British firm, Elonex has gone down the budget tablet route, and developed a device that brings ‘simple’ to a market that is still relatively unknown to newcomers in the tech world. While it has a striking resemblance to the Apple iPad, the similarities end with the ‘almighty one’ once you get inside. Of course, the Elonex eTouch wasn’t born to appeal to hardcore gadget fans or to impersonate the iPad itself. Instead, it intends to open the door for those who want to give tablets a good go without sacrificing their hard earned cash to see what the fuss is all about.
As we already mentioned, the eTouch tablet does appear to have taken a leaf out of the iPad’s book when it comes to dressing itself. The smooth 7 inch front panel is only broken up by an Apple style ‘home’ button with a power and volume control on the side creating a modern minimalist look. However, we had to knock off a few style points when we saw all the other connections crammed onto the bottom of the tablet. It just looked a bit messy, although we can imagine Elonex may have put everything else there in order to keep the sides and top of the tablet clutter free, which in the grand scheme of things are the parts of the device we’re more likely to see when it’s held.
The first indication that we’re not dealing with the tablet worlds finest is the eTouch’s plastic covering. Elonex has successfully smartened it up with a silver colour scheme and the plastic build no doubt helps to keep the weight off, as this particular tablet tips the scales at just 350 grams making it one of the lightest ones available. Unlike its 10 inch sibling, the 7 inch Elonex eTouch is a lot easier to carry around, but the plastic casing is bound to feel the strain of travelling around after a while as it isn’t the sturdiest material. Elonex has addressed this potential problem though and designed a keyboard case, which is available as an optional extra, to keep the eTouch in good shape.
The eTouch packs a LED resistive touchscreen with a resolution of 800 x 400. While we’re more used to seeing capacitive touchscreens on tablets, this display spec keeps the price down and it still produces more than acceptable picture quality for everyday use.
Power and Operating System
The eTouch tablet is powered by Elonex’s own ARM LNX Code 9 processor, which provides a nicely paced running speed for those who want to idly browse the web. Gadget fans may not be particularly impressed by the eTouch having one of the earliest additions of Android, version 1.6 but it provides the perfect introduction to operating systems for users who want to find their feet. Elonex has already placed some pre-loaded apps onto the eTouch including YouTube, Documents To Go, an email client and a range of media apps including a gallery, music and video player. There’s access to the Android Marketplace available too, with three homescreens to customise with apps and shortcuts.
Internet: There’s an Android WebKit browser on the eTouch and the 7 inch display sets a decent sized stage to view web pages on the go.
The Elonex eTouch tablet only has Wi-Fi connectivity which could prove problematic if you can’t find a hot-spot. It also took a couple of goes to stabalise a connection too, as even when we stayed in the same place the eTouch seemed to take issue with keeping ties with our Wi-Fi. At the same time, the convenience of 3G connectivity would raise the price tag and let’s not forget that you can pick one of these up for an extremely cheap price, butwith there being an increased amount of Wi-Fi hotspots popping up all over the UK (including some underground transport services), you should be able to find an internet connection with little hassle.
Other Tech Specs:
- 2GB Flash plus 128MB of RAM.
- MicroSD card slot
- MicroUSB 2.0 port
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- 3.5 hours battery life
Our biggest concern with the Elonex eTouch 7 inch tablet is the plastic design. While its small size and light weight makes it an ideal travelling companion, we think that being carried about could take its toll on the fragile casing. Although you can accessorise the eTouch with a case, it should still be built to last without needing extra protection.
The Elonex eTouch gives a literal meaning to cheap but cheerful, having the basic yet essential functions of a tablet. It’s great for anyone after simple, to the point functionality in a compact design that can join you for the ride without weighing you or your wallet down.