Archos G9 8in and 10in tablets review: first look
Several companies have spent millions since the launch of the iPad trying to leap onto the bandwagon that Apple built, but Archos released its first Android device way back in 2009 – and it’s now unveiling its latest 8in and 10.1in models, dubbed the G9 series.
The most important and, potentially, the most confusing aspect of the two new machines? Price. The base figures are impressive, with the 8in 80 G9 starting at £199 inc VAT and the 10in 101 G9 costing £249 inc VAT, but CEO Henri Crohas confirmed that a multitude of models – all running Honeycomb – will be available from the Autumn.
Crohas explained that SKUs will vary on storage: both the 8in and 10.1in models will be sold with “at least 8GB of Flash” on-board, with more expensive models offering 16GB and 32GB.
In a departure from other tablets, Archos is also offering both of its new models with a 250GB hard disk; Crohas explained that Archos has “redesigned the file system [and] the guts of Android”, as well as installing a “four gigabyte flash memory cache” to ensure the platter-based models won’t suffer from slowdown.
Further details were confirmed by Archos’ chief operating officer Loic Poirier, who explained that “higher models” will be available with 1GB of RAM – and cheaper tablets will be furnished with only 512MB.
He wasn’t giving away all of the prices, only revealing that upgrading the 10.1in model to 16GB of flash storage will up the price to £279 inc VAT, and you’ll have to fork out £399 inc VAT for the 10.1in model with a 250GB hard disk. Prices for the various 8in tablets or 32GB models weren’t available.
Both models are powered by a dual core 1.5GHz Texas Instruments processor built around the Cortex A9 instruction set, with graphical duties handled by the Neon GPU on the same chip. That’s an impressive-sounding part, and Crohas said the processor “can go up to 50% faster” than most of its rivals – although that statistic was justified using the ageing Drhystone benchmark, which features old code that isn’t necessarily representative of real-life applications.
That’s quite a boast, but Android still felt slightly sluggish as we navigated the OS. Media handling – an Archos speciality – proved better, with 720p versions of The King’s Speech and The Dark Knight, and a 1080p version of Toy Story 3, playing flawlessly through a pair of proprietary Archos apps. Even so, the screen resolutions mean you won’t be able to watch true 1080p content without using the mini HDMI output.
The tight budget can be felt elsewhere, too. The plastic exterior can’t match metallic rivals, and you’ll have to shell out extra cash for 3G, with a recessed area in the rear of both tablets able to house an Archos-branded dongle that’ll cost £49 and accept your own SIM card.
Archos is certainly taking risks with its two new tablets. It’s just a shame that you’ll have to wait until nearer the September launch to get our verdict on these two new models.
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