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Archos 7 Internet Tablet - First Look

In case you hadn't guessed already, the big theme of IFA this year was tablets. 3D was talked about a lot but it was the much anticipated rivals to the iPad that really caught our attention. The final model we had a chance to get some hands-on time with is this 7in offering from Archos' lineup of five new Android based media players: 2.8, 3.2, 4.3, and 10.1inch models are also available.

Undoubtedly the Archos 7 Internet Tablet is the nicest looking of all the tablets we've seen so far. It's a mere 10mm thick and is finished all over in brushed metal. The only let down is the logo down the left edge – if the buttons are going to be arranged in a portrait manner then surely so should be the company logo? Those buttons consist of the usual four Back, Menu, Home, and Search functions found on most Android phones. They're touch-sensitive and thankfully they're nice and responsive.

One really simple but very welcome feature is a flip out stand that lets you prop the tablet up for watching video, without having to resort to an accessory, a blob of Blu-Tac, or your used chewing gum. When out of use, the stand sits nice and flush so doesn't interrupt the Internet Tablet's smooth lines. Incidentally, we will concede that you could the see the stand, the removable back panel, and the rubber nubs on the back as looking a bit messy but in the flesh it all seems to marry up well and we don't mind such things when they're clearly of practical value.

Other features include a headphone jack on the top edge along with a mini-HDMI, mircroUSB, and charging socket. There's also a 0.3megapixel webcam in the front bezel but there's no camera on the back for taking proper photos. You get 8GB of Flash memory onboard and there's a microSD slot for expanding this. There will also be a hard drive version that will have a capacity of 250GB and we're lead to believe will be the same thickness as well.

As with the Viewsonic Viewpad 7 the Archos 7 has a 7in LCD screen with a resolution of 800 x 480. This is lower than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Apple iPad but is still very useable. You can't quite fit a full web page on screen and have the text remain readable when in portrait mode and it's not quite as crisp and sharp for reading ebooks but overall it's still more than adequate for everyday use.

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