Hands-on with the Archos G9 tablets (Update: Video!)

Archos recently caused a bit of commotion by announcing two new tablets powered by Android 3.1 Honeycomb -- the Archos 80 G9 and 101 G9. Of interest was not only the 1.5GHz dual-core OMAP4 CPU, but also the price point -- $249 for the 8-inch version and $349 for the larger 10-incher. Throw in the intriguing prospect of a 250GB mechanical hard drive or 16GB of flash storage, and you've got two products that could potentially shake up the Android tablet market.

We got to try out both new Archos tablets briefly at the manufacturer's London press event today. Join us after the jump to find out what we thought.

YouTube link for mobile viewing (opens in new tab)

Physically, both the 10.1 and 8-inch G9's are fairly similar. You get a lightweight plastic grey and black chassis that's slightly curved, and feels pretty good in the hand -- at least when it's not covered in finger grease from dozens of tech journalists.

The biggest physical difference between the two tablets is their respective aspect ratios. The 10.1-inch model ships with a widescreen display running at 1280x800, whereas the smaller 8-inch G9 runs at 1024x768, and is slightly more square-shaped. Speaking of the screen, it's nice and bright, and viewing angles are good too. It's nice to see that Archos hasn't compromised on picture quality in these low-cost tablets. We mentioned the different storage options before -- some models will ship with 16GB of flash storage, while others will sport 250GB in the form of a good old-fashioned HDD. Archos assured us that the impact on weight and device thickness would be minimal, with only a couple of millimeters being added to the back of the chassis on models with the HDD option. Speaking of options, we're told that certain models will ship with 512MB of RAM, while others will a full gigabyte. We're not thrilled about the prospect of Honeycomb on less than a gig of RAM, but at least this won't be the case on every G9.

You also get a kickstand around the back, which is nice, and something of a rarity as far as Android tablets go. There's also a front-facing camera, though nothing on the rear of the device. Connectivity comes in the form of a micro-USB and mini-HDMI ports -- Archos was demonstrating the G9's HDMI mirroring functionality at the London event, and this worked flawlessly.

Both devices also come with bespoke 3G dongle ports for adding in 3G connectivity, as both tablets ship with Wifi only. The dongles will work in any device, not just the G9 tablets, and Archos is currently in talks with British carriers to bring 3G data options to G9 owners in the future.

Software-wise, it's basically stock Honeycomb. Archos has left the latest version of Google's tablet OS more or less untouched, and unlike earlier Archos tabs, you get the full Google Market experience included too. The only differences we noticed came in the form of customized Music and Video apps from Archos, both of which were based around a rolling wheel of content on the left side of the screen, and more traditional UI controls on the right side. Of course, you should be free to add the Google Music app to the G9 when it's available in Europe.

We were impressed with the performance of both G9's, most of which is likely due to the beefy 1.5GHz dual-core OMAP lurking inside them. The launcher ran smoothly, even with a live wallpaper running in the background, and browsing was nice and slick too.

So, all-in-all, a impressively speedy performer with good connectivity options at a very affordable price point. The chassis isn't as pretty as some competitors, but when it comes to speed and functionality, it's difficult to fault Archos' new tablets. We'll be interested to see how the 512MB models hold up under more intensive testing, but for now, we're looking forward to seeing more of the G9 series.

