Costing just $299, Telstra's T-Touch Tab is the first budget-priced tablet released in Australia. While the Apple iPad, Dell Streak and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab could be described as competitors, their higher price means the T-Touch Tab is effectively alone as an affordable, entry-level tablet that doesn't skimp on too many features.
We've had a brief play with the 7in T-Touch Tab and were generally impressed. The device itself is based on the Huawei S7, with a few minor changes. Gone is the Huawei branding (replaced by the Telstra and Next G logos), while the rear mounted camera is just 2 megapixels (down from the S7's 3.2 megapixels).
The hardware is about what you would expect at this price point. The T-Touch Tab won't win any design awards, but feels sturdy enough and reasonably well constructed. It is actually a lot heavier than it looks. We particularly liked the flip-out stand on the rear which is great for watching videos, as well as the physical home, menu and back keys on the left side of the display. There are no loose parts, and the T-Touch Tab even has its own proprietary port at the bottom — Telstra says that this will allow future development of accessories, including docks, cases and chargers.
The weakest aspect of the Telstra T-Touch Tab is its 7in resistive touchscreen, which isn't as responsive as a capacitive screen. To be fair, once you get used to the fact that you require a bit more force to tap or swipe on the display, using the device doesn't pose too many issues. The resolution of 800x480 pixels makes text relatively crisp and a stylus is included (though we didn't feel the need to use it at all). Viewing angles aren't the best, and nor is legibility in sunlight — the screen is quite reflective. One annoyance is the fact the T-Touch Tab doesn't charge via USB, instead using a separate power connection.
Telstra has naturally customised the T-Touch Tab interface. The home screen is split into five tabs at the bottom of the screen — home, Web, entertainment, communications and favourites. You can customise each screen as you wish, including removing any Telstra widgets or shortcuts from the home screens and you can also uninstall most Telstra apps if you wish.
The Android notifications toolbar has also been modified — tapping the "i" button in the top-right corner brings down a split screen with notifications on the left and open tasks on the right. You can quickly close any open applications by pressing the "x" button next to the name of the app. The toolbar displays icons for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, screen brightness, 3G, mobile coverage and battery. Tapping on the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and screen brightness icon allows you to quickly adjust each setting, which is very handy.
The Telstra T-Touch Tab runs the 2.1 version of Google's Android operating system. As this hasn't been designed for a tablet, some apps may not display correctly — for example, the official Twitter app for Android won't display in landscape mode when you are on the main screen. Telstra confirmed the T-Touch Tab "should" be upgradeable to the latest 2.2 version of Android, but this version of the OS hasn't been designed with a larger screen in mind either.
Check back soon for a full review of the Telstra T-Touch Tab.