In contrast to the Studio, the Touch Book does a better job of modeling its components close to the version it's KIRFing. In full disclosure, this wasn't as difficult a feat to pull off as its 5.3-inch sibling, considering the original Galaxy Tab came out in November 2010 and the Note only started shipping in October 2011.
The Touch Book is powered by an 800MHz single-core Qualcomm MSM7227-T
CPU and 512MB of RAM, sports a 7-inch 800 x 480 display (giving it a pixel density of around 133ppi), uses a 3.2MP rear camera with no LED flash and includes quadband GSM and 850 / 1900 / 2100 UMTS and HSPA radios to offer AT&T support. It also suffers the same fate as the Studio when it comes to internal storage, which means you'll want to grab a microSD card to store photos, music and video. Oh, and the Touch Book runs stock Froyo. That's right, Android 2.2.2, to be specific.
The volume rocker and power / screen lock button reside on the upper edge of the device. The left is left sans ports or buttons and the bottom edge contains a 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card. The back holds a speaker grille and a 3.2MP rear camera, awkwardly jutting out of the soft touch plastic back. On the right you'll find the easily accessible SIM card slot and proprietary BLU charging port, which uses a magnetic connection similar to the current lineup of MacBooks.
We were hoping to be pleasantly surprised with the Touch Book, akin to our first impressions of the Studio. Sadly, this wasn't the case. During our brief time with it, we couldn't find anything that made the tablet stand out above the hundreds of other knockoff Android slabs we've encountered. It was sluggish, the touchscreen wasn't incredibly responsive and the browser was so laggy it was painful to use.
Looking at the specs, the only thing that will really draw eyes to the Touch Book is the $230 retail price, but even then it may still be a difficult sale for budget-conscious tablet seekers. To provide a little perspective, it was released around the same time as the NOVO7
, a $100 7-inch slate running Ice Cream Sandwich
Now that we've held hands and sung Kumbaya together, will we be inviting BLU to the annual company picnic this summer? We want to hand out love and affection to any respectable phone maker capable of producing a well-made budget device without relying on the control of carriers, after all. Given our first impressions of the Studio 5.3, the company's on track to accomplishing that feat, although the Touch Book 7.0 almost feels like a step backwards -- especially considering its close competition is bringing the heat for a lower cost. We'd like to see the manufacturer continue progressing in its craft and hopefully eventually it will be making the products getting KIRFed, instead of the other way around.Edgar Alvarez contributed to this hands-on.