The HTC Flyer is already in stores, but some retail locations don’t have working demonstration units on display. Lucky for me (and you), a review unit arrived late yesterday, so here’s a first look and some brief, early impressions of the 7-inch Android (s goog) tablet. A tour of the hardware shows a well-designed and -constructed device. I particularly like the capacitive buttons in the bezel that automatically compensate for both landscape and portrait use.
Although I’ve only had the device for a short while, I’m concerned that in some ways, HTC Sense may have limited the Flyer. In the video, for example, you can see fewer shortcuts fit on each screen. On the other hand, the 3-D interface used in the new Sense 2.1 for Tablets is slick. So too is the customized lock screen that allows fast access to certain functions. And in a video first, I actually test if the device fits in my back pants pocket, which is how I usually carry my Samsung Galaxy Tab. Aside from providing a look at my behind, this first look video also shows a quirk with the browser; it doesn’t seem to fit the page to the screen, although it’s possible I’ve overlooked a setting.
HTC included a digital pen with the review device, which normally costs $79 here in the U.S. I haven’t used it yet, but will for my full review. The pen and WiFi-only tablet costs $580, which may put some folks off, depending on the experience and performance. Although I haven’t used the pen, I’m already wondering if HTC should have skipped the cost of the N-Trig digitizer in the Flyer — that’s what allows the pen to work — or offered the Flyer in two models: one with the N-Trig digitizer and pen, and one with just a standard touchscreen. Any thoughts as I put this tablet through the paces?