I’ve had a little more time to play with the Augen GenTouch78 Android tablet, and here’s the deal: It’s a mixed bag. You can check out my hands-on video after the break, but here’s the short version:

On the one hand the build quality is pretty decent and the tablet feels good in the hand. It has a decent looking display and runs Android 2.1.

On the other hand, entering text or even tapping on icons with the resistive touchscreen display is a bit of a chore. The memory card slot reads “TF card,” which should mean TransFlash and which should support microSD cards. But when I tried inserting a microSD card, it fell into the slot and almost got lost before I grabbed a pair of tweezers to free it. I’ll try again later in case I was putting the card in the wrong way, but I’m going to hold off until I have a spare microSD card that I’m willing to lose.

Update: Impatience got the better of me and I tried inserting the 4GB microSD card from my phone again. It turns out it does fit, but you have to line it up very carefully or it will fall into a gap. Once the SD card was loaded, I was able to successfully install an app using the APK installer file that was stored on the memory card.

The tablet does support Google Apps and comes preloaded with Google Maps, Google Calendar, Gmail, and the Android Market. But you can’t actually install any apps using the Android Market. Augen says a software fix for this should be available soon.

Overall, I haven’t decided whether I can in good conscience recommend this tablet yet. It can run Android apps — but text input is painfully slow and inaccurate compared with the experience on most Android powered phones. Once you set up the web browser with bookmarks for your favorite sites, that might matter too much since you might not need to enter text too often. But I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time composing email messages on this device.

Some apps also take a ridiculously long time to run. For instance, toward the end of the video below you can see what happens when I try to launch the YouTube app. Once it’s up and running, videos look great on the 7 inch display. But it felt like an eternity passed between the time I pressed the YouTube button and the time the video browser opened.

The display is also stuck in landscape mode — which would be fine if there weren’t some apps that were clearly designed for use in portrait mode. I’m guessing there’s a third party utility somewhere that will let you rotate the display. But out of the box there’s no way to rotate the screen by tilting the display or pressing a button.

Oh, and I was very surprised to see a Skype icon on the home screen. Once I signed in with my Skype credentials, I tried to place a VoIP call to a friend — only to receive a message saying my carrier doesn’t support voice calls. Of course, this tablet is WiFi only and there is no carrier. My guess is that Augen just snagged the Skype app that’s already available for Verizon-based Android phones and threw it on here without bothering to make sure it was fully functional. On the bright side, you can send instant messages to your SKype contacts…

Now for some video.

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36 replies on “Closer look at the Augen GenTouch78 user interface”

  1. My Gentouch78 won’t turn on now either. It was working fine last night, I left it plugged in overnight to charge and now it’s dead. The red light is on (power button) when it’s plugged into the wall or the USB, but no amount of resetting or hitting the power button is working ๐Ÿ™ Any other ideas?

  2. Hi..lst night I spent about 2 hours on my Gentouch…then I plugged it in to charge over night.ย  I just went to get it again and it turned on but it will not get past the screen witht he little creature on the top left corner.ย  It will also not respond to the power button to power down!?!ย  Anyone have any ideas how I can turn this unit off?

  3. bought it had it for a week turn it off and it will not turn on just sits there gathering space ..ย ย ย ย  if anyone knows how to get it started up Send it to [email protected]

  4. Basically this is one of the best examples of a poorly packaged and possibly even poorly though out devices. As of yet I can not even make the thing power down, instead I have to operate off a wall charger and leave it plugged in all the time never off. The videos in angry birds don’t render, and a whole list of other problems. The only good news is my XHTML pages render pretty damn good on it.

  5. I think I killed my Gentouch 78 from Augen. I tried doing the update of the software. I pressed a button while inserting a pin to hit the reset button and it made sizzling noise.
    ๐Ÿ™

  6. Can anyone help? I got my tablet for xmas. I am pretty tech savy. Just started playing with it last night and tried to download an app. It shut off and will not turn back on. I charged it overnight and reset it a dozen times. It flashes Gentouch then goes back to the little weird creature in the corner. Very sad and disappointed ๐Ÿ™

    1. i have same problem. plz help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and find the answer!!!!!!!!

      1. i have the same problem it make some kind of noise when you push the reset button

  7. very sad, the power button and the dc adapter cord is broken, so now i can’t power it or turn it on! Help!

  8. jus bougt one of these things; the card fell rattled a few; stopped; and now the unit would not power on

  9. I fixed the problem with the power supply by cutting a part of a paper clip and inserting it into the power supply that connects to the power port. I have to be careful not to stab myself when handling the power adapter.

    I use needle nose pliers when inserting the micro sd card. It makes it easier to insert and withdraw it. I have to with draw the card, copy Android apps to it then re-insert it into the Gentouch where it is installed.

    I will check the Augen Gentouch site for the manual.

  10. I have trouble trying to download the Kindle for Android. It indicates it is being downloaded but nothing happens. I have waited over an hour without being able to download anything; no matter where I tried to down it (even the Augen site).

