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Time2Touch HC701A review

The Time2Touch HC701A Android tablet is relatively inexpensive, but does it do a good job or are there too many compromises on show?

The main problem with low cost Android tablets is their general specifications which can be somewhat on the low side. Before we take a look at those, though, we want to highlight one feature of the Time2Touch HC701A that we really like and would like to see on all Android.

You get a microUSB to USB cable in the box and to this we were able to attach a USB memory stick. From it we were able to stream music and video with no problems at all. There’s a file explorer app on board which makes getting around the contents of a USB stick easy. This opens up a whole new set of possibilities as far as data storage and access to files is concerned, and it is great to have the cable provided so you can be up and running straight away.

Even better for some, we also attached (separately) a mouse and a keyboard. The mouse activates a tiny cursor on screen, and the keyboard can be used to type out any text you need. This simple, easy solution turns the Time2Touch HC701A into a tablet you can use for serious data input. We can’t see why you shouldn’t be able to attach a unified wireless dongle for both mouse and keyboard if you have that setup to hand.

These factors alone may be enough to draw you to the Time2Touch HC701A but there is more of interest here. True, the device runs Android 2.2 and not Honeycomb, but it does have access to the full Android Market, which isn’t something that can be said for every Android-based tablet at the lower end of the price list.

And it has a 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual core processor. This ensures it moves along at a pretty good speed. We found the processor, in combination with the responsive capacitive touch screen made the Time2Touch HC701A probably the most rewarding to use low cost Android tablet we have seen.

Of course not everything is wonderful. Sound output is on the tinny side and it distorts at the highest volume. The provided headphones are atrocious, and a good pair of our own did nothing much to improve sound quality. But there are two small speaker outlets on the short top edge, and as far as we can tell with our own ears these actually provide stereo output.

There’s no 3G support here, though it is potentially an option in a later release, as there is what looks like a SIM card slot under a somewhat flimsy cover on the left long edge of the chassis. As it is, your only option for remote data access is Wi-Fi. Support for 802.11 b g and n are here, though.

That flimsy cover also protects a microSD card slot, and you can use these to expand on the 4GB of built in storage. This memory expansion option is in addition to the USB stick of course. There is HDMI output too, though no cable is provided for this.

The 7 inch screen’s 800 x 480 pixels pale beside 1024 x 600 of the 7-inch HTC Flyer and Samsung Galaxy Tab, nor does the overall build do the Time2Touch HC701A many favours. The black plastic of the chassis is fairly solid, though there is a join down the long edge which houses the microSD card slot that looks a little vulnerable. The shiny black back is a fingerprint magnet, and the dimensions are somewhat chunky because the chassis is a little thick. But all this is set off by the fact that you get a neat little envelope style carrying case with the Time2Touch HC701A.

The camera is disappointing too, being a front facing 1.3 megapixel offering with no flash and minimal controls. Battery life is rated at 6.5 hours of movie playback, and we found ourselves able to go for a couple of days between charges if we were reasonably frugal.