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Old 07-31-2010, 07:45 PM   #1
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Gentouch Unboxing





Okay, funny story...

Phenomshel wanted to go to the nearest (to us) KMart to look at the Augen e-book reader. It's nice, and for the price it's really nice. The Gentouch was next to it; they had 4 in stock. I said something along the lines of "Not bad", reasoning that I might pick one up in a month or so, depending on whether I want to up my Tour to a Bold 9650 (and make money on my Tour) or spring for the Droid X.

Then we got home and got online. Oops.

I found out they apparently were just released today and KMarts in major metro areas were running out of these within hours. I looked at Shel and said, "Umm, I think we need to go back."

These are just the pics I happen to have in my Tour right now; there will be more and I will review the device for my site sometime this weekend. I see much hacking in my future, as if I didn't do enough of that already.
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:06 PM   #2
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Okay, funny story...

Phenomshel wanted to go to the nearest (to us) KMart to look at the Augen e-book reader. It's nice, and for the price it's really nice. The Gentouch was next to it; they had 4 in stock. I said something along the lines of "Not bad", reasoning that I might pick one up in a month or so, depending on whether I want to up my Tour to a Bold 9650 (and make money on my Tour) or spring for the Droid X.

Then we got home and got online. Oops.

I found out they apparently were just released today and KMarts in major metro areas were running out of these within hours. I looked at Shel and said, "Umm, I think we need to go back."

These are just the pics I happen to have in my Tour right now; there will be more and I will review the device for my site sometime this weekend. I see much hacking in my future, as if I didn't do enough of that already.
Uhhh, Can't see your pics!
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:17 PM   #3
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Uhhh... no idea why, they're showing up here? PM me and I'll email them to you if you want.
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Old 08-01-2010, 01:58 PM   #4
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Uhhh... no idea why, they're showing up here? PM me and I'll email them to you if you want.
Thanks Shel, I tried with IE and Firefox, no joy??? I'll just wait for devilsadvocate's review.

edit- I also broke out my netbook, and connected it to my cell phone wireless access point with Sprint instead of my cable modem. Still no pics.

I'm not sure what's up with that, two different computers, two different broadband connections, two different firewalls; same results!

Last edited by wodin; 08-01-2010 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 08-01-2010, 02:32 PM   #5
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What's REALLY odd is they are showing up in your first reply! Anyway, I've emailed them to you
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:11 PM   #6
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Thanks Shel, I tried with IE and Firefox, no joy??? I'll just wait for devilsadvocate's review.
Yeah, about that review...

It might be a little while, turns out these things have major driver issues e.g. not picking up or showing up as a USB device, no way to sync/align the touchscreen, downloads fail in the App Market, and screen orientation is broken. They rushed these things out bigtime; some of them appear to still run a development copy of Android-2.1. I'm on the fence with it now, waiting a week to see if they get everything working the way it's supposed to and returning it if they don't. It's probably really usable as an ebook reader but for that price you can have one of the Big Three.

I don't want to do a review of something like this when they obviously didn't intend for it to be released in this condition; I'll give them a chance to make it worth the US$150 I paid for it.

For Wodin and anyone else who couldn't see the pics:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/pic...pictureid=3143

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/pic...pictureid=3144

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/pic...pictureid=3145

Don't know why they didn't show; they're in my album. Again, they're not the greatest, but I'll worry about that if I decide to keep it.

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Old 08-02-2010, 12:18 AM   #7
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Just a FYI, but it looks like it's going to get CyanogenMod 6 (which is Froyo/2.2) at some point soon...

Phandroid

I'll likely pick one up next payday if I can swing it..
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:24 AM   #8
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I'm still waiting for my local KMart store(s) to get stock. I've got a raincheck at one but when I called today just to check if they had gotten anything in yet, I talked to two different associates and neither had any idea what I was talking about. I called another store in the area (that won't honor my raincheck at the first store, and since the sale is over wouldn't let me put in a raincheck with them for the sale price) and the guy I talked to was aware of the product but didn't think they'd have any for another week or two.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:11 PM   #9
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I took it back.

