Picking the Perfect Tablet Page 4

Vizio Tablet

Vizio's Tablet tablet is a tablet by Vizio. Sorry, had to.

Slotting in, size-wise, between the "big" iPad and Samsung, and the diminutive Fire, the 8-inch Tablet is a good compromise in terms of size and usability. In fact, until I got a hold of the Fire, I preferred the smaller size of the Tablet.

The 4x3 LED-lit LCD has a resolution of 1,024x768. What I said about 4x3 in the iPad section goes ditto here, even more so given the Vizio screen's smaller real estate. Unlike the Tab and iPad, but like the Fire, the Vizio is a Wi-Fi only device. In a clever piece of engineering, there are three speakers: two on the top, and one on the "bottom." This way, when you hold it in landscape mode to watch a video, there's still stereo sound. Rotating it also lights up a separate set of buttons, so the back, menu, and home buttons are always on the bottom. At least as long as you're not holding up upside-down. There's even a micro HDMI output.

The Vizio-modified Android OS looks excessively minimalist at first. There's no "desktop" per-se like vanilla Android. Instead there's a section reserved at the top for favorites, and a listing of all your other apps below. It ends up working pretty well.

Test Bench

The Tablet's 8-inch screen has resolution of 1,024x768. Unlike the other tablets in this test, the Vizio doesn't seem to use an IPS LCD. As such, off-axis performance suffers. In a small device, this is even more noticeable than it would be on an HDTV. Tilt it slightly, and the picture quality changes.

With the backlight set to maximum, the Tablet outputs 76.93 ftL with a full white image, and 0.108 with a full black image. Set to minimum, these numbers are 4.459 and 0.006. This is an average contrast ratio of 728:1, the lowest contrast ratio and maximum brightness in our test.

Color temperature, though 7422 kelvin on average, was exceedingly cool with dark images, and too warm with bright images. This ski-slope tilt (8550 kelvin at 20 IRE, 5585 at 100 IRE) resulted in an average deviation of 672.

The Tablet is 0.48 inches thick and weighs 1.2 lbs.