Welcome Androidgals! We are the Android Couple, Albert and Katey. We’re both fanatics and hackers of everything Android. We are located in sunny Salt Lake City, Utah and will be presenting on various topics here, ranging from app reviews to hardware examinations. For our first post we’ll share with you our review of the underrated Viewsonic G Tablet. This budget-centric device can be found at places like Office Depot and Sears (Not the first place I think of for Android tablets, but to each their own).
When the device came out in November 2010, reviews were rather mixed about this wonderfully inexpensive tablet, which costs around $300 to $400. Granted, there are many issues such as the terrible screen with virtually no viewing angle (surprising as Viewsonic is a pretty prominent manufacturer of televisions and flat panel computer displays) and the weight that many users complained about. Also, the default Tap ‘N Tap interface was the worst version of Android 2.2 (Froyo), and it made the Tegra 2 tablet seem sluggish and unattractive.
Despite these issues, AndroidCouple managed to get our hands on two of them for our place. What we really liked was the huge 3650 mAh internal battery, the support for external microSD cards up to 32 GB, the USB port, and most importantly, the fact that there was no locked bootloader, which allowed us to easily run custom ROMs on the device. This is the first tablet I’ve played with so easily flashing custom ROM’s is a BIG plus for me.
The Viewsonic G Tablet does not have the perfect external hardware for a tablet in the market, or the elegant design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. However, it aspires to be the “poor woman’s” Motorola Xoom in terms of heft and shape, and we think that’s worth something.
What matters most is that, much like the highly underrated HTC HD2, the Viewsonic G Tablet is the perfect sandbox for the Androidgal who likes to customize their device with different ROMs and themes.
In fact, Viewsonic encourages free development by allowing anyone to download the GPL Kernel Source Code from their official website. This means that any programmer can tinker with the code and create their own custom ROMs relatively easily.
Right now, the Viewsonic G Tablet is the only major Android Tablet that can boot up ROMs Froyo (Android 2.2), Gingerbread (Android 2.3), and Honeycomb (Android 3.0) ROMs, along with two types of bootloaders, BL 1.1 and BL 1.2. Also, based on our experiences, the G Tablet is virtually impossible to brick as long as one knows how to use the NVFlash software to restore the tablet back to its original state for some fresh hacking.
This differs greatly from our experience with the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab, where the device, once rooted, was corrupted by an OTA update to the point that it had to be sent back to Samsung.
Having the custom ClockworkMod Recovery to install the custom ROM’s onto the tablet makes things relatively easy for the novice to have fun in the sandbox. Right now we are using a recent Honeycomb build called GTabComb beta 3.2, which is a bundle of pure awesomeness. The developers have managed to create a relatively stable build without the original Honeycomb source code that Google typically provides to smartphone and tablet manufacturers. With the hard work of fanatical developers, the G Tablet has managed to get some wonderful builds.
In closing, any girl interested in Android hacking should head to Sears and pick up one of these underrated 10.2-inch tablets. One could argue that the Barnes and Noble Nook Color has wonderful hacking possibilities as well. We have one in mind as a gift for a special little girl, so we will no doubt be picking up, rooting, and reviewing that device soon.
Do you own this or another tablet that you have hacked yourself? Let us know in the comments below!