Too many problems that shouldn't have been problems by the time it was released. I had to take the blasted thing apart to insert/remove the SD card. Augen didn't move fast enough to correct the problems with screen orientation, the USB driver fix still didn't solve the issue, and even though I have Android-x86 with which I could have gotten .apks and sideloaded them (maybe), they should have made fixing Android Market one of their highest priorities. From what I'd seen, these came out with whatever build of Eclair they happened to use to test that particular unit that day. This isn't about Android, this is about rushing to market in search of profit.

Maybe next time.

Here's what I worry about: I dig Android; it has a huge amount of potential (one good thing I can say about the Gentouch is it motivated me to find Android plugins for my NetBeans IDE), but I know better. KMart's average buyer won't have that understanding, and this may well be the first Android device they try. If it motivated me to return it (and I tweak stuff like that just on GP, just ask my wife), I can only imagine how it could sour Joe Average on Android in general, with the less tech-inclined still not able to separate hardware from software.

On the bright side, I just got that much closer to getting a Droid X or Incredible.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:55 PM   #10
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I think it was K-Mart’s fault that they rushed to market. When they released (lost control of) that flyer, Augen really didn’t have much choice than to ship a less than mature product. To their credit, it looks like they’re working double shifts to address the problems. The next few weeks will tell.

It’s a real shame that sometimes too much success can kill a small company.
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:26 PM   #11
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I think it was K-Mart’s fault that they rushed to market. When they released (lost control of) that flyer, Augen really didn’t have much choice than to ship a less than mature product. To their credit, it looks like they’re working double shifts to address the problems. The next few weeks will tell.

It’s a real shame that sometimes too much success can kill a small company.
That could very well be, but the issue goes deeper than that if my experience at this store is any indication. Granted we're not in a booming metropolis (the town in which this store is located is good for maybe ~18,000 population), but the girl at the customer service counter (who was as helpful & friendly as possible) mentioned that she was planning on getting one with her next paycheck and was grateful for what I'd told her about it. Shouldn't retailers know something about what they're selling? Realistically, if KMart said "ship or die", Wally-World or Target could have gotten a fire-sale deal on a more mature product.

Also, AndroidSpin is saying there was a "problem with the manufacturer" and that the whole train was ground to a halt until September. Whoever has a raincheck might well be getting something that was already returned once. Last I heard, KMart doesn't have the pull in retail anymore to do this kind of stuff.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:18 PM   #12
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On the bright side, I just got that much closer to getting a Droid X or Incredible.
I've got the Inc, and played with the X, and I don't think you'll be disappointed with either of them. I've played a bit with the Nook software on my Inc, and it's screen is clear enough on text, and was sharp an clear (but I still prefer my Jetbook for my reading).
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:00 AM   #13
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I got mine

Sometimes it pays to be persistent. After getting a rain check, I was told that the local Kmart would be getting stock last week. I kept checking with the store all last week, but no Gentouch. Last night, on a whim, I drove over there again.

The head of the electronics dept. told me he didn't have any and didn't know when/if they would get any. He also told me that if they did have any, that someone would have called me, as I had a rain check.

I asked him to check the computer to see if any arrived on the last supply truck. Instead, he disappeared into the stock room. Several minutes later, he is at the register with a Gentouch in hand. Says he only found the one. Sometimes being persistent and annoying pays off

After a brief charge, I played around with the unit a bit last night. I will be applying the recently released patches and doing a more thourough test over the next few days. Today was wasted, as I was ill.

Below are my initial impressions so far. I'll have more to add later.

Although the case is all plastic, the build quality looks good. I know some othes complained of bad fitting pieces, but I put this down to typical Chinese OEM quality control. Admittedly, I only have a sample of one, but this thing looks to be better made than many Chinese made products in this price range.

As for overall quality, a good comparison would be to my jetBook. When it first came out, some here called it a piece of plastic crap. Now there seem to be many happy jetbook owners about (me included). I find the Gentouch to be built as well as the jetbook, which cost me more money.

My only real complaint about the physical design or fit of this device is the MicroSD slot. The cutout for the slot is too deep (front to back). When I first put in a card, I put it into the space between the card socket and the plastic case. Thankfully, it didn't fall inside. I managed to pry it out and insert it properly. The metal contacts on the card face towards the screen. The card slot is all the way forward, toward the screen. The card socket sits slightly below the cutout, so you will probably need something smaller than your finger to push the card in until it latches (clicks).

