The world has been waiting for a review of the Archos tablet. Archos is a well-known manufacturer of the Archos 5 Android tablet for media. More to the point, the world has been waiting for any brand new tablets, but this one was especially exciting as it is one of the only ones with the 8.9-inch screen and is the closest any tablet comes to the iPad, except maybe for the mini version of the iLet but that is a mini version, so it does not count.
Ever since the introduction of the Apple iPad, everyone has been waiting for two things; a flood of tablets from China, and a credible competitor to the iPad. Well, the latter is well underway so you should duck (Now!). As to the second, we will just have to keep waiting because this one is not anywhere close to the iPad as many hoped and dreamed it would be, unfortunately.
It Looked Like a Tablet…
The Archos 9 Tablet retails for about $549, depending on where you come across it. This is painful for me to say, but if I had a choice between an iPad, an Archos 9 or a cow-pie, I would be going home with a cow-pie. I refuse to join the Apple iPad lemming brigade currently jumping off the cliff. I am not just any `ole Apple hater; as I think the iPad is, in fact innovative to a point, but they did not have to make people wait 20 years to get at it. They have also fired people for unjust cause and are a very closed-off and private company. I am, nevertheless, willing to admit that they have created a real buzz that should have woken the industry up; although it would seem that everyone but the industry is awake.
Of course we hear promises and plans, prototypes are leaked and then sorely, laughingly, taken away, but in the end, we only have the iPad or nothing at all to choose form. The HP Slate died in its womb, which in turn could actually make it better than was thought, and Google has an unconfirmed plan for a tablet that will transcend space-time, if we ever see it. The simple fact is that the Archos 9 is not an iPad killer; it is an Archos-killer and that is just truly sad for a company that tried to play with the big boys.
What’s Not Inside-iPad Revisited?
First things first; the Archos tablet was woefully underpowered with an Intel Atom 1.1GHz Z510 processor. Then it was upgraded to a 1.2GHz Atom Z515processor with “Hyper-Threading,” which is a little better but not so good considering its OS. This processor line just does not have the juice to run a tablet, much less an “iPad-killer”. Additionally, it is running Windows 7 which can challenge desktop hardware. This tablet is slow; I can type faster then this thing can display text and so can my fiancée, and he cannot type for love or money.
The fact that it is running Windows 7 is a problem unto itself. Credit where credit is due, the Archos Tablet comes with 60 GB of hard-drive storage, which really is not all that bad, but you might arrive in Tokyo before the file does, considering the speed issues on the Archos tablet. All of its lack of speed sure makes this a very nice USB thumb-drive.
There are no Ethernet connections and no SD Card reader slot. There is a single USB port so you can get your data off of the hard-drive, thank God. The touch-screen, arguably the central showpiece of any tablet is a problem. This is a resistive touch-screen and just as Star Trek’s Borg species would say, “Resistance is futile.” The gestures that we would expect to work do not and even with the included stylus pen, things where a pain in the …to do. I thought the screen would break if it were pushed any harder.
The software is another issue normal rotation seems to be a challenge and is not very intuitive. Meaning if you turn it sideways, the page you look at might need some coffee to get it going where it needs to be. The over all User Interface is stripped of the better features of Windows 7 and there is a “Beta” feel to everything. Maybe this is why HP killed their relationship with Microsoft…
What it Does Not do
As if it could actually “not do” anything else, it does not last very long for one thing. The battery dies after three and a half hours with “normal” usage. The problem is that there are no real power management functions or sleep modes, so apparently if you are planning on having the tablet unplugged long enough for the thing to boot and actually try to do something, given the speed at which it works, you will need to bring a power cord. There is no optical drive and no keyboard. Yes, that means it is a virtual and there are no options for adding a physical one, either.
This honestly seems more like a Netbook with the keyboard torn off than a tablet. As for the price, they could not include enough good stuff on top of what there is to make the purchase worthwhile. Looks like it is another “Elvis sighting” as far as iPad competition goes. Do not bother with this one or you will get half the iPad (which is not much to begin with) for 50 percent more of the price.
References & resources:
Archos: Archos 9 PC Tablet
CNet: Archos 9 Tablet Review
GadgetFolder: Archos 9 PC Tablet Gets an Atom Z515 1.2 GHz & Price
Liliputing: Archos 9 Tablet Reviewed