Update: See updated review of the Archos 7 Android Tablet over on my other blog after using it couple more days.
So, here’s the hands-on review of the new Archos 7 Android tablet.
I really like the 7-inch build, it’s portable enough to fit in my laptop bag along with my laptop while it’s not too big carry it with me everywhere. Also, the inner metallic finish feels great on your hands. I also like how well you can type while holding the device in your hand.
The good stuff about Archos 7
The Archos 7 does stored media very well. You simply hook it up to your computer (Mac, Linux, or PC) via a mini-USB cable and your computer will recognize it as a USB mass storage where you can simply drag your movies and music, no need to fiddle with iTunes or convert it in anyway. That’s the highlight of Archos 7, that is can play back your digital media in 720P HD in crisp color.
There’s a kickstand, which is cool for using it as a digital frame or internet radio in the kitchen.
The audio speakers are pretty good plus with Last.FM app, you can use it as an internet radio device, all while browsing the web in your kitchen (that’s what I am using it for).
Also, I found that Archos 7-inch tablet device was perfect for browsing the web while sitting on the toilet, really.
The best part about Archos 7 is the internet browsing. I have a Nexus One, which runs Android 2.2 Froyo but the larger 7-inch LCD on the Archos 7 allows me to browse all websites, no pinch-and-zoom needed. Archos hit right on the mark with the size of the screen, it’s big enough to view sites without extra scrolling/zooming.
Wifi works really well also, I’ve had no problems so far connecting it to my home router, tethering it off both my Palm Pre and Nexus One while I am away from home.
The bad stuff about Archos 7
The Archos 7 comes with a “resistive” touchscreen instead of “capacitative”, which means you need to press a bit harder to get the same multi-touch effects as capacitative touchscreen. Before I got used to it, I had to touch the device twice before getting it to work properly. But after using it for just over a day now, I feel more comfortable and if that slashes the prices down to $199, it might well be worth it.
Of course, the Archos 7 comes with an older Android 1.5 or 1.6, which is disappointing but I think Archos might upgrade the device to Android 2.1 or 2.2 Froyo when the time is right. That’s what I am hoping for, so I can get Flash Player 10.1 plus all the goodies Froyo brings.
Also, Applib, which is Archo’s proprietary version of the Android Market, simply sucks because there’s not enough apps. I know you can actually hack Archos 5 to install the regular Android Market but Archos 7 will have to wait until some hackers find an exploit. (I am working on it too right now.) That should be coming real soon since Archos 5 was hacked within weeks.
My earnest wish is that Archos let’s the users access the whole Android Market, the value of the device would certainly skyrocket if they did.
Overall, Archos 7 is a bit lacking but at $199, you pretty much get what you pay for. If general internet browsing, internet radio, and a portable HD media player is what you are looking for, Archos 7 is definitely a great, affordable option with a big future ahead especially if Archos decides to upgrade the device to Android 2.1 or 2.2.
On the other hand, you are super tech-savvy, you might want to wait as Dell, Marvell, and a slew of other companies are going to be introducing new Android Tablets in the next couple months. Or check out Archos 5 Android tablets, which has more storage, 5-inch screen, and a ton of hacks for that.
As for me, I just got it because I want to test out any Android Tablet for reviewing on this blog plus playing with it so I can get more familiar with the Android Tablet OS. Perhaps, I might try to hack it to Android 2.1 or 2.2, I am studying it right now.
Update: After hacking some apps onto the Archos 7 and being able to view flash videos using SkyFire browser, Archos 7 is pretty good device for streaming videos. Compared to my Nexus One, which runs Android 2.2 Froyo, Archos 7 does a much better job of streaming video, perhaps because of its extra graphic CPU? I am actually now using it more than my Nexus One, simply because the larger screen is better for my eyes and I don’t have to pinch-and-zoom to see content, it’s all right there!
You can get the Archos 7 on Amazon for $199.
(mini-USB port, charging, and 3.5mm headphone jack on the Archos 7)
(Yes, the kickstand is nice.)