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Archos G9 80 - Screen and Video

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Although the Archos G9 80 uses a standard TFT LCD screen, not the PVA or IPS types found on some more expensive tablets, its performance is better than expected. Viewing angles are far superior to Archos's previous efforts, whose pictures would fade into darkness when viewed from the wrong spot. The screen's not quite as vivid as the Archos G9 101's, but Archos explained that this is because the 80 isn't as movie-focused as its big brother (part of this may have been down to brightness settings too).

Nevertheless, its built-in video skills are superb. Our demo unit was packed with HD movies and they played back a treat. We'll give the G9 80 a proper examination once we get a unit in to review, but Archos claims it'll play full 1080p 42Mbps MKV files, which represent similar quality to what a top-notch Blu-ray can offer.

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On the side of the tablet is a mini HDMI slot, which will let you watch these HD videos on your TV too. When plugged-in, the Archos G9 80 mirrors its display onto the TV, while keeping the tablet's own display live.

The G9 also sees the introduction of a new-look media player - it's about time too as the Archos 101's player looks decidedly stale these days. The new player features a cover flow-like system, displaying movie posters for each of your films. We're not sure how it'll cope with TV episodes and less-than-legit videos, but Archos says the software automatically nabs these pictures from the net, off an independent database. Although we weren't blown away by this software, the decent screen and excellent codec support should make this one of the best portable media players, ever.

Having only had a brief fondle of the new G9 series, we can't conclusively comment on battery life yet, but Archos claims it'll last for around 8 hours when playing video, or 10 of less strenuous tasks. That's less than the rock-solid 10 hours of the iPad, but a far better showing than most budget Android tablets.

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All this for £199? It sounds like Archos may have a winning combo on its hands. One way it has managed to cut down manufacturing costs is by leaving out 3G connectivity from the basic package. There will be no 3G edition either, because this connectivity is supplied by an accessory - an Archos dongle. You'll be able to use this on your computer too, and it slots neatly into a port on the G9 80's back. It sits flush to the tablet's body when inserted and costs £49.99. Unfortunately, if you have no need for 3G, you're left with a simple plastic cover instead that jiggles under your finger. Something with a little more solidity would have been appreciated.

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Archos hasn't escaped from the rather workmanlike feel of its previous tablets, but it has ditched several more serious problems that stopped us from wholeheartedly recommending those older models. With the Android Market in-tow, a fairly decent screen and a price tag around half the price of most other major tablets, this could be the first budget tablet that really offers all the functionality of the big boys.

Please learn English

June 30, 2011, 7:39 pm

Er, the 'TrustedReviews says...' section refers to the G9 101 and not the G9 80.

Andrew_TR

June 30, 2011, 7:41 pm

Thanks for the tip off. We noticed this earlier (not quite sure how it happened) and changed the article, but it takes a little while to update on the site.

Ian Loynes

July 1, 2011, 2:22 am

Sounds interesting, but I have been using the Kogan Agora 7" non 3G tablet for a week or so now, which costs £125. I think it is great and if the Archos is good value, then the Kogan is fab irrespective of price.
TrustedReviews news item introduced me the this tablet several months ago so, I hope TrustedReviews will be reviewing this soon.

Andrew_TR

July 1, 2011, 1:19 pm

Lucky devil! We're still waiting for our Kogan tablet review sample. The review should be up soon.

Arctic Fox

July 3, 2011, 10:11 am

I have to admit that I am no fan of this form factor. If I want it to go in my pocket then a 7-incher is the way to go and if one wants a larger screen then their new 10 inch is what one should be looking at - IMO.

Chrispynutt

July 3, 2011, 3:10 pm

Arctic Fox: That's the weird thing is I think there is a split in the market between those like myself that see 7" as the ideal size and those that prefer it to the larger 10" size. I've always preferred the American size magazines (Nat Geo) over the larger UK format stuff (Your Sinclair, etc), but not necessarily the content. Therefore it's nice now that everyone can get a size to fit their likes.

Everyone: It's great that Archos is catering to those that cling on to their iPod Classics as they can finally get a smart device that can store all of their audio uncompressed. If Archos partnered with Fiio to use the USB socket for an external amp they could have several niches to themselves.

Arctic Fox

July 4, 2011, 5:48 am

Regarding the Kogan Agora 7'' I note that a large number of the reviews/previews of it I have seen so far slaughter it, first and foremost for (they claim) poor screen response and (they claim) *very* poor battery life.

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