Vizio Tablet VTAB1008
Typical Price: $192.99
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.0 / 5
The good: The Vizio Tablet VTAB1008 stands out from the crowd of Android tablets with its unique size, customized interface, universal remote control capability, and affordable price.
The bad: Vizio's tablet isn't the thinnest, fastest, prettiest, cheapest, nor the most up-to-date tablet we've seen, and the viewing angles on its screen aren't great.
The bottom line: The Vizio Tablet makes a great competitor to 2010's Samsung Galaxy Tab, but lacks the grace, speed, and features of today's best tablets.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Vizio isn't the first name that springs to mind when you think of tablets, but it's not a company to be dismissed. In just a few short years, Vizio has popped onto the radar as one of the most powerful players in high-definition televisions using a simple formula of quality products at low prices.
It's a formula that's a great match for the current tablet market. Big-name tablets that sold in 2010 for as much as $700 can now be found for half the price and consumers are watching to see how low things will go.
The answer, for Vizio, is $299, which buys you an 8-inch tablet stocked with 4GB of storage and Android 2.3. Is it an irresistible combo of price and quality? Let's take a look.
The Vizio Tablet VTAB1008 isn't winning any beauty pageants. Sure, its 8-inch screen size stands out in the sea of 7-inch and 10-inch options on the market, but at nearly 0.5 inch thick and weighing 1.3 pounds, this tablet feels less like the future of personal computing and more like a cutting board.
There are some redeeming qualities. Vizio's husky design feels sturdier than the unintentionally flexible build of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the Archos 101. The back of the tablet is covered in a matte, fingerprint-resistant plastic.
One of Vizio's niftiest design tricks is the disappearing act that's been done with the Android navigation controls. When you turn the tablet for landscape or portrait orientation, the three backlit buttons for home, menu, and back will magically jump from one bezel to the next so that the controls are always located beneath the screen. Similarly, there are three speakers along the edges of the tablet, two of which will activate depending on how the tablet is positioned. This helps to avoid the problem of inadvertently blocking a speaker's sound when holding the tablet in one orientation or another.
Though the home screen may not look like it, this tablet is running Android 2.3 with all the trimmings. Vizio put in some design work to skin the system graphics to emulate the look of the VIA (Vizio Internet Apps) applications built into its latest crop of Internet-connected TVs. When you look at the total product ecosystem, it makes a lot of sense, but even on its own the tablet's distinct look is both attractive and intuitive.
Essentially, Vizio has done away with Android's desktop and plunges you right into your app collection--a philosophy similar to iOS. A customizable selection of favorites can be arranged at the top of the screen while an ever-present dock of core apps (Browser, Market, Email, Gallery, Music) runs across the bottom of the screen. Like the dock found in Apple's iOS, these apps can be added to, rearranged, and deleted.
Despite all of these tweaks, the beating heart of Android is still vital throughout this tablet. Google's entire mobile app suite is present, including Gmail, Maps, Latitude, Navigation (yes, GPS is built in), Places, Talk, YouTube, and the all-important Google App Market. Barnes & Noble's free Nook e-reader app also comes preinstalled, and there's talk of other apps arriving on the tablet later by way of an over-the-air update.
One feature included on Vizio's tablet that you're not likely to come across on any competing tablet is a remote control app that works in conjunction with an integrated IR blaster so the tablet can be used as a universal remote for most consumer audiovisual equipment--regardless of brand. We set up the tablet to operate a reference TV within minutes. The tablet requires you to punch in the model number of the device you want to control, but after that, you should be up and running.
Is it the ultimate universal remote? Not quite. If you're looking to turn on a fleet of home audiovisual equipment with a single click or do more than your basic volume and channel adjustments, something like the Logitech Harmony Remote series is still your best bet. Still, for those times when your remote is out of reach, it's comforting to know that you can mute obnoxious commercials with the same tablet you're using to check your e-mail.
Other features on Vizio's tablet are par for the course. You get a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front that works for both still shots and video capture. Internally you'll find wireless options for 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth peripheral support. For hardware connections, you get a Micro-HDMI video output, Micro-USB output for syncing files, and a microSD card slot for expanding on the relatively meager 4GB of internal storage (much of which is taken up by the system software).
Though the Vizio tablet has all the makings of an affordable underdog, there is one aspect that gives us pause: the screen. The 1,024x768-pixel resolution display is crisp, but its maximum brightness levels are lacking and there are two noticeably poor viewing angles that crop up. For a company that has made a name delivering quality LCD panels in TVs, it's a shame that the same can't be said of its tablet.
We're also a little disappointed by the overall system speed. Compared with Samsung's similarly priced 7-inch Galaxy Tab, Vizio's tablet feels like it's taking a breath before launching or closing apps, scrolling Web pages, or even jumping into the settings menu. Some of this can be minimized by switching off the screen animations under the tablet's settings menu, but the latency never disappears completely.
Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.
|Video battery life (in hours)||Maximum brightness (in cd/m2)||Default brightness (in cd/m2)||Maximum black level (in cd/m2)||Default black level (in cd/m2)||Default contrast ratio||Contrast ratio (max brightness)|
Vizio deserves credit for branching out of its comfort zone and delivering an affordable tablet with plenty of unique attributes. Unfortunately, the Vizio Tablet's best features still aren't compelling enough for us to ignore its heft, mediocre speed, and poor viewing angles. As Android 2.3 tablets go, the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab is still the one to beat, though the prices of Android 3.0 tablets are getting lower every week.
|Built-in devices||Display, Touchscreen, Speaker(s), Digital camera|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||6.6 in x 0.5 in x 8.1 in|
|Installed RAM||512 MB|
|Flash memory form factor||Integrated|
|Input device type||Touch-screen|
|Display type||TFT active matrix, 8 in|
|Wireless connectivity||IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11b, IrDA, Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11g|
Average User Rating: 3.0 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 6
4 Star: 14
3 Star: 2
2 Star: 4
1 Star: 5
I'm glad the Vizio Tablet caught my eye (Sams Club)!
Rating: 3.5 / 5
on November 7, 2011
4 out of 4 users found this review helpful
Pros: I was immediately intrigued by its size, appearance and features. What really caught my attention was the price - just below $200. Another interesting touch which tweaked my interest was the A/V remote control feature - my Logitech Harmony just bit the
Cons: The few things which I found to be a bit wanting are the heat generated when in WiFi mode, the unrealistic colors when playing a "flash" browser based video, and the fact the tablet won't connect to the 5GHz band on my router (it does connect at the lower
Summary: All in all this is one of the best gadgets I've purchased (for the price). I expected less and recieved more! How often does that occur? I encourage you to go take a look and if you have a few hundred bucks - dive in! You won't be disappointed.
Performance, function, appearance, apps access, & GPS!
Rating: 4 / 5
on October 17, 2011
4 out of 4 users found this review helpful
Pros: Superior graphics, awesome audio, long-lasting power, real GPS, easily accessible controls, nWiFi, decent front camera, excellent touchscreen & sensor response, ... these bullets merely begin acknowledging my appreciation & the targets hit by the
Cons: Dimensions & ports are unique so mainstream accessories & connections may be difficult to obtain. I indicated the actual dimensions in the summary; since they are rather unique, there is a marginal market for covers & cases. The USB port is al
Summary: Actual dimensions (8.125" x 6.625" x 0.375") are different than CNET's. Just beginning to appreciate the VTAB1008 & expect a lot from it. So far I haven't had any deep misgivings, but the proprietary ports may be reconsidered as well as enhanced.
For this device's excellent capabilities, any restrictions & viewing angle issues ever purportedly noticed by others are likely due to media content that they played. The device seems to be underutilized with Android 2.3 versions; that could be why an enhanced interface was incorporated. While it seems that stylus use was an afterthought, I do enjoy writing notes although there are a variety of typing methods provided.
There is a warm spot noticed adjacent to the ports, even when WiFi is off, so that is likely the power supply when burdened by the load requirements. It's relieving that it's only relatively noticeable as I've checked other devices and they had absolute hot spots. That could be an issue VIZIO should be notified about whether action needs to be taken. Battery life seems substantial; a variety of power control methods are provided to ensure energy use is reasonably applied. A remote control feature seems to be one of the main apps included along with a several other decent apps & widgets, but while some included software is merely perfunctory at least there doesn't appear to be anything negligible or terribly undesirable.
So far the VTAB1008 has handled all apps that have been downloaded, although I have much more to go in order to enjoy this device for what it can provide or to determine the limitations. I would have liked for VIZIO to give more control over the performance, configuration, & personalization. I have got a handle on controlling applications & services but, while multitasking is not a consideration for my use of this device (if not a matter that I wanted to avoid), it would be reassuring to realize that resources are available & background consumption is either minimized or eliminated.
So in consideration for those restrictions imposed, I expect that VIZIO will show appreciation to keep the device updated & maintain my satisfaction if not heed my requests. Another update has been installed while I wrote this review & these are the device details: Android 2.3.2 GRH78C, Kernel 126.96.36.199+, Hardware ID: 5 (PVT1), Software V.I.A. Plus 1.3, Uboot ver 1.1.18, Build number 1.9.30.
Nearly perfect tablet for the price(269.00).
Rating: 4 / 5
on December 31, 2011
3 out of 4 users found this review helpful
Pros: Netflix, Skype, email, text messages, remote control for almost any electronic device. HDMI output, plenty of Ram with a SD slot for more if needed. Compact and feels sturdy. GPS......
Cons: Photo quality average.
No rear facing camera.
Summary: I got this for my daughter for her Birthday and I have found myself really enjoying it. For those of you who do not like the UI, you can install Go Launcher and make it like any other Android device. For the price and features, I find it hard pressed to find another tablet any better. Aside from not having the rear facing camera option which in my opinion is a necessity for taking pictures, This VTAB performs well above average.
Great for the price
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on December 22, 2011
2 out of 2 users found this review helpful
Pros: I stream Netflix on it and the picture is great. Internet is faster than I thought it would be. Considering the price I paid for the tablet this does everything I need it to and more.
I can stream Netflix for about 3.5-4 hours on a charge.
Cons: Battery charges a little slow. Wish it had more memory.
Best Kept Secret in the Tablet Market
Rating: 4 / 5
on December 19, 2011
2 out of 2 users found this review helpful
Pros: Price, Size, Features. GPS, WIFI, SD slot.
Cons: Screen Glare, have to find an anti-glare cover.
Summary: Just what I was looking for, an alternative to IPAD. I wanted tablet with GPS for NAVIATOR app. Paid 200 easily compares to $600 IPAD. I don't want the 3G feature and this does not have it. GPS works great in the car and airplane. Perfect for Electronic Flight Bag. Looks like others found it too as the price has creeped up from $200 to $300+.