Yes, this device has been around for a few months now, but we wanted to play with it for a while before we gave you our opinion. When we first received the Augen GenTouch 78 Android tablet, we reminded ourselves to keep an open mind – to not be biased when reviewing this 7-inch tablet because of its tiny price tag of $179 and availability at Kmart.  However, it seems you get what you pay for…

With the Samsung Galaxy Tab already available on T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint and the future high-end Android tablets that will soon be unveiled at CES in early January, we had to remind ourselves that these basic tablets may not fit the needs of the tech savvy, but someone in the world will look at this tablet as the coolest thing they’ve ever played around with.

Before we get into the hands on, we would like to address the hardware and software of this device to give a better idea of what Augen is bringing to the table.

Specs

  • Android 2.1
  • 7-inch TFT resistive touch panel
  • 800×480 resolution
  • 800MHz CPU
  • 256MB RAM
  • 2GB internal memory
  • Expandable storage via micro SD up to 16GB
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)

What’s included

  • Augen GenTouch 78 tablet
  • User manual
  • Faux leather carrying case
  • USB cable
  • UL certified AC adapter

Who is Augen?

Augen, headquartered in Hollywood, FL is a rapidly expanding, consumer Electronics Company dedicated to bringing the latest in high-tech, affordable digital technology to the mainstream consumer market. Building on success since 2004, Augen successfully launched its own consumer electronics brand. Under its own brand name, Augen has been providing outstanding customer value through high quality, stylish design and added features coupled with best-in-class manufacturing.

The current product line-up includes: eReaders, Netbooks, and Internet Tablet PC’s. Strategic alliances with key design houses allow Augen to be first to market with exclusive rights to represent and act on behalf of its strategic partners. When combined with its cost effective manufacturing partners and precision supply chain management, the company is able to bring the latest innovations in digital technology to the consumer at competitive prices. Although we have our own brand of Augen, our alliance with leading manufacturers makes Augen the exclusive representative for new innovative technology brought to the mainstream market. This alliance allows Augen to provide ODM and OEM products to our business partners and superior satisfaction to the end consumers of our products globally.

Due to the company’s rapidly expanding sales, in the recent year Augen expanded its management team to create a powerhouse of sales, marketing and operations veterans. The company has also expanded its customer service and technical support teams in Florida to provide world-class service and support functions.

Augen utilizes a tiered distribution plan according to channels of trade for both product development and programming…


In addition to our commitment to the Consumer Electronics industry, Augen launched our newest brand “SunBright” line of LED lighting for the consumer and commercial markets. Our thirst for advanced technology with additional products due in 2010.


In the following review, we are going to break down the device into categories to try and highlight the different features so you can get an overall idea of what the Augen GenTouch 78 tablet has to offer.

Hardware

The Augen GenTouch 78 costs around $180 and of course, when it comes to mobile technology, again, you get what you pay for. This device is entirely made up of black plastic and has a built-in speaker on the back of the device. With the device turned over, screen down, you’ll find along the upper left-hand corner of the device, Augen has placed the four buttons which we’ve come to know and love on any Android device. The buttons are placed in the following order:  Back, Home, Search and Menu. On the upper right-hand corner of the device, you’ll notice the stylus holder molded into the back of the device, The stylus is shaped which keeps the back of the device smooth while the stylus is inserted.

Screen

As previously mentioned, the Augen GenTouch 78 tablet features a resistive touch panel with a resolution of 800×480 and for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of using a resistive touch panel versus capacitive, you sure aren’t missing out. Greater pressure is required to get the touch screen to respond to your touch.  The use of the stylus or fingernail improves the overall responsiveness, but if you consider yourself impatient, this tablet is not for you.

Software

The Augen GenTouch 78 tablet is running Android 2.1, which is surprising considering there are respectable handset manufactures still dishing out handsets running Android 1.6. Big plus in our book, and and we would have been shocked if this device was running Froyo. This tablet runs the stock Android UI.

Performance

This Android tablet features an 800Mhz CPU and after running the Quadrant Advanced benchmark application (which we had to sideload), this tablet comes in the bottom of the pack with a score of 218. This tablet is definitely not for the power user but the processor provides enough support for those looking for a basic eReader and will do what you need it to if you’re willing to put up with the resistive touch panel.

Market Access

The Augen GenTouch 78 did feature the Android Market application out of the box, but it’s hit or miss getting the application to install. Augen then released an update after a battle with Google that removed Market access. We recommend using a third-party app store or sideloading the applications. This tablet uses Wi-Fi connectivity only and we can say that NFLmobile doesn’t look half bad on this 7-inch display, although this tablet runs into constant issues running Angry Birds.

