Android Central

Android Central @ CES

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.


Reader comments

Archos GamePad hands on


When I first saw this on here, and a few other places, my interest was piqued. However, now that I have read some hands on data, I am most assuredly interested. I have an VZE Galaxy Tab 7" (The first), and use it exclusively for gaming. It suffices, to say, but I want some physical buttons for certain games. This device would provide JUST that. It would also allow me to free up space on my TF101 Transformer of the games I have installed there. My curiosity is if it provides "Move to SD" for supported apps. The simple reason is that due to the device having removable, expandable storage, it would be most welcome, as to allow me to ensure I always have the space for the big games, such as those from Gameloft. I have read that the physical buttons feel "odd", or perhaps not as "good" as those on the Project Shield device. What were your take on this Andrew?

Id want it simply for emulators, im not really a fan of any of the games designed for android, or at least not yet. I find the on-screen keypads for the games to be absolutely horrible and makes them unplayable, its hard to play when you have not tactile feel to the keys and your damn hand is covering have the screen anyways.

One thing this article doesn't mention is the fact it has native onscreen button mapping (though I am not sure why they didn't use it in the demo). The controller soft button on the navigation bar actually maps the onscreen buttons to the physical buttons, which would be perfect for someone like you or me who wants to play games like Dead Trigger but can't stand the onscreen controls. I'm sure Project Shield will have the same thing, but it's also going to be at least $399 and it only has a 5 inch screen and not really meant for anything but playing games while this is still a tablet. For less than $200, this thing is a steal.

I agree the price point on this thing is very appealing i like how it showed the smoothness, but i really want to run some snes,nes,psx,and possibly some n64 emulators to play some of my favorite roms. The physical buttons makes a big difference, i recently bought a usb otg (on the go) for my s3 and and it works great with my ps3 controller but built in functionality is always a good way to go. Looking forward to seeing this on the shelf.

It sure looks like a killer device for the price, but I would gladly shell 40$ more for a decent battery life. The reviews I found are speaking of 2 mere hours in serious gaming conditions.

Lets say its gonna be a perfect bathroom companion. =)

I'd love this if it had a screen the size of the Galaxy Note 2 so that it was a little more portable. I like the layout of this much more than the clamshell design of Project Shield.

Anyway, I am using an Xperia Play(with no data plan. I am using it wifi only) for my emulator and other Android gaming needs. It works quite well as a portable gaming device. I just wish the screen was an inch larger... There is even an app called "Game Keyboard" that allows mapping scren touches to the buttons which is pretty cool for games like Final Fantasy 3 or Final Fantasy Dimensions or anything really that would need a d-pad.