Product Archos 101
Specifications 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, 8GB storage, 10.1-inch 1024x600 display, Andoid 2.2 Froyo, 270x150x12mm, 480g.
THE 101 INTERNET TABLET is Archos' flagship model that has a 10.1-inch form factor and runs Google's Android 2.2 Froyo operating system.
The tablet is fairly nice looking in dark grey and has a black brushed aluminium border around the screen and on the rear. It's both thinner and lighter than the Ipad at 12mm and 480g, compared to the Ipad's 13.4mm and 680g for the lighter WiFi only model. The Archos 101 Internet Tablet comes with 8GB and 16GB storage options.
Android runs disappointingly slow on the 1GHz processor, which means navigation around the system and loading applications has an unwanted lag. The touchscreen is somewhat unresponsive and has a frustratingly resistive surface.
Navigation is made easier by a set of four on-screen buttons that consist of Back, Menu, Home and Search. These do retreat when applications use the entire screen but an intuitive touch at the bottom will bring up a menu. The only physical buttons are the power and volume controls.
The screen has a number of intersecting diagonal lines on it that are visible even when the tablet is switched on. These make the tablet look like a solar panel and according to Archos these lines are touch sensitive sensors.
Although it has 1024x600 resolution the screen shows signs of pixilation even on the home screen. This is at its worst when viewing text and browsing the web, when it is apparent before zooming in on websites.
Don't expect to be able to use the on-screen Qwerty keyboard with two hands as the device is so long that when in landscape mode the middle of the screen is a big stretch. But coming to the 101 tablet's rescue is one of its best features, a kick-stand mounted on the rear for use in landscape mode. When the kick-stand is fully out it sits the tablet at a nice angle when it's placed on a flat surface, making typing a lot easier. The stand can also be adjusted for activities like watching videos.
Connectivity is abundant on the Archos 101 tablet with WiFi, full size and micro USB, micro HDMI and a micro SD slot. 3G isn't an option on the Archos 101 but using the WiFi to tether with a smartphone is an alternative. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack that is easily confused with the power socket, and a front facing webcam.
Battery life is quoted at 10 hours for web browsing and seven for video. We managed about three days of battery life for light web use each day.
There is no rear facing camera and the front mounted VGA webcam is extremely poor quality and it's mounted in a strange position about three quarters of the way up the left hand side of the screen. This means that if you're sitting facing straight on to the tablet, the picture from the camera gives a slightly side profile.
Android Market doesn't appear on the tablet but there is a smaller version called Applib that offers 30,000 applications including the better known titles. Gaming is a pleasurable experience on the large screen and top titles like Angry Birds run smoothly and play well.
The Archos 101 is a reasonable tablet for its price. It's thin and light with good connectivity but it doesn't rival other tablets in performance. If you're after a cheap device for casual web browsing and media viewing then the 101 is a good option. µ
Inexpensive, decent screen size, a kick stand, thin and light, good connectivity.
Poor perfomance, unresponsive capacitive touchscreen, display pixilation, no rear camera, only 8GB or 16GB storage.
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