  11. if you could get an APK for wifi keyboard from the market, that would make your pad fun to play with, although having to type with your computer keyboard kinda defeats the portability aspect. i was thinking of buying one of these, to root, change ROMS, then fill with various emulators. Voila! portable NES, GBA, ATARI, C64, apple][, SNES, chip-8, HP 48, Altair z80, sinclair zx81.. anything mytouch can handle. not sure about more powerful things such as sega, psx..
    a trackball and 3.5mm jack would be nice. but so would a hard-keyboard, accelerometer, magnetometer, GPS, camera, 1ghz or higher cpu, at least 512mb of ram, and a battery as thick as the device.. but hey, i want that in anything. but not for 150 bucks of course.. at least in 2010..
    what i do like about this thing: 7″ screen, 800mhz cpu, 256mb ram. supports 8gb card, right? or i would have to buy a 4gb bc i have an 8 and a 16. what i like is that the specs are better than the mytouch, and i could deal with the mytouch being 4x as big, so with a bigger screen, faster cpu and more ram, i would totally buy it, as long as i can still connect it to USB for all that magic you have to do in terminal.

  12. Thanks to your postings, I was saved a trip back to the store. I too played with my new Gentouch78, tapped the power button and laid it down for a few hours only to return and not be able to turn it on. After reading these posts, I plugged it in to charge and grabbed a paper clip. I used the clip to press the reset button and my Augen tablet booted to life. Now I press the power button for 2 seconds then choose to shutdown. Thank you all for the help.

  13. I turned mine on after I bought it. It worked great. The day after I had turned it on, it won’t turn on at all.

    The box mentioned a user manual but none was in the box. One place mentions two usb cords. Mine had only one (was it suppose to be two?). I did not find a manual at Augen US site. ๐Ÿ™ I sent two reports; one for it not starting and one for the missing user manual.

    1. That’s odd. There was definitely a manual in my box. It wasn’t very detailed, but it was in there.

      There are 2 USB cords, but you really only need one.

      As for the power issue — silly question: Did you plug the tablet in using the wall jack? It doesn’t charge over USB like a smartphone, only with the wall jack.

      Also, when you hit the power button the screen turns off but the tablet is still on. You have to press and hold it to completely shut it off. This means that you just tap the power button again and the screen turns on almost instantly most of the time — but if you didn’t completely shut down the tablet and you didn’t plug it in, then odds are the battery ran down completely overnight which is why it won’t turn on.

      The tablet doesn’t seem to be very smart about power management — so my battery ran down overnight when I wasn’t touching the thing.

      I suspect a firmware update (or hacked ROM) may address this in the future.

      1. I used the power adapter and not the usb port. I had it plugged in over night but it still would not turn on. I looked closer at the power port and the pin that is supposed to be there wasn’t and there was only a hole. The adapter was not even warm. I tried to take it back for an exchange but the K-Mart I bought it from ran out of them. I was told to call Tuesday of next week.

        I tried to find an online source for the user manual. Augen did not have one (that I could find) at their web site. ๐Ÿ™ You have given me information about the tablet pc. Thanks.

        1. FYI, it might be worth trying to poke a paperclip in the reset button on the back of the unit. I couldn’t get mine to turn on this morning, but a quick poke led to a reboot.

          1. I have tried using the reset button using a bent paper clip. I did not want to put a pin in myself unless I am unable to get a new one. I am hoping more come in soon. If not, I might your suggestion. Thanks.

          2. The paper clip idea worked. I cut a piece from the paper clip and it makes the connection. When it is not plugged into the tablet, I have to be careful not to stick myself with it. It charges. I am using it. It is really nice.

  14. I just went to the Augen website and downloaded new instructions (7/30/10) for SD Card and USB installation. The very first bullet point for the SD card instruction was:

    1. Insert Micro SD card into the top of the Micro SD slot. If the SD card is inserted below the slot, it will fall into the unit.

    A fat lotta good that does me now! Nothing about this in the units instruction book of course. Design fail. DAH!

  15. Ahhh! Help! I placed my micro SD card in the “TF” slot, pushed it in with my fingernail to ‘seat it’ and it fell right through into the case. Rattle Rattle Rattle. I can hear it, but NOW what do I do to get at it?? Strange slot indeed.

    1. I was able to open the back of my unit just enough to shake out my lost SD card. If you remove the stylus, you will see a small screw. There are three others at each corner on the back – but you have to remove the round black plugs first. I was able to do this with my finger nail.

      1. It is not easy to put the sd card in. I used need nose pliers to put it in and push it in to where it clicks. My fat fingers find it difficult to hold onto such a small card. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I don’t have one yet, but apparently there is going to be a fix to the resistive sensitivity for the screen as well. Be sure to turn off animated backgrounds. Finally, xda-developers are already in the early process of hacking.

  17. I guess the seating on these can vary when it comes to the microSD slot.

    I tried to make mine fall in the tablet just to see, it just wasn’t going too unless i forced it heavy and even then you could tell it was going not where it was suppose too.

    Easy way to take it out, just use the stylus end to release the microsd from the slot.

    1. Not the way mine fell in. It was stuck in there and wasn’t coming out
      without a pair of tweezers.

      But it’s good to hear that yours is better built!

      1. I tried again just a few minutes ago.

        It was rather easy If i angled it upward first then went in strait, but again i could tell something wasn’t right by feel on the angle, not something that wouldn’t jump out at you.

        So build or user error i dunno?

        The slot could be built safer though, i admit.

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