The Time2Touch proves the old adage that you get what you pay for. It's a decent enough 7in tablet for tasks such as surfing the web over Wi-Fi, and the price makes it excellent value, but it lacks 3G support and the HDMI output was barely usable on our unit.
Inexpensive, lightweight, reasonable specifications
No built-in 3G, HDMI output almost useless, embedded battery
7in 800x480 touch-screen, ARM 1GHz Cortex A9 dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, microSD slot for flash cards up to 32GB, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2-megapixel front camera, HDMI output, USB port with host/slave support
The Time2Touch HC701A is a low-cost 7in tablet based on the Android platform, aimed at people wanting to surf the web, use social networks and access games, movies and music without having to sell out for a premium-priced device like the iPad 2.
Available now, the Time2Touch is relatively lightweight at 340g and about the same size as a paperback. The 7in device runs Android 2.2, all for a price tag of just £179 including VAT.
This makes it a tempting prospect for anyone casting covetous glances at the iPad 2 or Samsung's Galaxy Tab. In fact, the Time2Touch seems like an excellent choice for those seeking a highly portable device to surf the web and carry their digital music.
However, there is always a catch with low-cost alternatives, and in this case it's the lack of built-in 3G wireless. Buyers can only surf the web when a Wi-Fi network is available, via a Bluetooth link to a smartphone, or by paying extra for a 3G dongle that hangs off the side.
This is all the more mysterious since the Time2Touch has a slot just the right size and shape to take a mobile SIM on its bottom edge. The User Guide also specifically mentions an 'internal 3G module option', but Time2 does not sell the tablet with this configuration. Users should not place their SIM into this slot as they will not be able to retrieve it.
Despite this disappointment, the Time2Touch is otherwise quite a decent tablet for the price. It is based on a 1GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor and hence feels pretty responsive in use. It has 4GB of built-in flash storage, so you can load music or take photos straight out of the box (many Android devices need an extra Flash card for this), plus you can expand the storage up to 32GB via a microSD card slot.
The 7in 800x480 display seems pretty decent too, although nowhere near as good as more upmarket tablets such as the HTC Flyer, which looked much sharper and brighter when we compared it side-by-side with the Time2Touch. It should be noted that the Flyer also carries a considerably higher price tag, starting at around £480 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model.
Other features of note include a mini HDMI connector (HDMI type C) that lets users connect the Time2Touch to a HDTV or monitor, and a mini USB port that allows the tablet to act as a host or slave device. A pair of adapter cables - one with a male connector and one with a female - is provided to support both uses.
The latter means that the USB port can be used to connect the tablet to a PC for loading files or synchronisation, or conversely to use peripheral devices such as memory sticks with the Time2Touch.
You can even connect a USB keyboard for more comfortable typing, although we found this worked only with some of the PC keyboards we tried out, and you also need to prop up the tablet so you can read the screen while typing.