Review by Sunetra Chakravati,5/5/2015 1:00:50 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
4G connectivity | dual SIM capabilities | expandable storage
8GB low on-board memory | under-powered ROM | low pixel density
- By Sunetra Chakravarti
Archos have always been regular with churning out tablets, smartphones and connected wear. Always priced at the budget to mid-range category, they havent been ones to go ga-ga over. Indeed the 80 Helium 4G tablet from last year was neither particularly cheap nor good. However, the 4G capability of the 80b as well as the under £139 price point make us want to see how it would fare.
The tablet is a happy marriage of aluminium and plastic and by happy we mean the metal outweighs the plastic. This has however made the tablet a real heavyweight. Thick white bezels around the display further kick its kerb appeal. As the previous tablet I reviewed was the Asus MemoPad 7 ME572C which weighs a tiny 269g, the 320g of Archos' latest tablet seemed almost bone-crushing.
On the plus side, owing to all that metal, the tablet does feel premium in hand.
Faint and non-luminous is how I would describe the display on the tablet. It also picks up prints like a fiend. Even though on paper, the Archos 80b Helium is a HD tablet with a 1280 x 800 resolution and an IPS screen, the display is nothing to be blown away by. While streaming media, colours seemed washed out and hazy. The super reflective screen and the fingerprints didnt help either.
What did blow me away was the fact that the tablet had 4G connectivity and dual SIM connectivity. So, if in a rush you could make and recieve phone calls (please use headphones!) as well as consume media over LTE.
RAM onboard is 1GB and storage is a measly 8GB, hence it is a big relief that there is a microSD card which will accept cards upto 64GB for you to stick all your media on.
The predecessor to this tablet had an under-par 2MP camera so the 5MP main camera with a 2MP front-facing snapper is a great improvement. Not that we use our tablet to take pictures (thinking of which, we dont use our tablet to make phonecalls either) but the presence of a decent camera is reassuring. Again, the pictures have a weird blue tinge to them and the less said the better about the front-facing one but we arent ones to complain too much.
When it came to listening to the audio without headphones, we were left stumped. Unless you turn the volume upto atleast 60 percent, in a hum-my office space, you will not be able to hear a word. In a super quiet room, yu will again find yourself straining to hear unless you pop on those headphones.
The kerfuffle in the value tablet range is very fierce. There is the superlative Tesco Hudl 2, the very well considered Asus MemoPad 7 ME572C and some own brand propositions that come in under the £100 mark.
Archos has entered this highly competitive range with a tablet which isnt the cheapest or running the latest Android. However, it has some features that make it a good product but I think when it comes to making a decision, the paying public will be shying away from this one and I will not hold it against them for doing so.