WeTab – First impressions and a 15 minutes hands-on (+ comparison to iPad)

During the last days big skepticism about the WeTab ruled many internet communities. While being excited about the iPad “killer”, many people were afraid about missing features and an “uncompleted” product at the same time. Today, I had the chance to get my hands on this device while visiting the guys of the Linux Magazin (German Linux print media, very good! :)).

First impressions
When I saw the WeTab at the first time I thought “wow, this thing looks smaller than the iPad”, but actually this is not the case. At least I was not able to see a difference between the size of the iPad and the WeTab (and I am too lazy to look the product sheets up and pretend I knew the exact measures). The WePad defenitely had less weight than the iPad but looks less cool. The screen is ok, the colours were bright and the whole “handling” of this thing just felt right. One big minus is the screen angle. As soon as you look at the screen from a slight different angle than you are supposed to, you are unable to recognize contures and text on the screen. Only videos were watachable as long as you ignore the darkness which comes with the wrong-angle thing.

Handling
Well, to be honest I loved how the screen was arranged when the iPad keyboard was switched on. On the WeTab, the keyboard often is disturbing and blocking a huge part of the screen. When you open up a shell for example and want to type in some commands, you are actually not able to see what you are tying unless you change the size of the text and arrange the shell window accordingly. For me, it felt very disturbing and unnecessary. Since the multitouch feature is not activated yet, the handling is circumstantial. When scrolling through a website, it may actually happen that it is not fluid. Scrolling in Chrome was not possible, but the delivered built-in browser at least was equipped with some sort of pictured scroll bar at the left.

The permanent WeTab menubar on the right on the other hand was very helpful. Important things like changing the volume or  the brightness of the display can be done here. Furthermore there is some sort of window-tabbing feature. As soon as you got more than one app/window opened you are able to switch between them. One disadvantage of this menubar at the same time is the fact, that most of the apps have their closed buttons arranged on the upper right of the screen. These buttons are so close to the menubar, that it might actually happen that you don’t close the app but hit the menubar and trigger some unwanted feature.

Another cool feature is the screen spinning: as soon as you turn the device its screen turns around. Sadly the sensors only trigger this action when you turn the WeTab around a 180 degrees.

Flash and the crash!
One of the first things I tried out was watching videos. It is so amazing to see videos on a mobile device, especially when it ‘s as small as a tablet. The flash video ran smoothly and the quality was awesome. But when I tried to fullscreen the view, the device crashed. It freezed and needed to be resetted with the button. What a disaster! I was not able to access the shell and have a look at the CPU usage…

Summary
I know, some of my readers expected a longer and more detailed review. But well, at the end you could say that the WePad looks like a solid alternative to the iPad, but you definitely have to accept limits and accept that you did not buy an expensive device. I highly recommend to wait a few months until the price gets lowered and the software is more stable + flash is better supported + more patches were released.