Inside the unit is a rechargeable battery, which when fully charged offers three hours of TV or video playback, or 10 hours of audio playback – a very respectable amount of time by portable player standards. For audio playback there’s a small built-in speaker, but we predict you’ll be better off using headphones.
After turning the unit on, you’re greeted by a charming splashscreen showing the word August over a green field and bright blue sky, followed by an initial install screen where you can punch in your country and preferred language.
Hit Menu and a blue box appears, listing the different types of content available (digital TV, movie, music, photo etc) next to a box showing the current TV channel. The various folders and setup menus are all clearly presented, which makes it very easy to find the content you’re looking for and to change the settings. You can change the picture’s aspect ratio to fill the 4:3 screen and tweak the screen’s brightness, contrast, hue and saturation levels. You can even change the colour of the onscreen menus.
Everything is controlled using those silver buttons on the front, with the channel and volume buttons doubling up as the up/down/left/right keys and there’s an Enter key at the bottom. You have to press these really hard for your commands to register and their arrangement feels a bit cumbersome, but after prolonged use you get used to it.
Inside the unit is a range of EQ modes for audio playback (Classic, Rock, Jazz, Pop) and some surround effects that mimic concerts, churches and other strange environments. You’ll also find a couple of games embedded in the unit including Box Man and Tetris, the latter proving really tricky with those unresponsive buttons but provides a welcome bit of nostalgia.
As for digital TV, the unit offers most of the stuff you’d find on a regular Freeview receiver. There’s an EPG which doesn’t stretch to 7 days but shows you the current day’s worth of programmes. It’s surprisingly easy to follow, listing the channels down the left and the programmes down the right, with live TV playing in the background. Elsewhere there’s teletext and multi-audio support and a little now/next banner appears when you change channel. August also says that you can watch TV while travelling at up to 180km/h and still get a good signal.