A terrible thing happened in the middle of our Telstra T-Touch Tab review: Samsung delivered the Galaxy Tab and we finally had something to compare Telstra's budget model tablet next to. Needless to say, the T-Touch didn't fare well.
Without wanting to sound too childish, the T-Touch Tab is U.G.L.Y. (it ain't got no alibi). Though perfectly functional, the placement of the fixtures and the choice of finishes shouldn't have Apple's prized designers losing any sleep. On the back of the T-Touch is a stainless steel slab covering the battery, a 2-megapixel camera and a handy kick-stand. Around the edges you'll find a range of ports, including a proprietary pin socket for the non-standard charger, a separate micro-USB port for data transfers, plus a thin docking port (which is apparently for peripherals that may not actually exist at this time).
At 500 grams, the T-Touch is between the heft of Samsung's 380-gram Galaxy Tab and the slightly cumbersome 780-gram Apple iPad. Its 7-inch screen provides good real estate, even though it isn't as wide as Samsung's similar-sized tablet display. But it's not the size we're concerned with, it's the lousy picture this screen displays; in fact, the poor quality of this screen is one of the major deal-breakers for us. On paper this screen appears well-specced: its the right size, it has a WVGA resolution, but in reality this is a dismal touchscreen. The colours in the image are dull and lacks charm, even on maximum brightness it still looks washed out.
Manufacturer Huawei has opted for resistive touch technology for this tablet. Mind you, it's not the "nearly as good as capacitive" kind, but rather the kind you have to press firmly to have the software respond — the kind that is likely to give you friction burns when you swipe from screen to screen. There is a stylus sheathed into the back of the phone, but honestly, who wants to use a stylus these days?
For AU$299, the T-Touch is a well featured device. It runs on Android 2.1, and though it's unlikely to receive a Froyo update, it does a decent job of keeping the user engaged with decent performance in the menus and apps. It sports a full suite of connectivity hardware, including the ubiquitous trio of HSDPA, Wi-Fi and A-GPS. It also has Bluetooth for connecting a wireless headset and allowing you to use the T-Touch as a phone.
The user interface is a custom-designed experience, featuring an obvious mixture of Huawei and Telstra. You have access to Telstra's range of BigPond content, and while this typically has phone-lovers rolling their eyes, we do have to say that the Foxtel experience is pretty great. The user interface is split into five pre-named home screens, plus the standard Android app drawer. There is a handful of custom widgets, but nothing to write home about.
The rest of this tablet is mostly standard Android, including the multimedia experience. Media lovers will make use of the MP3 player and video player supporting MP4 and H.264. Telstra includes a 2GB microSD card with the T-Touch, and while this will be sufficient for the majority of punters, serious music lovers will need to fork out extra for a larger memory card.