Build Quality

With the Augen GenTouch 78 Android tablet PC, we must account for price when considering the build quality of hardware and software. Although this device may not be very impressive to many of you power users out there, it should meet the needs of anyone just looking for a toy for the kids or wanting to try something new. This device feels solid without being heavy and can be held with one hand which offers more mobility. We’re sure if it were up to us, we would change a few physical features, but if you’re in the market for a tablet running Android 2.1  for less than $200, then the Augen GenTouch78 is the tablet for you. For the money you pay, it works.

Build Quality [rating:3] 3/5


Experience

After getting used to the resistive touch panel, this device is pretty stable and runs a live wallpaper with minimal lag, but if you start doing too much at once, you’ll soon be reminded to slow down and let the device catch up. We would consider this device ideal for reading an ebook or simply browsing the web, but not much more than that. The built-in speaker isn’t very impressive and soon becomes distorted when the media volume is set at only half way.

Experience [rating:3] 3/5

3 out of 5 stars

Overall

Depending on your ultimate goal of owning an Android tablet, you can decide if this tablet is right for you. The ideal user for this tablet would be someone who is patient, likes the basics while appreciative of the basic Android user interface. We have said before and we’ll say it again, the Augen GenTouch 78 is priced at $179.99 and is available at Kmart and as many of you already know, when it comes to mobile technology, you get what you pay for. With the attention this device received when it first hit the shelves, we’re curious to compare this tablet to the six rumored tablets that Augen has in store for us next year. We rated this device overall 2 out of 5 given what this tablet could be for the price at which it is currently being offered.

Overall [rating:2] 2/5

2 out of 5 stars

Custom ROMs

The Augen GenTouch 78 has quite a following, considering the entry-level aspect of this device and if you’re thinking of looking more into this Android tablet, be sure and check out the Augen GenTouch78 section in the AndroidSPIN forums for rooting guides and other ROMs and tweaks.


Is this a tablet you would be interested in?

  • semi-anonymous

    I bought one of these shortly after it was released. If you keep reminding yourself it’s a sub $200 tablet you’ll be okay. Mine is rooted and at home I use it mostly for eBook reading and podcast listening. In the office it’s great for email on our Exchange system, although I wish there was a better calendar app. The ConnectBot app makes a great terminal emulator for remotely checking on servers when I’m away from my desk. I also it for taking notes in meetings. Even the iPad snobs thought the 7 inches was a lot easier to handle than what they have.

    I’d suggest anyone that has this device check out http://augengentouch78.webs.com/ great site with a lot of useful info in getting around the Gentouch78’s shortcomings.

    Bob

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyhorsecock fick dich

    as long as there’s a usb port and the battery can last a full day, i would go for it, because i have a mytouch3g and for the mt3g i would really like a few things: better battery, physical keyboard, headphone jack. now, having 1ghz cpu and 1gb ram would be pretty decent, but for under $200, i actually think this is just what i was looking for. a bigger mytouch with more RAM, CPU, and internal ROM. i was extremely dissatisfied with the mytouch until upgrading to OTA froyo. been using custom roms the whole time and looking for something as fast as 1.5/1.6, but with the good features. 2.21 is just that, paired with OperaMini, I am content. before getting the new rom, i believed that all devices with specs below 1ghz and 512mb ram must blow. but i was wrong, just using the wrong ROMs. if a 528mhz cpu with 192mb RAM can be speedy, then i don’t see how i could be dissatisfied with an 800mhz tablet with 256mb ram so cheap, once rooted and running the proper OS. the only part of the specs i don’t see mentioned that matter to me are: method of interfacing via USB, Maximum SDHC supported, and 3.5mm headphone jack?. having a 7 inch screen, i would be much less frustrated typing. having 2GB of onboard storage, means i would never have to resort to Apps2SD. i am going to do some research now, and if i can’t find a 1ghz or higher tablet within a reasonable price range, I’m going to buy this junt.

  • Sammie Simmons

    hello,just wanted to say the device has been giving me alot og trouble for the last three weeks and the problem that i have been having is with the battery. It doesnt hold a full battery even if I i leaving on the charger all night and day it still will not even hold a half of battery. Its always dead and i havent even had it for over a year and its already getting me problems. sorry if i have broke some people hearts about this issue,but I just had to share.

  • griffin

    My grandma got me one of and it freezes with the little animal at the top ive tryed to reset but it wont does anybody know what I Can do?

  • http://groups.diigo.com/group/mkdpivwcvatqvyyuywtj/content/why-cheap-tablet-pc-uk-price-ranges-will-persist-shopping-for-a-cheap-tablet-pc-more-info-on-what-to-consider-4651577 Groups.diigo.Com

    cheers for the advice

  • Paula Brewer

    I purchased the 4gentouch 7 tablet 2-3 weeks ago. I’m having problem with the device locking in micro SD card and being recognized on my computer, and using the e reader app which is the reason for buying it. I’m having problem contacting technical support. Can you help me?