Elonex eTouch 1000ET

20 Apr

Available from Toys R Us and Asda, the eTouch seems designed to lure shoppers into thinking they’re getting something like an IPad for much less. Only once you get hands-on does the truth sink in. Silver plastic is no substitute for brushed aluminum, and there’s a worrying give on the corners of the front panel. At £1 BO inc VAT, this should be expected.

And it does have good points. It’s a fairly lightweight 695g and, unlike its fruity inspiration, connectivity is pretty good. On the bottom there’s a mini-USB port to transfer files between the device and a PC, plus a full-sized USB 2 port for connecting a keyboard, mouse or USB Memory Stick. On the right-hand side there’s a microSD slot, along with a proprietary network port that works with an optional Ethernet adapter.

The eTouch electronic gadgets can handle HD video playback, with our test 720p H.264 trailers running without a stutter. It can also be transformed into a kind of laptop, as the optional case incorporates a netbook-sized keyboard. While it runs on Android 2.1 with minimal customization, you do get access to the Android Market.

The doom and gloom starts with the screen. The 1,024 x 600 display is dim and fuzzy. More seriously, it’s resistive. Selecting apps and pressing keys is more prodding than tapping, and scrolling through web pages or selecting individual links is a challenge.

There’s more trouble with software. The operating system doesn’t seem stable on the hardware, and there are regular pauses, even if only for a second.

Finally, battery life of these electronic gadgets is miserable. A tablet should support hours of browsing, but it lasts for only around three hours of active use, and if left in standby will run out in about six. It seems a tempting impulse buy, but we advise you move along the aisle and don’t look back.

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