“How do you tablet?” Oh yes, that’s Archos’ new tag line when it comes to its growing number of Android tablets. Good timing since, you know, it just went ahead and released a quintuplet of new gadgets. The offerings range from small PMP-like devices with 2.8- and 3.2-inch screens to higher-end 4.3-, 7- and 10.1-inch tablets. All will ship with Android 2.2 “Froyo” and will include accelerometers, while only some have capacitive touchscreens, front-facing cameras and 1GHz processors. There’s a lot more to them all — we’re talking five different devices, of course — so we suggest hitting the break for a short rundown of each of them along with our early impressions.
Note: all of the tablets we saw were running Android 2.1 as of this hands-on, but we were promised that they’ll ship with 2.2.
- Archos 28 ($99.99, available end of September ) – The Archos 28 is really no surprise, but it’s certainly the baby of the bunch with its 2.8-inch, 320 x 240 resolution resistive touch display. (Note: all the product names correspond to the screen sizes.) With 4GB of storage, it’s clearly meant to be a WiFi-equipped PMP device of sorts, as it supports a number of video (MPEG4, WMV, MPEG2, etc.) and music formats. It comes with a new Archos music application that’s got a pretty nice looking UI with album art. Speaking of applications, all of the tablets come with Archos AppsLib — there’s no Market access or Google apps preloaded thanks to Google’s restrictions. The little thing does have an accelerometer and a 800MHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, though, so it can handle a bit of gaming as you can see below.
- Archos 32 ($149.99, available mid-September) – With 3.2 inches of display, the 32 is slightly bigger than the 28, but it also packs 8GB of storage and adds a bit more functionality. It’s got a camera on its back end that can apparently record 720p video. Furthermore, this guy has a composite port on the bottom for hooking it up to a TV. Both the 28 and the 32 are on the smaller side for browsing the web and typing in URLS, but that’s not to say it can’t be done.
- Archos 43 ($199, available mid-October) – The .35-inch thick Archos 43 will eventually replace the Archos 5, and given that it’s slimmer and more powerful, we don’t see too many arguing about that. Though this one doesn’t have a capacitive display like the larger Archos 70 and 101, it does sport a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor. We fired up a racing game and found the accelerometer navigation to be pretty accurate. The camera located on the back is capable of recording 720p video. Sure, it’s probably no Dell Streak competitor in terms of hardware, but it’ll run Froyo when it ships and be almost half the price.
- Archos 70 ($274.99, mid-October) – Sure, the Archos 70 is more expensive than the previous Archos 7 Home Tablet, but we’d be willing to shell out the extra cash for the added functionality. The 70 is similar in form factor to the Home Tablet — it’s just .4 inches thick and weighs only 11 ounces — but it’s now got a capacitive screen, accelerometer and will have Android 2.2 when it ships. That’s pretty every single thing we asked for when we reviewed the 7 Home Tablet. The 70’s screen was obviously much more responsive and the accelerometer was quick to adjust an e-book. Unlike the 43, the 70 doesn’t have a camera on the back, but it does have a front-facing VGA cam that apparently will work with some preloaded video chat apps. This one also has USB and mini-HDMI out ports.
- Archos 101 ($300, mid-October) – Of all the Archos tablets, we’re probably most excited about this 10.1-incher. Form factor-wise, the .5-inch thick tablet is plenty thin, and at .93-pound, it felt really light in hand compared to the iPad. The 1024 x 600-resolution, capacitive touchscreen was responsive and the 1GHz processor gave it enough power to play a 720p video. Like the 70, it has a front-facing VGA cam as well as USB and HDMI ports. It’s also got a kickstand on the back that allows you to prop it up at a nice angle for typing on the on-screen keyboard. Obviously, there’s a number of more Android tablets hitting soon, but this one definitely seems like a new contender in our book.