A tablet is bought for its larger screen, where resolution isn’t necessarily as important as the ability to view from a distance, or look at content with others. You won’t make calls on the Flyer, but rather watch movies, surf the net and play games. The thing is, that describes every tablet on the market, so what chance does HTC have with one that hasn’t got the latest Android operating system, nor a dual-core processor that is quickly becoming the norm? (The Flyer has a 1.5Ghz single-core processor).
HTC has come up with something that it must believe gives it a real edge. Besides the tablet version of Sense UI that has 3D scrolling panels that look good, as well as more tablet-friendly version of its native apps (more on them later), the tablet also comes with a ‘Magic Pen’ that allows you to draw and write on the screen, as well as highlighting text and making notes. It’s a feature that could make or break the success of the Flyer, simply because it’s the only device to support it. But there might be a reason for that.
It’s a first for the latest generation of tablets, even though the first-generation tablets (back when the likes of Microsoft thought they would all be for people working on shop floors to use when going around taking inventory) all came with a pen, in the form of a stylus.
Now, these old tablets weighed a ton and used resistive touchscreens. This meant a pen was just a glorified pointed stick. The Flyer has a capacitive screen, which means you need a special pen – in this case one with its own battery and buttons to perform different tasks.
And while a stylus would usually slot into the side of your tablet, the Magic Pen is too big to fit inside the Flyer. You must carry it separately, or put it in the holder that’s part of the bundled case.
The pen drops
For a while I nearly had to write this review without testing the pen, as I mislaid it. You could call it incompetence on my part, but I suspect it’s going to be a problem that will be experienced by everyone at some stage. Luckily I soon found it, which is just as well given the fact you won’t find any spares in the box.