Archos has been making multimedia tablet based devices for a very long time, and while it might not be the first company you think when it comes to Android tablets – it does have quite a lot of them on its portfolio. The 101 G9 is a solid, well priced 10.1-incher.
Looks aren’t everything
At first glance the Archos 101 G9 doesn’t seem very inviting. The chassis is solid plastic, with left and right screen bezels that are pretty wide. These are well-sized for holding the tablet, while in wide screen format, though the long edge bezels are a lot narrower and not great for keeping your fingers off the screen – when working in portrait mode.
There’s a camera on one of the short edges, which is awkwardly positioned, half way up. This is very easily obscured by the hand, when holding the tablet in wide screen mode. Our best advice here is to video call with the screen in tall mode. There’s no second camera on the back, so if you want more than 1.2 megapixel stills you need to look elsewhere for your tablet – or get a proper camera.
The chassis does have two nice integrated surprises. There’s a kickstand on the back that holds the tablet on a table in wide format. It’s a feature we’d like to see on more tablets, though it does feel a little bit flimsy and could get broken off over time. A tall format kickstand would have been a nice bonus too.
The back-plate is made from pretty tough plastic, where on one side there’s a long slide-away cover. This is designed to accommodate an optional 3G dongle, which will add £50 to your spend. The dongle actually docks via USB, so you can use it with any device that accepts USB 3G dongles – a notebook or ultrabook for example. Needless to say, this means that 3G isn’t built into the Archos 101 G9 itself, though of course Wi-Fi is.
It’s all going on
Under the hood the Archos 101 G9 runs Android 3.2, where the 8GB of internal storage, on our review sample, can be boosted with a microSD card. A word of warning here – the memory card doesn’t quite go all the way into the slot, and ours pinged out once or twice and flew across the room. A bad design flaw there, by Archos.
As well as the 8GB version we reviewed, we’ve also seen a 16GB version for £339.99, plus another with a 250GB SSD hard drive version, for £365 inc VAT. There’s HDMI out, though Archos doesn’t provide a cable. You can buy a cable, to give yourself USB Host facilities, from the microUSB connector.
Running the device is a 1GHz dual core TI OMAP processor and we found everything flowed very smoothly during testing. If you want more power, then a turbo version of the tablet is available with a 1.5GHz version of the CPU. This being a tablet for media fans there are plenty of audio and video formats supported, including FLAC for those who like their audio lossless.
- Good screen; handy kickstand; useful optional 3G dongle.Good screen; handy kickstand; useful optional 3G dongle.
- Plastic build quality.
The Archos 101 G9 isn’t a looker. It’s chunky, with a plastic build that does it no favours. But it is competent, attractively priced and the optional 3G dongle is potentially quite a draw.