A closer look at the Elonex eTouch Blade

Earlier this week we reported on Elonex’s new range of cheap Android tablets, and we were lucky enough to get hands-on with their new Blade series of tablets. The one we were testing was the 1044ET, which uses Elonex’s own touchscreen technology named “Progressive” which is somewhere in the middle of a resistive touchscreen and a capacitive one. We were told that the progressive touchscreen consists of a resistive-style touch sensor at the heart of the screen, but with multi-touch layers combined with the glass at the top of the screen, making the resistive touchscreen very similar to the capacitive experience in terms of responsiveness, however also having the advantage of being able to use a stylus or anything else as you would on a regular resistive surface. By using this method, Elonex has said they save around £50 per device compared to using a capacitive touchscreen. We tested the progressive touchscreen by playing Fruit Ninja, available from the Android Market which comes bundled with the Android Froyo 2.2 operating system on the device, and found it to be very similar to a capacitive touchscreen, with no notable differences straight away, other than the amount of fingerprints this tablet keeps on it – make sure to carry a microfiber cloth around with you!

Elonex 1044ET with Fruit Ninja open

One thing we did notice with the 1044ET was the difficulty with viewing angles, it appears to use a standard LCD display, which is hard to view at certain angles, as well as light reflecting onto it making it difficult to view.

The device itself is also very thin, especially compared to their previous offerings with the eTouch 1000ET, which was about 3x as thick! It is also very lightweight and despite it’s long screen when compared to most other tablets, it sits very comfortably in just one hand – much like the iPad 2. However, Elonex’s thinking during the design of the device was to “stray away from making it looking like an iPad” – which I personally feel they have done – the future of Android tablets is growing rapidly and Apple must keep up with user demand as their competition widens. Apple may hold 90% of the tablet market share now, but with great tablets like this and consumers getting the bang for their buck at only £189, that may not be case for much longer.

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