Archos 70 - Interface and Android Performance

Score

Sections

View All

The Archos 70 runs Android 2.2. It’s not the latest version

of Google’s OS, but it is still the newest version that’s commonly available.

More expensive rivals due out soon will use Android 2.3 Gingerbread or Android

3.0 Honeycomb though.

The difference? Android 2.2 was designed with smartphones in

mind, not tablets, where later versions of the OS are made with more awareness

of the tablet market. Android 3.0 Honeycomb in particular was made precisely

for these mid-size devices. Archos 70

Evidence of this smartphone mis-match lingers in the Archos

70. Occasionally, notifications will pop up referencing the device as a phone,

as if it’s having an identity crisis. Archos has done its best to transition

Android’s gender change from smartphone to tablet, grafting-on a custom user

interface. It’s very simple, its main aim to make holding the thing in

landscape orientation feel right when the vast majority of Android 2.2 gadgets

tend to be held upright.

The user interface does this with a thumb-operated side menu

that stays on-screen whether you’re on a home screen, within the apps menu or

in an app. It bows out when a video is displayed full-screen, but it’s

otherwise a constant companion – a replacement for physical soft keys.Archos 70

It functions very well, auto-rotating depending on how you

hold the Archos 70. As the main component of the user interface, there’s not

been as radical a change from vanilla Android here – especially in looks – as

in many Android smartphones. However, when some manufacturer-made UIs can make Android

worse, we inclined to think this minimalist approach is a good thing.

However, in spite of packing a fairly powerful 1GHz ARM

Cortex A8 processor, day-to-day navigation isn’t lag-free. Android 2.2-powered

smartphones with 1GHz processors like the HTC Desire run very fast thanks to the level of

optimisation of the OS, and by comparison the Archos 70 seems slightly

sluggish. However, it is more responsive than the larger Archos 101.

We talk as folk who have thumbed one-too-many Android

devices to be particularly patient with lag though, so if you haven’t been

similarly spoilt the slight blips and stops of the Archos 70 may not annoy.

It’s possible that Archos will improve speed with a software update, although

updates to most of Archos’s devices of the past couple of years have tended to

offer minor tweaks rather than anything ground-breaking.

Latest from Trusted Reviews