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View Full Version : Augen GenTouch78 Disappoints

Chris Gohlke
08-04-2010, 11:30 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://networkedblogs.com/6uEOi' target='_blank'>http://networkedblogs.com/6uEOi</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"When buying discount electronics, there's a delicate balance consumers have to consider between expense and quality. If a device doesn't cost much, some faults can be forgiven. Sometimes, however, it's not worth even the small amount of money you forked over for it. Sadly, Augen's $149 GenTouch78 falls in the latter category. While it may achieve cult status in the Android hacker community, consumers should steer clear of its frustrating resistive touchscreen and poor button placement."</em></p><p><em><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/lpt/auto/1280956998.usr10.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></em></p><p>My local Kmart fell through on their promise to have me one of these on Monday, so I haven't had the chance to play with one. &nbsp;Based on this review, they might have just saved me $149. &nbsp;While I was initially excited about this device, that fact that I'm probably going to have to wait a while to get one and still am going to be a bit disappointed with it makes me think I'd be better off being patient until the end of the year and hope that for a bit more cash I can get a much better product.</p><p><em></em></p>

The Yaz
08-06-2010, 07:01 AM

You've asked for some feedback on the Gentouch78. I did purchase it recently and its definitely a work in progress.

I think the biggest problem it has is the the version of Android 2.1 is really meant to be a phone operating system, and that focus carries through the whole Google experience. Since the software assumes its a phone, the hardware has to trick the software that there is a radio atenna (that does drain the battery!) and for installing apps, the marketplace looks for the Google ID for the phone (which it doesn't have so Marketplace is not working...).

On the positive side, the company that sells it, Augen, has been aggressive in fixing the bugs and has come forward with patches and updated roms as fast as the programmers can push them out.

Without doing an official review, let me give you an overview of what you're looking at if you purchase the Gentouch:

Things that work well:
Internet browsing- with a resolution of 800x480, the Gentouch (or GT) renders full webpages very well. It was nice not having to look at this site in mobile format :)

Email- I wa able to setup my work outlook, my Gmail, Aol, and Optimum mail (both POP3 and imap) quick and easy. Because its Google, Gmail does take precedence- being the first mail that the GT will actively sync when its connected to an IP.

Movies & Youtube- Both work fine as noted on the box.

Things that have gotten better:
Screen accuracy- When I first got the GT, it was not calibrated properly, making typing on the keys difficult. Augen recently pushed out a new rom that installs a calibration app. Now the problem is gone...

Restore- wasn't working, but now is available on the new rom.

An App Store- I'm just installing the app for a 3rd party app store provided by Augen. It's not the Android Marketplace that most Droid fans are used to, but the issue of it not being a phone is still a problem.

Things that are "unofficially better"
This is where the Android base reminds me of the early PocketPC days when we could install those tweak programs to change the clock speed of the processor or unlock 802.11g on the motherboard radio.

Using guidlines available at many Android sites, the GT can be reconfigured with additional programs to run at a higher clock speed with the deletion of some unnecessary directories has led to claims of a much faster experience. I'm not ready to do that yet, so I will wait for Augen to make some more updates.

Things that need to be better
Screen orientation- I bought this primarily to be my new ebook reader. Unfortunately the screen orientation cannot be changed. Augen is working on a fix.

No volume controls- This wouldn't be bad if there were virtual buttons to bring up on the screen. Instead its buried in the setup icon on the second screen which is a pain to toggle through.

Memory management- The box said there was 2gb of storage. The GT thinks it only has 284mb. Also when you install a micro sd card, the system screen reads it but it cannot be viewed as an attached drive. Augen is also working on these issues.

Battery life- off a full charge the GT can operate with wireless on for about 2.25 hours. There is a feature for an airplane mode to such the radio off. I would like to see how much more time the GT gets when the radio is shut.

Things you can't change
Button location- with four buttons on the back and the power on the site, the GT has a learning curve geting used to them.

Resistive screen-you have to get used to pushing to get the selection made. Its not meant to be action game :(

Mini USB port-the port cannot charge off usb. Can trickle charge when the GT is off.

2.5 headphone jack- self explanatory. Augen said they will offer headphones..

I like it. It does what I want; email, internet, movies, music, ebooks (soon), and games once I get the marketplace going. For $150, I feel it's a good value.

Steve :cool:

Chris Gohlke
08-06-2010, 12:33 PM
Thanks a bunch! I think you hit at all my questions. Sounds like you've given it a very fair shake with realisitc expectations for what it is. The thing that I find most encouraging is that they are actively pushing out updates to make the product better. Sounds like the definitely rushed to market (and given the difficulty in finding one, probably with limited production) but that might have been just to get some attention before the big boys come out with their products in the later part of the year. If I come across one, I still might consider picking one up, but like you, I was primarily considering this as an ereader, and with the recent Kindle price drop, I just ordered the Kindle version 3, so my need for an ereader just dropped off, but at $150 still might be fun for tinkering.

The Yaz
08-06-2010, 07:33 PM
You're welcome!

What I've enjoyed the most has been the internet experience. I didn't think it would matter, and I knew going in the GT was going to load slower than an iPad. Still I love panning through Facebook, twitter and my other favorite sites by dragging my thumb across the screen.

Same with emails. (Though in landscape mode you need to hold it in two hands.)

Also, the tech support staff has commented to other GT owners that drivers are being developed to read usb keys, mice & keyboards through the USB dongle. That would be an interesting value proposition in my mind.

Steve :cool:

Chris Gohlke
08-06-2010, 10:04 PM
OK, Kmart came through and I'm just starting to play with it, how do I get the update and market app that you mentioned?

Chris Gohlke
08-07-2010, 12:02 AM
Did you attempt to connect to the google marketplace? Did it automatically attempt to update a lot of "adult" sounding apps?

Chris Gohlke
08-07-2010, 04:45 PM
Found and installed the OS update. Can't find this app store that you mentioned.

Chris Gohlke
08-07-2010, 05:12 PM
Figured that out too, they could probably label their stuff a little better, but hey I guess I should be glad they are vigorously updating it.

Chris Gohlke
08-07-2010, 05:49 PM
Update, yes they have an app store, but it is pretty much worthless. I'm experimenting with sideloading apps on it now. I was able to load a Kindle .apk that I found on the web onto it with no problem, BUT I don't really want to put my Amazon ID and password into an program I downloaded off a random site. I can't find a way to get the .apk through official channels. Also, this is the $3 solution to the 2.5 mm headphone jack - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001078FV8/ref=ox_ya_os_product

So far I think it makes a pretty nice browsing tablet and the screen is a good size for watching movies. Probably worth the $150 right there. If they get the Android market working (which they are committing to do) I'd have no problem recommending this product to anyone who doesn't mind a few rough edges. I look at this as appealing to the same people that the original Eee PC did, sure it had flaws, but being new and different and cutting edge always does.

The Yaz
08-08-2010, 06:20 AM

I'm sorry I did not check back yesterday! If you go to the bottom of the corporate site www.Augenus.com there is the latest update link for the new rom & calibration app. For further program solutions go to xda developers. They have a forum setup for the gt.

Glad you were able to get one too...

Steven :)