The Time2Touch HC701A doesn’t feature a camera on the back, but it’s not a feature we miss. A 7in form factor may be more portable than a 10-incher, but it’s still not small enough to make using the tablet as a camera practical or desirable. There is, however, a user-facing camera, for use in apps and for video calling.
And yes, if you’re desperate it can be used to capture still photos and video. There’s no flash and no focus control though, so any results will be of limited quality. The 1.3-megapixel sensor is fairly high-res for a camera of this type – the iPad 2’s user-facing jobbie only captures images in VGA (640×480).
No apps are included to make use of this snapper, beyond the barebones camera app. The browser is the basic Android affair too – less advanced than the software seen in Gingerbread tablets. However, the browsing experience is very good at the price.
Flash 10.1 is supported, rendering of text and webpages is quick (as long as your connection is up to it) and the capacitive screen lets you use the pinch-to-zoom touch gesture. Browsing shows up the limitations of the screen though – the plastic screen screen covering has a mottling effect on areas of block colour such as websites’ backgrounds.
This limitation aside, it’s great. Typing two-thumbed in portrait mode is comfortable – accurate too thanks to the responsive capacitive touchscreen – and if the bookmarks and multi-window functionality of the built-in browser isn’t enough, there are alternatives on the Android Market. As a cheap sofa-bound web browser, it’s a near-complete success.
Bland packaging – but there’s more to like inside
We’ve covered most of the Time2Touch’s basics – its decent app support, its unoptimised core software, good-but-flawed video skills and browsing. But it’s also worth noting the behind-the-scenes features it offers that some rivals don’t. It has GPS, enabling the use of Google’s Navigation GPS app. Its mini USB socket has a host function, allowing you to use a standard USB keyboard or mouse with the help of the bundled mini-USB-to-female USB cable. It can even gain 3G mobile internet support with the help of a USB dongle.
The Time2Touch HC710A is pretty feature-packed. It’s a pity that its buggy software and less-than-stellar display seek to spoil the experience. At present, this tablet is easily the best-specced Android tablet you can get for the price, but with prices continually falling and Archos’s G9 80 on the horizon – which runs the tablet-optimised Honeycomb OS – our giant foam “recommendation” thumbs have to stay at half-mast for now. However, Time2Touch has told us that a bug-fix update is on the way, and that an Android 2.3 update is in the works. We won’t hold our breath, but that makes this tablet worth keeping an eye on.
Given its no-name origins, the Time2Touch 7in tablet impresses. Its core specs are excellent for a sub-£200 tablet, the capacitive screen is responsive and connectivity is perfectly decent. However, it’s not without a serious budgetary compromise or two. The Android software hasn’t been optimised for the device, resulting in many more bugs and glitches than you’d see in a big-name Android device, and the display quality is average. We’d recommend waiting to see what Archos delivers with the G9 80, but this tablet far outclasses most of its small-manufacturer rivals.
Score in detail
Battery Life 7