Archos 101 Android Tablet Review
The Archos 101 is the latest Android tablet from a line-up of five. At 10.1″ it is also among the largest tablets currently available in the market.
Despite the growing number of Android tablets out there, Archos wants to carve a mark by offering the line that’s most attractive in terms of pricing.
The Archos 101 is sleek and slim and comes in a black matte finish all over. There are less metallic parts and more hard plastic polymers for the body, making it lighter and easier to handle. The form factor is less squarish and more rectangular to give a nice ultra-wide landscape — perfect for watching movies and browsing webpages.
The display screen is now more responsive and the system feels much faster than the older versions we’ve tried before. Gone are the resistive touch screen that are now replaced by a capacitive display – a very welcome upgrade if you asked us. The display is still your regular TFT LCD and as expected, it does not perform well against bright light sources or in the outdoors.
Under the hood, the Archos 101 is powered by a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU running the latest Android 2.2 Froyo. For storage, it’s got a 16GB internal memory which you can expand via the microSD slot on the side so you won’t run out of storage space for all those movies and music videos.
HD movie playback is smooth and great; viewing angle is wide enough, maybe around 120 degrees across. Sound quality is good and volume is decent though the speakers are all at the back panel.
It even comes with a slew of ports so you can connect accessories and other peripherals to the tablet — HDMI, USB and micro USB. That pretty much allows you to hook the Archos 101 to almost any USB-capable device.
As for connectivity, the Archos 101 comes with Bluetooth and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n for surfing the net when connected to a wireless network. Unfortunately, it does not have a 3G modem so there’s no luck in hooking it with your 3G data SIM. No that you want to make calls but 3G connectivity is something that might appeal to a lot of consumers especially when unlimited data from carriers are way cheaper nowadays.
The front-facing VGA camera is sub-par and is very grainy under low-light conditions. The speakers are decent for playing music or watching movies but since they are placed at the back, volume suffers when you put it down against any surface. Fortunately, it comes with a sturdy kick-stand at the back so you can position the tablet at a desirable angle on landscape mode.
The back panel also has a couple of small protruding pimples and another pair of small rubber pads that protects the unit from scratches when you put it down on its back. It also helps it set in place especially on slippery surfaces so it wonâ€™t easily slip off and falls over.
The tablet does have the Android Market (so are all other Google Apps/Services) out of the box although you can always install it manually. Archos has an alternative app store called AppsLib though it’s not as extensive as the original one.
Archos promises up to 10 hours of web surfing and up to 7 hours of video playback. However, I have not been able to get close to those numbers with several repeated attempts. I’d say something like 6 hours on web surfing is the average.
At a suggested retail price of just Php19,990, the Archos 101 is among the most affordable tablets around. The lack of 3G connectivity could be a drawback to some but at that retail price, it’s a good deal if you’re looking for an iPad alternative. And with the 5-inch and 7-inch Archos tablets also in store shelves, there’s a lot of choices to fit one’s taste.