Soaring with HTC Flyer: A Hands-on Experience

Soaring with HTC Flyer: A Hands-on Experience

A Hands-on Experience

The HTC Flyer was first unveiled during MWC 2011, of which we have covered intensively here. This will be HTC's first foray into the tablet scene, and unsurprisingly, the company has added a few bells and whistles that differentiate it from the rest of the tablets in what is now a rampantly growing and fiercely competitive consumer tech segment. Of course, the Taiwan company has also kept the Flyer's design streamlined and in tandem with the rest of its mobile phone portfolio; the 7-inch tablet comes encased in an aluminum unibody that is ultralight. The Flyer will also be packaged with the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS but will be upgradeable to Honeycomb 3.0.

Take a look at some of the key takeaway points that were highlighted at yesterday's event including details on the HTC Scribe Technology and HTC Timemark feature. Additionally, you can check out our detailed 7-minute video demo for a better idea on how they work.

 The key selling points of the HTC Flyer on one slide, and there's more to add: the lightweight tablet weighs only 420g and measures a mere 13.2mm in thickness.

 The HTC Flyer comes shipped with the trademark HTC Sense UI. It has been notably tweaked for a more fluid tablet experience, i.e., there are eight home pages for the placement of important widgets, shortcuts and folders. Like the Honeycomb UI for tablets, the UI boasts of a '3D-eseque' design.

Making full use of its HTC Scribe Technology, the Flyer comes packed with a feature called Timemark which enables you to capture the audio of a meeting in line with your written notes or photos. Notes will be fully integrated with the calendar, i.e., when there's an appointment reminder you are automatically prompted with an opportunity to begin a new note or in the case of recurring meetings, to continue where the last meeting left off.

The HTC Flyer tablet also features built-in synchronization with Evernote, in which notes can be synced with your Evernote account after saving them on your tablet. While there are no plans to sync it with other third party note-taking apps of your choice, we aren't complaining as Evernote itself is comprehensive enough. 

There's nothing on the right profile of the tablet, but on the left, we have the usual volume buttons. The buttons are not too thin and protrude enough for comfortable pressing.

At the top, you have a comfortably-sized power on button and a 3.5mm headphones jack.

As with most HTC devices, the microUSB port sits quietly at the bottom of the phone right smack in the center. The port serves as both data port and display output for the tablet.

The HTC Flyer comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus capabilities, and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for conferencing.

The "carpenter's tool" so as to speak. Not only does the HTC Flyer's stylus offers a closely emulated pen-and-paper experience but the accessory doubles up as an eraser and highlighter of sorts. Simply long press either of the buttons on the pen's profile (white circle for erasing, black circle for highlighting) and put the tool to use on the Flyer's surface. Sadly though, this isn't integrated within the Flyer's body and is a standalone item that is likely prone to getting misplaced.

 A HTC staff giving us a demonstration on how to use the pen to highlight text. Admittedly, we found the experience to be quite jarring and awkward at first, and it took some time to get used to it - mostly because of the need to long press either of the buttons while highlighting or erasing.

The HTC Flyer will be available from May at a price tag of S$1,068 without contract. All local telcos will have tie-in plans with the Flyer. The tablet comes with a lite version of the HTC Watch service - you can only stream trailers and not full movies as of now -, but HTC has plans to bring in the full version by Q4 of this year. However, representatives were tight-lipped about the HTC OnLive service coming to Singapore, only mentioning that they have plans to bring it to Asia without revealing further details.

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