Archos 9 £460
15th Apr 2010 | 09:30
The media player specialist turns its hand to tablet computing
Archos is best known for its range of personal media players, although it recently entered the computing market with the Archos 10 netbook. The Archos 9 touchscreen tablet is its latest venture, but sadly proves frustrating to use.
At first glance the device looks smart. The chassis is solid and thin, although prolonged use can be awkward due to the weight. Thankfully a fold-out stand takes the burden when used at a desk.
Battery life - at 311-minutes - is excellent. The bright and sharp 8.9-inch screen makes up the bulk of the unit and impresses when used in darkened interiors. However, the highly reflective coating greatly limits outdoors use.
With an Intel Atom Z510 processor on board, performance is comparable to most modern netbooks. Basic office tasks run smoothly, but only the most simple games and multimedia applications will work.
The greatest flaw is its usability. The touchscreen often proves unresponsive, rendering even the most basic tasks a frustrating experience. Selecting the wrong option in menus is all too easy, while dragging windows around is a shaky affair.
A tiny touch-sensitive panel on the right side of the device can be used as an alternative means of control and fares slightly better. Users will still long for a touchpad or a mouse, however.
An onscreen keyboard has also been included for typing use, but we found it difficult to bring up and operate. The lack of response means typing is laborious, and those with larger fingers will need to increase the dimensions until it covers most of the screen to minimise mistakes.
Connectivity is somewhat limited, with just a single USB port in place. Communication is via 802.11g Wi-Fi and 10/100 Ethernet and an integrated camera is built into the left side of the chassis.
The deeply flawed usability of the Archos 9, combined with the reflective screen, unfortunately make this tablet impossible to recommend.
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