Archive for April 28th, 2011
Yesterday I’ve got 7″ Archos 70 tablet from HK for about 20.000yen. They also had 10″ model with 1024×600 screen, but I already have an iPad and was looking for something a tad smaller. The delivery took about 3 days by FedEx.
Archos 70 has Android 2.2 (Froyo) installed, along with the WiFi (802.11/b-g-n) support. After asking all the usual questions about time zone and keyboard, it connected to the internet and offered to download and install the fresh firmware. Firmware installation does not run on the battery power and requires the external power supply, which it quite smart. There are Japanese/Chinese screen interface options, but since I’ve chosen English as the default language, I’ve got only european keyboards available.
Screen resolution is 800×480, like on my HTC Desire, but the actual size is about 3 times bigger, which makes it very easy to see every small detail on the Google Maps. 8Gb are installed (16Gb for 10″ model) as internal memory for movies and music, and less than hundred megabytes are available on the system partition for the software installations. Since there’s also an microSD slot available, the memory size it not very important and I can easily add up to 32Gb more. Upper panel has the microphone, VGA-quality video cam for video calls over internet and two speakers with reasonable good sound, especially considering their size.
It’s a bit unexpected, Archos 70 battery cannot be charged over an USB cable. Probably it’s somehow related to the USB-host support for external HDD and other devices. Still, the universal (100-240V) power supply is included and has support for most wall outlets over the world — Japanese, European and American plugs are included.
Because of some political issues (absence of GPS/phone calls support?) the Archos 70 did not get the Google’s blessing and does not have Android Market support right from the box. However, Google Market and Gmail/Latitute/other software can be downloaded from the internet and installed separately. Soon after that I’ve got fresh Andry Birds running without any problems.
Internet support is outstanding, Archos 70 can see twice as many AP from my apartment, compared to the iPad. Application download speed is great. Youtube works very smoothly. All my home servers and computers were detected automatically and I can easily (unlike the iPad) browse and watch movies and listen to the music. Even the 720p movies work totally flawlessly over the WiFi connection. Most video/audio formats are suported just from the box, and new codecs can be downloaded from the Archos web-site.
Tablet body is made from plastic, very thin and very light — I can easily hold it with one hand for hours. HDMI connector allows to bring video to the large TV screen, and not only video but the other screen contents — icons and running software too.
GPS is missing together with the phone support. However, Archos 70 can find it’s location based on the WiFi spots around — it has marked my apartment on the map within 100m of the actual location. I understand it might not work everywhere, but for the people with wireless network at home and at work, who even eat only where they have WiFi access it should work reasonably well.
The screen is bright enough for indoor use. Viewing angle it not very wide, but it’s not a TV set — I can always align it the way I like. Before the screen turns off to sleep, it dims a little at first — a very nice feature, especially when reading news, a few seconds are enough to touch the screen and prevent it from sleeping. There’s also “deep sleep” mode which not only slows down the processor and turns the screen off, but stops the device totally — even alarm clocks and background tasks go down. Can be a great battery saver, though I haven’t tried this mode yet.
All in all, if you are looking for an Angry Birds-compatible tablet, which can be used to browse internet and to watch movies on the couch, I’d recommend this (or the 10″ model, if you are not going to put it in the pocket and try to use it somewhere else or bring along for a stroll).