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
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.