Overview and Design
On a Flight with HTC Flyer
Adding to HTC's successful line of mobile devices is the recently launched HTC Flyer. First announced at the MWC 2011. It is the first tablet from the company, and HTC hopes to differentiate the Flyer from the crowded tablet market space. The Flyer comes along with HTC Scribe technology, which is used in conjunction with the bundled HTC Pen, an industry first to extend the usability of tablets we've seen so far. We'll cover more of that in the next page. Moreover, it comes with the popular HTC Sense user interface that brings interaction on the tablet a notch above the rest.
These innovative features naturally received much fanfare in the tablet scene and we too had our fair share of 'Flyer-dosage' the past two months. We had our hands-on during the media launch event in April and our PlayTest collaboration with HTC two weeks ago. Let's check out whether the HTC Flyer lives up to the hype when put through our detailed evaluation.
Weighing at 420g, the 7-inch HTC Flyer feels quite handy and comfortable, regardless whether it is in portrait or landscape mode. It also helps that it has rounded corners to enhance comfort, handling and improve aesthetics. Having said that, you can use the tablet in one hand without feeling any discomfort. In landscape mode, the left and right sides of the Flyer have a slight curve, aiding you in having a good grip of the device.
HTC opts for a 7-inch screen on the Flyer as the company believes that this is ideal for consumers to bring around as a mobile companion as compared to the many 10-inch varieties out there. As with many tablets out there, the screen attracts fingerprints easily due to its glossy surface. It also has no physical button around the screen and instead relies on a row of touch-sensitive buttons on the black bezel for navigation. The device itself is designed towards using it in a portrait orientation, which is demarcated by the HTC logo siting at the top of the screen. However, should you want to use it in landscape mode, that's not an issue as HTC has another row of touch-sensitive buttons to suit landscape usage.
At the top of the Flyer, you will see the 3.5mm audio jack just beside the Power / Lock button. The Power / Lock button is one of the better designed ones we have seen so far on a tablet as it is not recessed and easily accessible. The metal construction of the button is in contrast with the plastic frame of the Flyer, making it very easy for the finger to find it. The volume controls are also located conveniently at the right side of the Flyer. At the bottom, you will find the microUSB port which is used for charging and data transfer.
When you flip over to the back of the device, the HTC brand name in the center grabs your attention right away. The words are inscribed on the unibody aluminum chassis, giving the Flyer a premium look (just like another popular device). You will also find a pair of stereo speakers to the right of the HTC brand name. If you are holding the Flyer using your left hand, you are likely to cover them. Hence, we will recommend holding the Flyer on the right if you would like to avoid muffled audio.
Still on the rear, you will also find a 5-megapixel camera at the top left hand corner, which is slightly protruding from the surface. With such a design, we are concerned that the camera lens might get scratched over time. Even if you're generally using a sleeve or jacket to protect the Flyer, it wouldn't be in it 100% of the time to protect it.
The good thing is that HTC has supplied a white pouch with the retail package, a rare addition going by the bundles of other tablets. Note that the bundled HTC Pen doesn't integrate with the tablet and must be kept separately. Fortunately, the white pouch has a slot by its side to hold the HTC Pen firmly. As such, the entire Flyer package by HTC is a 'tightly integrated' affair.