I would have preferred a full-size SD card, instead of a Micro-SD. As large as this tablet is, an SD could have been used.

Some have said that the back gets hot, near the battery. While charging, the back did get warm (not hot). When running on battery, I did not notice that it was particularly warm.

Being a former Nokia N800 user, I found the response of the resistive screen to be quite good. I thought it was more sensitive than the N800 was. One of the recently released patches is supposed to make this even better. I'll let you know. True, you will not be using a gosamer light touch as some claim for a capacitive screen (I haven't tried one of those yet). However, I had no trouble with using a quick flick of my finger to do page turns while reading a book.

As for the software not being what it should, that is true. Someone did rush this thing out. The recently released patches do address some of these issues. The patches that address USB connectivity to a PC don't help me, as I have Win7, 64 bit. There are supposed to be 64 bit versions released mid month. In the mean time, I'll try things on a laptop with WinXP.

I don't want to give the impression that the Android software is totally useless. In fact, most things work just fine. Once the Market, USB, rotation and other little issues get fixed, things will be quite useable.

There is one small annoyance, but it may be that Android is supposed to work this way. This is my first Android device, so I'm not sure. The icons for WiFi, battery, etc at the top of the screen don't seem to be overly useful. Sure, they change color to indicate state, but they don't seem to do anything else. On my N800 and on previous Win Mobile devices, tapping or pressing on such status icons would either pop up with additional information (battery charge %) or take you to the settings for that device. On this tablet, I get none of that. Is this normal?

I haven't done a battery test yet. Last night, after a quick charge, I read for about two hours and the battery icon still showed all green. Of course, I don't know how accurate that icon is. I plan on testing the runtime after a full charge. Stay tuned.

That's it for now.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:26 PM   #14
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There is one small annoyance, but it may be that Android is supposed to work this way. This is my first Android device, so I'm not sure. The icons for WiFi, battery, etc at the top of the screen don't seem to be overly useful. Sure, they change color to indicate state, but they don't seem to do anything else. On my N800 and on previous Win Mobile devices, tapping or pressing on such status icons would either pop up with additional information (battery charge %) or take you to the settings for that device. On this tablet, I get none of that. Is this normal?
The top bar, usually called the top drawer, can be dragged down to show status of the various notifications (email, SMS, app installations, etc.) that appear on the left side of the drawer. Since this is not a phone, you probably don't have any notifications, so all it will show you is the date.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:50 PM   #15
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After using a WinXP laptop to update the software on the Gentouch, I installed Aldiko, FBReader and a few other apps.

I will say that the way the internal memory and the MicroSD card are handled is a bit strange. First, unlike most devices that attach to a PC via USB, you have to load drivers to see the storage. It does not use the standard Mass Storage Driver. I know some cameras and such also require drivers, but it is annoying.

The second annoyance regarding USB use is that you have to manually "mount" both the internal memory and the MicroSD card before they will show up in Windows. I guess this is just the way Android does things. My old N800 didn't require this extra step (or drivers), so it's not a Linux thing in general.

Both Aldiko and FBReader work fine. I do wish Aldiko supported more than just epub, so I didn't have to use two different programs. I haven't located a good PDF reader yet, so that will make it three programs for reading.

As far as reading with Aldiko, I like it very much. The page turns require only a very light swipe of the finger. No heavy pressing needed.

I have been reading with Aldiko for about 1.5 hours on battery. If the remaining percentage indicator is accurate, this would extrapolate out to 6.8 hours of battery life. We'll see how close I get to this.

After using this tablet for a number of hours, I can't really fault the hardware. Considering the price, this is quite a lot of hardware. The software OTOH needs work. Augen hasn't yet released all of the promised patches, so I'm expecting things to get better. Some of the issues have to do with the fact that until recently, Android has been a phone OS. It still needs some tweaking to make it a better fit for tablets.

So far, I think I'll keep this until something better comes along that is also affordable. Under $200 or so is a real sweet spot for the average consumer.
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