Fresh off the heels of NVIDIA's huge Project Shield announcement, Archos is proving that it was here first, debuting its GamePad for the first time stateside nearly five months after its announcement. The Archos GamePad adds hardware controls, including traditional gaming buttons and joysticks, to a 7-inch Android tablet. Though the GamePad isn't the highest-spec'd device in the world with a conservative 1024 x 600 IPS resolution and 1 GB of RAM, it does boast a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, quad-core graphics, and a recent addition of Jelly Bean to ensure smooth and lag-free gameplay.
And that's exactly what I saw-- the demo I played was plenty fast and fluid, and the hardware buttons, which can be custom-tailored to specific games, added a whole new level of enjoyment to the game. I'm no gamer by any means, so for me, the buttons make gaming much more accessible than it is on a traditional Android device. In the same breath, I might have overlooked some quirks in the game due to ignorance, so hardcore gamers should definitely take the GamePad for a spin before diving in.
Archos tells us to expect the GamePad stateside in the coming weeks sporting a pricetag of around $170. We'll prep our thumbs for some more in-depth gaming then-- for now, enjoy the hands-on photos and video after the break.