Our Score



  • Reasonable screen
  • Superb video support
  • Decent value


  • Unattractive
  • Intermittently buggy

Review Price £249.99

Key Features: 10.1in 1280x800 pixel screen; Android 3.2 OS; 8GB flash memory; miniHDMI output; 1GHz dual-core Texas Instruments CPU

Manufacturer: Archos

The G9 101 is the latest in a long line of Archos's attempts to crack the Android tablet market. None of its previous efforts have quite hit the jackpot, suffering from uninspiring build, rubbish screens and a lack of Android Market support. The Archos G9 101 solves most of these problems, while significantly undercutting the RRP of all the tablet big guns. But it's not without a sacrifice or two. The question is whether a £100 saving makes these worthwhile.

Functionality-wise the Archos G9 101 is a revelation within the manufacturer's tablet line-up, boasting both software and hardware more up to the task of offering a satisfying tabular experience than any which came before. However, design-wise, it's business as usual. If you want a tablet that feels and looks like a slice of gadget heaven, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or iPad 2, this isn't it.

In a pure design spec sense, it doesn't sound too bad. 12.6mm thick and weighing 644g, it offers similar dimensions to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. However, it lacks the solidity and hint of luxury build that several more expensive alternatives have.

It's a practical and self-conscious design choice to an extent, though. Archos waved goodbye to the oh-so-trendy machined aluminium of the iPad 2 in order to lower costs, instead opting for what it calls plastic overmoulding. Inside the G9 101 is a metal cage housing the tablet's vital organs, which pokes out as the screen surround - the single bit of metal on show. The rest of the device is covered by two lightly curved bits of metallic grey plastic, which form the front and back of the body.Archos 101 G9 9

In the never-ending tech war of form versus function, Archos has taken the side of function - which comes with the bonus of practicality. Flip the tablet over and this utilitarian leaning is clear to see. The speaker output is clearly visible - a dotted grill - there are four rubber doodads to protect the body when laid flat, a plastic kick stand cuts deep and conspicuous lines into the chassis and there's an equally-visible cut-out for the optional 3G stick (a £50 accessory).

Archos 101 G9 7

These features give the Archos G9 101 Swiss Army Knife-like flexibility, but also ensure that it's not a pretty tablet. The kick stand isn't particularly sturdy, using an all-plastic design that feels weaker than the metal-and-plastic of the previous Archos 101. It easily holds the tablet's weight, though.Archos 101 G9 5

Connectivity is also, predictably, pretty decent. The left edge holds the 3.5mm headphone jack, the screen mirroring microHDMI output, microSD slot and microUSB, used for charging and data transfer. The full-size USB port which the 3G dongle plugs into - covered by a fitted plastic bung when not in use - has bags of potential too. Although not yet activated as a general-purpose USB port, Archos says an incoming firmware update will allow you to attach keyboards, mice and external hard drives. That's pretty neat, and missing from most Android tablets.

Hand problem

Your hand and the volume control want the same spot, and you can't win

The practical approach doesn't always take the user experience into account enough, though - there are downsides other than not being able to feel smug and superior just by holding it. When held "normally", in landscape orientation with the Archos logo facing the right way up, your hands fall over the volume controls on the right side, and the headphone jack and microHDMI slot on the left. This is a significant usability failing, making it too easy to accidentally change the volume while watching a video - and having a hand over a headphone plug isn't comfortable. You can adopt Apple's "you're holding it wrong" motto, and say the tablet should be gripped lower down, but the most comfortable "natural" grip does raise these problems.

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Luan Bach

June 30, 2011, 5:59 pm

Any idea of how much RAM in the G9 devices ? One big contributor to the G8 devices feeling very sluggish is the 256MB of RAM they have. Not to mention just 256MB of Flash space for applications.


June 30, 2011, 6:21 pm

That's a good point. No, we're not sure yet - it's one of the specs Archos hasn't released, even though the "full specs" are available on the Archos website.

Arctic Fox

July 3, 2011, 10:07 am

@Luan Bach

Archos are not saying:

and I note that that question is being posed in Archos forums by fans of their devices and the said fans are getting a bit irritated by Archos' coyness on the issue.
I have to say that I am interested in this tab but not if the producer is not prepared to come clean on *all* the specs.

Luan Bach

October 25, 2011, 2:30 pm

Disappointing but fair review I think. We've got he G9 80 in the office for development purposes and all of the software glitches and build quality problems mentioned here applied to it as well. Especially the touch "deadness", it annoyed the hell out of me when trying to do page turns and typing as it regularly missed touches. It also has a real problem coming out of "deep sleep" mode as Archos calls it, the device seems to have crashed every time so far for me and required a hard reset. Considering that this happened on the G8 as well I guess Archos developers have not learned their lessons.

The 4:3 aspect ratio is better though for reading pdf and comics. Though it gave me eye strain after a couple of hours. I wish manufacturers would make a large screen eink device.

Our G9 80 has a the common problem with "screen ripples" that is affecting the G9 80. Does it exist on the G9 101 too ?


October 25, 2011, 5:32 pm

I had heard about the screen rippling on the 80. Didn't notice anything here, although the odd momentary flashes on white when tapping on it are odd.

I was a bit disappointed too. After having tried out the units a few months ago, I was hoping they could really pull it off. That the other tablets are coming down a lot (probably because of poor sales) really doesn't help either.

Fingers crossed Archos will fix the narcoleptic touchscreen with an update - I think it may be because they re-wrote the memory management within the device, to compensate for "only" having 512MB of RAM.


October 26, 2011, 11:36 pm

this looks much better than the old version, would it be possible to plug a normal USB memory stick in to the 3G dongle socket and use it for additional storage instead of the actual 3g dongle? just a thought!


October 27, 2011, 3:48 am

Not with the current firmware, but a tweak allowing this is in the works according to Archos. Not bad, eh? :)

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