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Hands On with the HTC Flyer

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We scored ourselves some hands-on time with HTC’s brand new 7-inch Android tablet yesterday, the HTC Flyer.

On first impressions the HTC Flyer looks and feels like, well, a giant Android Phone. It has the same unibody casing as some of HTC’s smartphones, and the white rubber surround used on the rear camera is the same as that on the Desire S. It’s fairly light and slim and is pleasant and easy to hold – the 7-inch form factor makes it a whole lot easier to grip than say, an iPad or Motorola Xoom.

Rear Casing of the HTC Flyer

Of course, we had to take a look at the HTC Scribe technology first. There’s a dedicated touch button to activate the Scribe feature in the bottom right corner of the tablet’s bezel. Interestingly it won’t work if you touch it with your finger; it can only be activated using the Stylus. Touching the Scribe button gives you two options in the bottom right corner of the screen, editing and handwriting. Choose editing and you can draw, scribble and make notes on pretty much any screen or app on the device. HTC provide a free account with Evernote, which is an app that saves your notes and scribbles to the Cloud for viewing back later on the Flyer, your Smartphone or your PC.

General operation is fast and easy thanks to Android Gingerbread (2.4) and the speedy 1.5GHz processor. We didn’t notice any freezing or lag in graphics when flicking through the HTC Sense homescreens and main menu, and apps closed and re-opened pretty quickly. Unfortunately, due to our hands-on Flyer being a demo unit, we weren’t able to check out the new HTC Watch and OnLive Gaming services due to account requirements.

At £599 for the Wi-Fi and 3G model, we’d say the major downside to the HTC Flyer would be its pricing. For a 7-inch tablet which runs on Android Gingerbread instead of the more tablet-friendly Honeycomb, £599 is a tad too much in our opinion. For that price you can get yourself a 10.1-inch, Honeycomb-toting Motorola Xoom and still have £20 change.

Have you treated yourself to a HTC Flyer yet? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the product, so leave us a comment or get at us on Twitter.