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HTC Flyer: What’s in the box?

This white beauty is HTC’s dinky answer to the iPad. Arriving with its much-talked-about ‘pen’, and several other goodies, we’re look forward to seeing whether its unique stylus features will allow it to hold its own against bigger Android rivals.

The Flyer doesn’t run on Android’s made-for-tablet Honeycomb, although HTC have told Recombu that an update will arrive in the near future. To make up for this loss, its Android Gingerbread operating system has been given a coating of HTC Sense, their own brand of useful shortcuts, clever ideas and such.

This includes some new HTC Sense features we’ve only seen on the forthcoming HTC Sensation- like a clever new lock screen allowing you to jump straight into commonly used apps like email, calendar, internet and camera. Look, no camera button. (Though there are two cameras here, one rear and another front-facing.)

There’s also the 3D effect carousel as you switch between homescreens. HTC is talking up its new on-demand video service, imaginatively named HTC Watch. It’s very easy to get your bank details up, and download several games. We’ve already started downloading and watching on the office’s 3G connection, and we’re interested to see how the service will fare on a 3G connection.

Networks set to be offering the HTC Flyer include Three Mobile, who is offering it for £169 up-front on a two-year £25 tariff. This includes a beefy 15GB per month data allowance.

The Carphone Warehouse will also have the Flyer on the TalkMobile network, on a two-year contract at £25 per month. You’ll also need to fork over £129.99 to begin with.

Berfore we review it, we’ve unboxed it, sized it up against the BlackBerry PlayBook, and doodled. A lot. See our photo gallery below, or click on for the full tour.

The accessories follow the design cues of the Flyer- it’s all silver and white, including a leather(ish) pocket to protect the Flyer. (Right)

Above the Flyer itself is the stylus, which takes a rare AAAA battery. They’re rather tiny. You may have to shop around (or go online) to stock up on these.

Cableorama; includes an AC adapter to microUSB, a microUSB-USB cable, and headphones that also have a mic for hands-free talk.

The leather(ish) wallet has a soft fuzzy inside to (hopefully) clean the screen as the tablet slides in and out. There’s a magnet latch to keep the wallet closed.

The rear-facing camera is a five-megapixel model, capable of HD video-recording.

On the back you’ll also find the stereo-speakers, cleverly placed to leak the sound out while you hold it.

If we lift up the upper part…

..and you’ll find the card slots for microSD, and your SIM.

Android buttons run across the both orientations of the Flyer. Tilt it, and the lights will switch over.

See the green pen sign at the right? If it’s green, that means go for the stylus. Tap on this, and a multitude of pen options will appear.

HTC Flyer and BlackBerry PlayBook: comparison

The HTC Flyer and BlackBerry PlayBook both feature a seven inch screen, and both have taken differing tablet paths to help differentiate in an increasingly competitive tablet market.

The screen brightness on both is impressive, whilst we’d say sound quality on the Flyer is slightly better. (Both have stereo speakers.)

HTC Flyer and BlackBerry PlayBook: comparison

Comparing thickness, and the differing shapes of the PlayBook and Flyer make it difficult to compare.

The tapered edges make the Flyer feel slightly thinner, but there’s nothing between the two.

Here’s the Flyer’s stylus- officially named magic pen. The black button acts as a highlighter, to select individual words or whole tracts of text. The white button acts as digital rubber (or eraser, if you’re not from these parts).

The base of the pen is unscrewable for battery replacement, whilst the nib gives a little, but is made from sturdy plastic.

Tapping on the aforementioned pen icon, and it’ll take a snap-shot of the tablet’s screen. You can then scribble notes and doodles to your heart’s content.

We’ve had a few minutes to mess around with the Flyer, and we’ve fallen in love with these high-definition, full-screen weather animations. Some many say it’s a bit of fluff- we think it’s magical.

The animations will change depending on your weather, and there’s also atmosphere noises- crackling thunder, eerie fog .etc.

 

Here’s a brief snapshot of HTC’s Watch, where you can buy and rent TV shows and films.

Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ is available to buy? Buy. Buy now.

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