Review Price £234.56
Archos 101 Internet Tablet - Battery Life, Value and Verdict
Archos claims that the 101's battery will last for seven hours when playing video, or up to 36 hours for music. This is significantly below the iPad's rock-solid 10 hours of battery, but Archos's figures aren't too far off the real-life results. It managed between six and six and a half hours of video playback, with Wi-Fi enabled. It's enough for two or three movies, and this was just off the tablet's highest brightness setting - although this is what you'll want to use for movie playback anyway.
The Archos 101 arrives at a tricky time. Not only are the first waves of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and 3.0 Honeycomb tablets about to arrive, the first iPad has also been given a price cut ahead of the iPad 2's arrival.
Now £329, the iPad retails for just £50 more than the recommended retail price of the 8GB Archos 101, and just £30 more than the 16GB version. This makes the Archos a tough sell. It offers greater flexibility than the iPad, with expandable memory, a built-in miniHDMI slot and virtually all of the customisation available to a vanilla Android device. However, in the trade-off you also get an inferior screen, equipped with a much less responsive touchscreen, a less attractive design and more problematic performance.
It's also stymied by its video-playing issues. When video-watching is one of the key functions of this device, why is its playback quality so mediocre? We can't think of a decent excuse - while this is an early tablet, it's also part of a wider Archos video-player series that has been about for years.
Now is not a great time to buy a tablet, but even with its array of problems the Archos 101 is a reasonable, if lesser, alternative to the first-gen Apple iPad and one of the best 10in Android tablets available. If you can stand to wait a couple of months before buying a tablet, though, do.
The Archos 101 is a little unwieldy for one-handed use, has an average screen and slightly unresponsive touchscreen, for a capacitive model, but with a tweak or two it's a very versatile and useful entertainment device. We'd recommend waiting for the next generation of tablets to arrive before making a buying decision though, especially when the first-gen iPad's price drop shows that prices could tumble significantly.
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