July 1, 2011
The media unveiling of the Cisco Cius tablet June 29, 2011 , offered up some excellent channel and technology fodder, but The VAR Guy also got to know the Cius from a straight-up design standpoint. Our resident blogger will be the first to admit he has impeccable taste when it comes to the modern-day design aesthetic. Here’s a quick review of the Cius hands-on …
It’s not light. For a 7-inch tablet, it’s dense, weighing in at a little more than a pound. And while Cisco Systems has clearly made efforts to make this as sleek and robust as possible, its other focus on high sound quality means the Cius is sporting a large front speaker panel, which likely adds some heft. The rest of the device’s weight clearly comes from the removable battery. Cius feels good in the hands, however, and doesn’t feel off-balance. Our resident blogger used the on-screen keyboard, thumbs-a-blazin’, and proclaimed it comfortable.
The screen has a resolution of only 1024 x 600, but because of its size it looks fairly sharp. Front and rear cameras are equally sharp, and the SD and mini HDMI ports are easily accessible. The front panel buttons feature a pleasing resistance, and overall the Cius feels sturdy. Although The VAR Guy wasn’t allowed to drop the device, he’s pretty Cius could withstand a waist-high fall with little or no damage. The plastic casing is durable, and the engineering on the case is tight. It felt like one solid device, a brick — but in the best sense of the word.
But even with all the under-the-hood upgrades Cisco injected to make Android fit for the Cius, The VAR Guy still found a few rough edges. Android devices tend to suffer from not-so-smooth transitions — something our resident blogger has seen on Android phones, tablets, e-readers and more, regardless of the hardware specs. The VAR Guy isn’t exactly sure why transitions and animations aren’t as silky smooth as his iPhone, but he finds it a bit displeasing. The Cius is no exception: Although the Cius clearly has no real software deficiencies, features such as pinch and zoom, animations between home pages or apps, scrolling and other visual cues, all still seemed a tad choppy.
But that doesn’t make the device slow, not by any means. In fact, the 1.6GHz Atom CPU inside is clearly chugging away like a champ, making all the apps super-responsive and super quick. Our resident blogger never waited for a single pop-over screen or menu item to load. Kudos to Cisco for that, because downtime is not an option in the high-paced business world.
The bottom of the device includes not one but two identical dock ports, a headphone jack and a mini-HDMI out. But why two dock ports? A reason exists for which The VAR Guy could not uncover, although one Cisco employee suggested it further stabilizes the Cius while in the dock. The VAR Guy believes it might be a connector for expanding the device in the future (e.g. multiple devices plugged into the Cius via the dock connectors). Cisco wasn’t talking about the future expandability of the device, though.
Here’s a one sentence conclusion for you: The Cius is durable, comfortable, simple, reliable, future-ready and worth the price tag, if you can afford it.
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