Ergo GoTab Epic hands-on (video)

There's a new entrant in the cut-throat world of British budget tablet makers: Birmingham-based Ergo Electronics. It previewed its new GoTab line of Ice Cream Sandwich-powered slates and e-readers at this year's Gadget Show Live, but our interest was captivated by the most premium model: the GoTab Epic GTB9040. Interested in our impressions? Course you are, that's why you're going to read more after the break.

It's packing a single-core 1.2GHz AllWinner 10 (budget ARM Cortex A8) CPU, 8GB on-board storage and 1GB of DDR3 RAM. Most striking is its display: a 9.7-inch capacitive multitouch IPS panel with a resolution of 1024 x 768 that's claimed to be the same as in the iPad 2, but we'll reserve judgment until we've spent a little more time with it. It's also a big fan of fingerprints, we were only able to shoot it once we'd given it a good buffing with both a t-shirt and a lint-free cloth. There's the usual array of mini USB, microSD card slot (yup, up to 32GB) and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi that we expect of any device in this class, you'll also find a front-facing VGA camera for quick and dirty Skype sessions.

We were surprised at how freakishly slender it is, that squared-off frame may not be the most hand-friendly shape when clutched for long periods, but it was a breeze to fling around when we used it. Build quality felt sturdy, albeit the buttons were small enough that we had to resort to fingernail pressing since we couldn't get our digits to play nicely. Performance was very good too, there wasn't any real lag when cycling through the menus or opening up apps, excellent for a low-cost device like this. Ergo's USP is that it's launching GoReader, a proprietary e-book store that'll arrive properly on the 16th of this month. It'll be packed to the gills with copyright-free titles that have been given a lick of paint to appeal to youngsters as the company goes after the education market with a "Read a Day" initiative. The whole range will go on sale from mid May, with the Epic retailing for £180 ($285).

James Trew contributed to this report.

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GoTab Launches at Gadget Show Live

APRIL 10TH - The all new GoTab range has been unveiled at the Gadget Show live today at the NEC Birmingham. The tablets, manufactured by UK company Ergo Electronics, are designed to bring the latest Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system to the British Public. Packed full of the latest features and technology the tablets give the feel and experience of a market leading tablet, but for only a fraction of the price.

The GoTab family features two ranges, the 7″ and 10″ GoTabs (16:9 widescreen), and the 8″ and 9.7″ GoTab Epics (4:3 screen). The option of screen format gives users the best of both worlds and means there is a GoTab for everyone. Whether you want a small and portable tablet for when you're on the move, a widescreen tablet for watching movies, or a super size and high resolution IPS 'epic' screen for surfing the web and playing apps, there's a GoTab thats suited perfectly to you. All GoTabs have a capacitive multi-touch screen that means you can browse the interface with a flick of your fingertips, play multi-touch apps and pinch to zoom on the net.

With Android 4 you can experience one of the world's most exciting ways to browse the internet, email, chat, play, read and watch. GoTab has access to the Google Play Store (formerly Android Market) so you can search and download up to 400,000 apps for work, rest and play. With built in multi-tasking you can keep on top of work, home and your social life.

Priced from only £79.99 GoTabs are available to view now at the Gadget Show Live, and available to buy from April 16th.