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • Im sold. ..for the price you can't beat this i just need to know when i can put my preorder in damn i can't wait!
  • Killer deal. is that John Lennon talking?
  • Is it a glass or plastic screen? If it's glass, I'm getting one. A plastic screen is the only thing that makes me stall at this point.
  • its capacitive multi-touch so it's glass
  • You can do capacitive multi-touch on a plastic screen. My dad has an Archos 70 with a capacitive plastic screen.
  • Be prepared for Archos to abandon support for this once new models come out. Ill never buy Archos again.
  • really? do you have a link to a story, cause I didn't see anything specific when I looked online
  • Who cares if they abandon support. You but a bad as tablet fire cheap money. Don't expect the world.
    If it's awesome when you buy it then you got your moneys out of it.
    Plus I invasion that cynogen wil get there hands on it and tweak the hell put of it
  • Who cares if they abandon support. You but a bad as tablet fire cheap money. Don't expect the world.
    If it's awesome when you buy it then you got your moneys out of it.
    Plus I invasion that cynogen wil get there hands on it and tweak the hell put of it
  • These tablets look great and I could care less about not receiving support from the manufacturer as there is a little thing on the internet called the android community that apparently can get things done at a much faster rate than some manufacturers. Places like XDA have no problem with such things.
  • Guys, this is honeycomb we're talking about. Because we don't have source code there are severe limitations on how helpful the community can be. Honeycomb can be very buggy,and if you want to have any kind of decent experience then you really should go with am company that has a good record about updating their product.
  • Who cares if they abandon support. You bought a bad as tablet for cheap money. Don't expect the world.
    If it's awesome when you buy it then you got your moneys out of it.
    Plus I imagine that cynogen wil get there hands on it and tweak the hell out of it
    The main draw back it's the gpu is old now.
    Still performs well but is showing it's age.
    Kind of like when the droid x launched with the same gpu as the d1. it was leagues better. But now it's old news. Same wil happen to the g9
  • Take the mobile switch off the facebook links please. It's too aggressive. If you open a link that opens the mobile site, it won't let you switch back to the full site whether on the android or on my desktop in chrome.
  • Wait, so if you order one you have a chance of either getting 512mb of ram, or 1024mb of ram, without an option? Just randomly?
  • *Facepalm* I am going to assume that your post is a joke but on the off chance that it isn't, try reading the article again.
  • Hey, a built-in kickstand. I've been wanting to see those on other tablets since the first iPad. You shouldn't have to buy a case to be able to stand a tablet up.
  • I'm glad I lobbied for the discount I got on the G-Slate or I'd be a little unhappy reading this :-) This could make a very good gift for someone in the very near future.
  • What Archos device did you buy? I have an A5IT (still under 2 year accidental warranty) that I paid $250 for, and while it's stuck on Android 1.6, it makes many good single function devices. One of the benefits of Android is that your old non-broken devices can do a lot of simple things pretty well. I wouldn't want it as my primary Android device, since my phone has a camera, Android 2.2, more reliable GPS, and other stuff intangibles. For example, a web-controlled DLNA music player for any room in your house. It definitely beats buying a Sonos Music station for $400.
  • But what kind of screen does it have?
    No IPS means not that great color...
  • I would use it for house use...controlling items,and playing movies,and music.Due to the size of the harddrive,it would be awesome for parties and event at the home.Think of a better version of a harmony remote...lol
  • Any one notice that there are two discernible labels on the 10 inchers. "10.1" "10.0" and on image# 9 it's too blurry to tell but out looks like "10.2". I'm gonna say each one is an upgrade over the last. Wether it be hdd or ram or bundled 3g stick
  • Good choice to ditch Tegra 2. Shoe-in for ICS maybe?
  • That Kills the compatibility of most of the tablet apps. really want that 8 inch but ill see what HP is doing with the touchpad.
  • Okay so TegraZone becomes inaccessible (without hackery), but everything else should run just fine. The XGA screen on the 8" doesn't look impressive (the Market was a bit messed up), but the specs on paper are certainty impressive. Would like to see a review complete with battery life tests ;)
  • They were still running Android 3.1 but will come with 3.2 when they are launched. 3.2 is designed to run on screens other than 10" 16:10 screens i.e. just about every other Honeycomb tablet! 1.5Ghz and 250GB for those prices is a no-brainer for me!
  • Looks good, though I will be hard-pressed to buy another Archos product. I had an older 5-inch Archos video player, and it was a serious piece of crap. Broke 3 times, each time it took 3-4 weeks to get repaired and sent back. After the third time it crapped out I tried to get my money back, but they were unwilling to help me. Finally just threw it away. Before you buy anything from them, look around the internet for comments about the quality of their products and customer service.
  • Theres no doubt that these are cheaply made plastic tablets. But for the 8 inch er it's almost worth the risk. Aside from the aspect ratio
  • A Nook Color killer? Seriously, my one complaint about the Nook Color is that, for the money, I'd rather have a tablet that I don't have to hack at to get it to be a fully functional Android tablet. I'd rather buy this or see Nook Color drop well below $200.
  • If this has DLNA I'm sold.
  • I'm not sure if I would want one with a hardrive. Especially if it adds disk drive noise and fan noise.
  • Is wrong of me to be suspicious as to why they are so cheap?
  • meh - no netflix support - no buy....seriously, I know it's a honeycomb problem, but wtf, If I can't stream the movies I already have paid for on my 10" device, then it's not worth having. When they finally do get netflix support - this would be my choice.