Archos Gamepad.

A couple months back, at CES 2013, we first had a look at the Archos GamePad. It's an awesome idea that fills a hole in mobile gaming -- we need good controls. The GamePad solves this by having everything you expect to see in a game controller built into the frame of a 7-inch tablet. You have dual-joysticks, directional buttons, A,B,X,Y buttons, start and select, and a pair of buttons on the left and right shoulders. This sounds like just the ticket for some of today's big, immersive games -- I'm looking right at you Ravensword: Shadowlands.

The hardware itself, both inside and out, is nothing to write home about. A dual-core A9 with a Mali MP4 GPU won't exactly get spec junkies up and moving, and the device itself is 100-percent plastic. While that will make it nice and light to hold while playing games, it certainly makes the thing feel a little cheap. The good news is that the price tag reflects this, and the GamePad will only set you back about $180.

The GamePad does more than play games, as it's basically a 7-inch tablet at heart. It runs Android 4.1.1, with very little customization done to the standard stock build of Android. But my first impressions are that it's not a very good 7-inch tablet. It seems a bit sluggish, but I'll reserve judgment here until I get everything signed in and set up. I won't hold back about the screen though -- it's terrible. You can watch movies and look at pictures on the GamePad, but you won't want to. The resolution (1024 x 600) makes things look pixilated, and the viewing angle is atrocious. The good news is that the GPU won't have to work very hard to drive the low-res screen while playing games.

I'm really looking forward to gaming on it. The controls feel excellent, and the placement is perfect. You can see a quick look at it all after the break, and after I give it the old college try I'll post a more thorough review. In the meantime, head into the forums with any questions you might have, and I'll do my best to answer them.

 

Reader comments

Hands-on with the Archos GamePad

18 Comments

I see that the Pixel doubles as a review backdrop. I'm interested to know how it handles a fighting game like Street Fighter.

Nice Hands-On Jerry. Its a shame the screen comes across as average but hopefully when games are running its barely noticeable.

The price tag makes it a very cheap game pad for pretty much anyone.

It could be great for younger kids on trips with family or for school etc. The plastic design would reflect such a thought. A cheap device like this potentially in the hands of a younger generation could mean plenty of drops onto hard surfaces.

Lol I really doubt this poor hardware wold run Ravensword: Shadowlands.
It could have been Tegra 3, it's cheap too (OUYA has it).

I hate this. It's just a slimmed down larger PSP with lower specs that doesn't add up to its bulk size. Burn it now!!

Archos isn't so bad with quality. They tend to use a lot of plastic like Samsung but the plastic feels of lesser quality. I also don't like their history of product firmware upgrade. I have a Archos 80 G9 and am happy with it as a simple tablet but am frustrated that they backed away from their initial promise of Jelly Bean. It's not like they have carriers like phones.

The specs for these are a A9 Dual-Core with a Quad-Core Mali 400. I'm not sure how many cores the Mali 400 on a S3 has but if it's the same then I don't think it will be enough for future games. The fact that this was built more for gaming means it should have a better gpu and maybe even a quad core CPU.

Like PiotrekD said Tegra 3's are cheap and would have been a better choice.

$180 is cheap though.

I would pay up to $300 for one with better screen, GPU and 2GB. Dont mind plastic. The physical design looks good.