Creative ZiiO 7in & 10in
The key to Creative's ZiiO 7in and l0in devices, which will ship with Android 2.1 with the promise of an upgrade to 2.2 "early in 2011", is that they play to the company's strengths. The Pure Android audio app is nicely put together, with a Bluetooth device manager directly within for linking to external speakers. For even greater control head to Creative's X-Fi Crystalizer and Expand enhancements. Its apt-X codec allows for high-quality audio streaming, and it works: when Creative demoed the device to us, we discovered that the sound streamed to some tiny ZiiSound T6 5.1 speakers packed a punch. As did the poor souls working within 100 yards of our demo room.
The 7in device's TFT screen has a 800 x 480 resolution, increasing to 1,024 x 600 on the l0in device, and both were reasonably bright. The big sticking point will inevitably be the resistive technology. Yes, we'd prefer capacitive; yes, we'd prefer multitouch; but it isn't a disaster. That said, tasks that require a lot of swiping and dragging may soon start to grate, and the fixed buttons at the foot of the screen were also a little unresponsive.
The hardware doesn't have the solid feel of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but neither of the ZiiOs feels cheap. There's a front-facing camera and accelerometer, plus a card slot to expand the capacity for big music and video collections - SD on the l0in and microSD on the 7in. There's no 3G, and the ZiiO doesn't support the official Android Market. Creative wants you to head to the ZiiStore. Suffice to say, our hopes aren't high.
If s good to see Creative attempting to transfer what it knows best - sound quality - to tablets. But what really appeals about the ZiiO range is its price. The 7in model costs only £200 inc VAT for 8GB and £220 for 16GB. The l0in ZiiO is barely dearer, at £250 and £270 for 8GB and 16GB respectively. Archos could have a serious rival on its hands.
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