clever use of an active stylus.

Now that I’ve had a Flyer WiFi in my hands for a good week or so – and also received a Tab 10.1 at Google I/O – am I singing the same tune? Sorta, but not entirely. I still think Flyer is a solid device with several unique features going for it. And I still think HTC made the right call in sticking with Android 2.3 and HTC Sense as their tablet platform while everyone else rushed to make “stock Honeycomb” devices. But a few key factors left me just a bit less high flying on Flyer than I was at first blush.

Read on for my quick overview of Flyer, or click play above (and below) to dive deep into my two-part video review.

HTC Flyer Pros

  • Lovely build quality and aluminum unibody construction
  • Form factor works well for one-handed reading and two-handed widescreen use
  • HTC Sense software adds value over stock Android
  • HTC’s implementation of Android 2.3 is far more polished than current Android 3.x devices
  • Solid performance and good battery life
  • If you use Evernote, you’ll love using Flyer’s Notes app with the Digital Scribe Pen

HTC Flyer Cons

  • Thick and heavy for a 7-inch tablet
  • Can’t run tablet-optimized Android 3.x apps
  • $499 + $79 for the pen = $578, which is pretty pricey
  • No cellular data connectivity options
  • Pen support is limited to three apps out of the box
  • Onlive gaming service is not yet active

Buying Advice

Like HTC’s take on Android phones so much you want Sense in tablet form? Interested in the whole tablet craze, but want a little more in the way of drawing and handwriting recognition? Either way, Flyer is a solid choice for you. But if you want an ultralight 7-inch tablet or a slate running the latest version of Android backed by the flashiest specs around, Flyer’s bulk and reliance on Android 2.3, respectively, may leave you cold. Flyer’s a very nice device, but it won’t be for everyone, especially given the hefty price tag of picking one up with that Scribe Pen in tow.