First, let's remind ourselves about the prices. The AndyPad is going to land at £129, the AndyPad Pro at £169, both with free delivery.
The devices have a common look and a lot of common internals. They're both white with AndyPad branding on the rear, they're both powered by RockChip 1.2GHz processors with 512MB RAM and they both have mini HDMI, microSD, microUSB, 3.5mm ports.
The base AndyPad has a 7" WVGA resistive screen however the AndyPad Pro has a 7" 1024x600 capacitive screen. The AndyPad has only a front facing camera whereas the AndyPad Pro has a rear camera too (2 Megapixels). The AndyPad Pro adds Bluetooth and has 16GB internal storage vs 8GB on it's cheaper sibling.
So, the base Andypad - first impressions of the device (the first time i've used a working unit) are, to be honest, a bit disappointing. Although the construction feels decent and the device is solid, the screen is a real letdown. To be fair the resistive touch panel is one of the more responsive units i've tried, but the lack of multitouch across all apps is immediately apparent (I can't zoom in Angry Birds for example). This is something that the AndyPad developers hope to fix with 'software multitouch' but it's a concern. Far more serious however are the viewing angles of the screen and the fairly washed out colours. If you've used an Advent Vega you know what i'm talking about, except it's possibly even worse. The screen is pretty unusable anything other than viewing straight on, which is a big problem. On the whole the device feels relatively snappy (although the ROM isn't final so it's far too early to comment on overall performance), the accelerometer is a nice feature as is the vibration motor. Video playback of a 1080P AVI seems to be excellent, particularly when output via HDMI to a monstrous LCD in the room. That I was impressed with.
Thankfully such screen problems are not an issue with the Pro device - it's 1024x600 screen is bright, clear and viewable from all angles. Multitouch works properly as you would expect. The device is marginally thicker in construction but a little different in styling with a flush screen, although it's still noticeably a relation to the cheaper AndyPad.
Both devices feature a number of popular apps, many of which will be preinstalled at launch (1st September), however there is no confirmation as yet as to which app Market will be included.
So, what does all this mean? Well, for me personally, I feel that the base AndyPad is a far less appealing proposition than it first appeared. While the AndyPad team are keen to emphasise the low price point, i'm concerned that the screen is just too much of a unacceptable compromise even at £129... but of course time will tell and as i'm sure someone will point out... i'm not the target market...? The AndyPad Pro is a far nicer device, but at £169 isn't quite the bargain that the base model is (although it's still good value) - competing devices are dropping in price all the time and I know a number of companies are gearing up to launch pretty compelling tablets at the sub £200 price point. In my ideal world there would be a single AndyPad at ~£150 with a capacitive screen (i'd happily lose the rear camera, bluetooth and 8GB of storage to hit that price)...
One unknown is the CPU - the new Rockchip chipset shows promise but i've yet to use one in anger personally, so i'll reserve judgement.
Again, i'll be posting more news as I get it (and I expect to have some test devices next week) after which i'll have a better overall view of the AndyPads.