Archos 70 - Apps, Browsing and Battery Life

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The Archos 70 isn’t equipped with the Android Market from

scratch – it’s another effect of running a smartphone OS on something that’s

not a smartphone. Instead you have the AppsLib, Archos’s own app store. It

features essentials like Flash Player, required to unlock Android 2.2’s full

Flash 10.1 support, Opera Mobile and Angry Birds Rio, but compared to the full

Android Market it’s understocked.

Apps and games are split into 14 categories, making browsing

through them fairly easy. Some of the most glaring omissions are Google’s own

apps, such as Gmail and Google Maps, which are all-too easy to take for granted

as a previous Android OS-user. There’s an easy solution to the problems of

limited app selection though – ArcTools. This app, available from AppsLib,

installs both the Android Market and a handful of Google apps including Maps

and Navigation.

Archos 70

Do this and you’ll have access to thousands of additional

apps – and as the 800×480 pixel screen is an Android smartphone standard you’ll

encounter few problems. The lack of internal GPS and cellular functionality

will restrict some apps, but the majority simply work – in spite of the Archos

70’s non-smartphone status.

The user-facing camera comes in handy with apps too, if

primarily with more light-hearted photo manipulation bits of software. With a

low-powered 640×480 pixel sensor, any results aren’t going to be worth taking

off the tablet and printing, but then the camera is a tertiary feature of the

device.

One of its primary features is web browsing. With Wi-Fi

built-in the Archos 70 is web-ready and the responsive capacitive touchscreen

makes browsing a joy. The built-in web browser is decent, but others are

available from AppsLib including Opera and Dolphin. The 7in form factor is

perfect for web browsing too, giving the reading of articles online that hint

of book-like feel – more so than a 10in tablet. Unlike the Archos 101, the 70

feels natural when held upright like a book – the 101 is (and other larger tablets like the iPad are) just too unwieldy.Archos 70

Sensibly, Archos chose not to weigh-down the Archos 70 with

too many dedicated apps. We’ll cover the video player later, but the others are

vanilla solutions for basic features like email and music-listening. It has a custom UI, but the personality of the player is something for you to dictate.

In our battery tests, the Archos 70 didn’t quite

achieve the claimed 7 hours for video, but it didn’t do badly. With Wi-Fi

enabled and brightness set near to maximum (around 85%) the tablet kept on

pumping-out video for five hours 21 minutes. Reduce brightness and switch Wi-Fi

and you should be able to reach Archos’s claimed 7-hour figure. We’d rather

sacrifice some longevity though, as a fairly high brightness setting is needed

to avoid dull-looking images – this isn’t a particularly bright screen.