For The Price It Is...Close
Nov 23, 2010
Review by cgelbard
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Very Thin, No Proprietary Ports, MicroSD Slot, Solid Screen, Good Support, Good Battery Life
Cons:Laggy, Cheap Kickstand, Cheap Camera, Hardware is Dated, Fingerprint Magent
The Bottom Line: Stay away from the laggy Archos 70 until 2.2 comes out, unless you want it solely as a novelty. Once 2.2 is relased though, this should be a steal.
Archos provides the seemingly unthinkable: a capacitive 7" Android tablet for $275...under $300! However, is it worth even that much?
Recommend this product?
The price. This had to be first; it's by far the cheapest capacitive tablet around.
The screen is solid. Good viewing angles and crisp colors.
It's thin. Wow, this is MUCH thinner than an iPad or Galaxy Tab. It's impressively thin and sleek; definitely a plus.
The device encompasses a Micro USB port (capable of host), a standard 3.5mm audio jack, a Mini HDMI Port, as well as a MicroSD card slot. No proprietary ports is a huge bonus, and the MicroSD slot is of immeasurable use.
The device's sound is solid, nothing to be amazed about, but solid nonetheless. Front facing speakers provide much more immersive sound than do similar side mounted outputs.
It plays an incredibly wide array of codecs, and is pretty versatile in that regard. Battery life is extremely good, comparable if not better than the iPad.
However, the product isn't without its drawbacks, The Bad:
First, don't expect to be amazed at the screen...it's 'solid' but not 'spectacular'. If you're expecting IPS level color renditions and iPhone retina screens...don't. Also, it's noticeably less responsive as that of and iPad or Galaxy Tab. Still, it's more than acceptable (good, just not great).
Second, the device IS based off of older gen hardware. Don't misunderstand, the Cortex A8 processor is speedy, but similar tablets will soon begin utilizing the dual-core Tegra processor form Nvidia...not to mention that the Archos only has 256 MB of ram (which is adequate perhaps, but 512 MB would be much more reassuring).
The full Android market isn't installed by default, but this is easily remedied with a Google search. Also, not all apps will function correctly on a 7" screen, though this is hardly Archos's fault.
The bezel on the Archos is beyond a fingerprint magnet. It looks truly sleek at first, but usage quickly degrades it into an oily mess. Certainly disappointing, but not a deal breaker. The screen has a similar weak point, but nothing a good protector couldn't remedy.
And finally, The Ugly:
Multitasking and heavy usage will quickly degrade the user experience. See summary.
The camera isn't worth mentioning: it's terrible, maybe OK for video conferencing though (which is what it was intended for).
The kickstand feels very cheap, but it gets the job done...time will only tell whether or not it will withstand daily usage.
The device's most substantial downfall unfortunately also proves extremely distressing: its performance. Simply put, this isn't the most capable device at the moment. I say 'at the moment' because Archos has long promised to release Android 2.2 firmware for this tablet, which should dramatically boost its capability, at least in theory. At present however, it proves slow and laggy with its 2.1 Android software. Multitasking will very quickly cause the system to drag, potentially making it virtually unusable at certain points. While playing Pandora and internet browsing proved fairly acceptable, throwing Angry Birds into the equation was unacceptable - resulting in gross lag at times which was quite annoying. Don't even think about trying to use the system while installing an app, unless you like enduring the almost-certain freezes that will occur. Using an app to kill running applications certainly helps, my point being that you shouldn't HAVE to do this on a truly good product. I've heard various benchmarks claim anywhere from 2.5x and higher speed increase in terms of Android 2.2 vs. 2.1. Even if only a 2.5x increase were achieved, I think it would be acceptable and make this tablet a worthwhile purchase. If even more is possible, so much the better. However, at the present moment, and until Archos chooses/is able to release 2.2, the tablet is too slow to be truly considered. Once 2.2 is out though, the Archos 70 may indeed be a steal at its retail of $275...hopefully.
So, the Archos 70 is a 'good' tablet, but there are certain things that prevent it from reaching 'great' status; if the 2.2 software release provides as great a speed boost as it should, then this tablet would be a great purchase at its retail of $275, even higher perhaps. For such an inexpensive device, it has a LOT going for it, mainly: a solid screen, lack of proprietary ports, and it's incredibly thin. However, until Archos graces us with more current firmware, this device remains laggy and slow at times - a good novelty item possibly, but not anywhere near the Galaxy Tab from Samsung or the iPad from Apple - it just isn't ready for prime-time quite yet.
Full Specs are available here: http://www.archos.com/products/ta/archos_70it/specs.html?country=us&lang=en
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