Several manufacturers are playing a game of tablet limbo at the moment - trying to see how low they can go on price before they well and truly fall down on their posteriors. The Archos Arnova 10 is a sign of the manufacturer taking the bar dangerously low. It's an Android tablet with a 10in screen that retails for just £150. Do the limbo!
Following in the footsteps of the budget but rather good Archos 101, the Arnova 10 takes the penny pinching a step further, shaving off another £100 off the price of the 101. The capacitive touchscreen has been ripped away, replaced with a resistive version. It has had its 1GHz processor torn from its belly and replaced with a much less powerful model (Archos hasn't released the specs) and the build quality has been significantly - but not disastrously - downgraded.
Where the Archos 101 was made of plastic and metal the Archos Arnova 10 is plastic all the way. Oddly enough though, it weighs almost a hundred grams more than the 101 at 570g. Start to think of the Arnova 10 as the slower, stupider, uglier version of the 101 and you're on the right lines. We're not trying to be mean to this poor old budget tab - it's simply the truth.
The Arnova's body is constructed of two main plastic plates - one for the front and another for the back. The front features a mock brushed metal central section surrounding the screen while the back is smooth apart from four small rubberised feet and the speaker grille. It lacks the panache of the 101, which only had a small share of the stuff to begin with, but build quality is more than acceptable, with only some minor flexing when put under pressure. It's nothing like the creak-fest we saw in the Archos 70B.
All the Arnova 10's ports and physical buttons are on its left edge. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB and microUSB slots, a microSD slot and the power jack. There is a gap for an HDMI slot in its body work, as this tab uses the same basic design as the Archos 101, but it has been filled-in with a piece of plastic. On this edge also sit the power and volume buttons.
With a user-facing camera slapped on its front, it initially looks like the Archos Arnova 10 isn't missing out on a great deal of core features despite its cut-throat price. The kickstand of the Archos 70 and Archos 101 is gone, but it's only in operation that the most serious shortcomings of this tablet start popping-up, just as the sound of scurrying rats only kick-starts once you've already closed the cellar door and locked yourself into darkness…