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Gigabyte GN-TB100 Android tablet hands-on

There's no denying that the tablet market is beginning to feel a little crowded, but Gigabyte feels that there's room for one more - specifically, its latest GN-TB100 Android-based device. We grab it and do a runner from the stand at CeBIT to see if it can offer something unique.

According to the official specs sheet, the Gigabyte GN-TB100 is a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 tablet, and while the CPU speed wasn't part of the information on offer it's most likely a 1GHz model - like Nvidia's popular Tegra 2 platform, in fact.

The most impressive feature of the tablet isn't its processor, however, but the display. Featuring a 10.1-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel with a resolution of 1280x800, it's a marvel - easily outperforming the iPad's smaller display. The device includes a multi-touch compatible capacitive surface, too, which was responsive and smooth during our brief test.

Sadly, there's some bad news coming up: Gigabyte has decided to eschew Android 3.0 'Honeycomb,' Google's latest - and tablet-centric - version of its mobile platform in favour of the by now outdated Android 2.2 'Froyo.' While that means that you get the performance improvements, ability to install apps to an SD card, and support for Adobe's Flash within the browser that 2.2 introduced, it's missing some of the more advanced features that come with Honeycomb.

One feature it isn't missing, however, is video calling. With a five megapixel camera on the rear and a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front, it's got plenty of shooting power - although the size of the sensor on both suggests that low-light photography isn't going to be its strong suit.

There's a trick up the GN-TB100's sleeve, too - or rather, on its side. Turn the tablet over, and you'll find some additional connectivity options missing from many tablets on the market - the key one being a mini-HDMI port for outputting HD video to a compatible display device.

Several models based on the GN-TB100 are expected to hit the market, ranging from 2GB to 32GB internal flash storage and featuring 3G, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity. All models will have the same weight - a pretty chunky 750g - but Gigabyte wasn't keen to share pricing information.