Archos has unveiled its latest budget Android tablet. The first in the new Elements range, the Archos 97 carbon is a 9.7in screen tablet. Set to sell for £219, it’s a clear rival for the 16GB Google Nexus 7.
The Archos 97 carbon's 9.7in screen offers 1,024 x 768 pixel resolution - the same as the iPad 2 - and uses an IPS panel. Sticking to the "last gen" style, it has a single-core 1GHz processor rather than the quad-core type that is now becoming common. Other elements don't come across as so compromised, though - it has 1GB of RAM, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Archos's great advanced media support. This includes support for MKV video and lossless FLAC/APE audio.
Unusually for Archos, the 97 carbon has an aluminium, rather than plastic, finish. And it's thinner than its G9 101 predecessor at 11.4mm thick. It has 16GB of internal memory, a microSD slot and has dual 2MP/0.3MP cameras.
What makes this a much more viable tablet than many other low-cost options - such as the Disgo 9104 - is full Google certification. This arms the 97 carbon with the Google Play app store and the roster of official Google apps. However, while Archos is perhaps the longest-standing name in budget Android tablets, it is in trouble now that bigger names are starting to produce high-quality sub-£200 tablets. We'll be back with the full review soon.