Archos 101 – Hands-On and Overview

Updated on 10 June 2018 by

IMG_4661 10 inch consumer tablets don’t seem to make much sense to me. I can’t think of any scenarios that need that much space apart from newspaper and magazine typesetting. Sure, a netbook running a multi-windowing OS could use a whole lot more space but when I look at Android tablets that show one window at a time through apps that were created for a maximum 5 inch screen I have a problem. Having said that, there’s a special feeling one gets when touching and moving huge web pages smoothly across such an area when the screen is only 50cm from your face. Video becomes more immersive too, especially when it’s good quality. The challenge is to create a large screen at a very low weight. A low price always helps too!

The Archos 101 [specifications and details] does 10 inch in 480gm. That’s an impressive size/weight ratio and when you add in a price of just $300 you have to agree that Archos have set out in the right direction with the 101.

Its almost no surprise that the Archos 101 doesn’t include Google Applications but there’s a lot more to get excited about. A full range of codec support, USB host (with full-size USB port) and a good level of processing power. It looks good too which is important when you’re aiming for as many coffee tables as possible.

Personally I still think that 7 inch makes more sense for a single-window experience but if you’re looking for an impressive gift for yourself, big is always better right?

Full specifications are in the database, a Chippy hands-on is shown below and we hope to be testing this out further as soon as we can. Note that the test devices at IFA were all running Android 2.1 Android 2.2 will, without a doubt, speed this up to very acceptable levels.

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17 Comments For This Post

  1. turn.self.off says:

    How about reading A4 sized pdf without scrolling?

  2. chippy says:

    There’s also the cartoon scenario. These are all specific typesetting scenarios.

  3. turn.self.off says:

    Got a point there, didn’t think of typesetting that way.

    Btw, i do wonder what kind of interest it will get from suits. It has a double angle stand, so the keyboard can be used more like a true keyboard with the multitouch screen. And the ipad have had some (somewhat) surprising interest from that area i think. Still, if the quality of the non-gmail email client is poor that could create some trouble. Another thing may be that it seems to not bundle thinkfree. Not is thinkfree available via appslib.

  4. Yu says:

    Ever tried that A4-Thing? I used my 10″ matte-screen netbook for that purpose and it was an eye-killer. Its not the screen size, that is insufficient, but that 1024×600 resolution – viewing A4 on a widescreen device doesn’t help either.

    It is strongly straining the eyes for books printed such that the font size correlates to 12-14pt on A4 (though that might probably be the LCD screen in general), but just forget it for scientific papers printed in 10pt or less.

  5. turn.self.off says:

    I was suspecting as much, as the math says that a 14″ should be more the correct size. That was why i frame the comment as a question, as i was wondering about it as a usage scenario. Thanks for reinforcing my suspicions.

  6. turn.self.off says:

    Ah, i should have done this math earlier. As a 10″ display is some 40% smaller then the 14″ of a A4 sheet of paper, anything sized for A4 becomes 40% smaller when scaled for the 10″ display. End result is that a 12pt font becomes 8-9pt large. And 10pt ends up around 7.

  7. Yu says:

    There are a few possible solutions to this plight:

    – Publish Stuff in scaleable Formats. Not likely to happen, especially as existing PDFs, some of them being scans of old papers, cannot easily be converted.

    – Program a PDF viewer, that is capable of doing elaborate viewing of pages, such as allowing the user to create “splitting-templates”, that split the actual page into a couple of virtual ones to view at a time, such that “page flipping” isn’t limited to printed pages but rather focused in the actual content – even better it would be for programs to find the structures themselves, but I guess that would be complicated and unreliable.

  8. Nirok says:

    normally i prefer 7″ but in this case the Archos 10″ is more impressive than the 7″. i’m not sure why exactly but i think its because the 10″ bezels are more even.

    still though to me, tablets need to be able to be held in any direction without looking akward ala the iPad, Galaxy, VS7. Archos devices are clearly made to be landscape only.

  9. End User says:

    Why no 2.2? Froyo was unveiled way back in May. The delay in OS availability is really hurting Android as far as I am concerned. Are we going to see this again when 3.0 comes out? What guarantees are there that future OSs will be supported?

    Lack of Android Market is another cause for concern.

  10. turn.self.off says:

    Don’t know if the french have a summer vacation like norway has, but if they have Archos may have had the products developed in june already and just waiting for back to work/school time to unveil their new stuff. As such, their whole development process may have used 2.1 as a test base. And trying to intro 2.2 in the middle of it may reset the whole thing back to square one in terms of bug checking, fixing, rechecking.

  11. aftermath says:

    Chippy, you’re exactly right about 10 inches being too large for one of these consumer “tablets”. Tablet computing developed to provide hand held devices that could be used in contexts like standing. I almost never see people using their 10 inch consumer tablets this way. It’s ironic too. An iPad is a big iPhone. I almost always use iPhones used in hand, and I almost always see iPads used on a table/lap. It negates the value of the form factor. 7 inches may be the sweet spot for a true hand held.

    In fact, I think if an ODM got its act together, there’s a silent demand for a “tablet” with a large (5 to 7 inch) screen and an off screen pointing device that allows you to use the device with just one hand. OK… as I re-read that sentence, I see there’s pretty obvious room for a juvenile remark or two, which is not at all what I’m implying. I’m thinking more of people who want to work a “tablet” while enjoying a cup of coffee, scribbling down a note on a piece of paper, or holding on to a bag or other belong (such as on public transportation). As long as a device wants both my hands or spends most of its time setting on a surface, it’s not going to displace a laptop/notebook/netbook for me.

  12. Maverick says:

    I totally disagree with this. Although, I realize you see a lot more devices than I. I think the complete opposite about the 7″ vs. 10″. I can’t think of a single use for a 7″ device that I wouldn’t use my 4″ phone for (typically with the same resolution). The phone is always in my pocket for that matter.

    I do think Android currently might be the wrong OS for a 10″ device. I personally would like to see a Linux OS, maybe Ubuntu Netbook Remix on a tablet.

    I think my ideal device for a mobile browsing (Sofa Surfing, Travel media, and classroom distraction) device would be something like this except a full OS. I’d like to see a 1366×768 resolution as well.

  13. TZ says:

    Hi Chippy,

    If you have another hands-on opportunity with it, can you test the full-sized USB port to see if it will allow an USB-powered external HDD? According to an Archos tech, the USB ports only have 100mA of power.

    Also, previous-gen Archos supports ext3 for USB host. This allows >4GB videos. Can you test this, or at least ask the Archos rep if USB host mode still supports ext3?

    Thanks in advance.

  14. Nimmly says:

    10″ isnt too big, its just too heavy. the reason people dont use their iPads is because of weight, not size.

    but some of the 10″ Android devices look to be significantly lighter than the iPad.

  15. Marius says:

    Personally I was checking out the Archos 7 Home Tablet, mostly because of the size and I’ll be honest, if I wanted to replace my netbook with this permanently, I’d go for the 10 inch screen. Which right now since I have an iPod Touch I’m replacing, I’m considering this as a viable option. The only real downside is that in the car it’s size makes it a little too big, but it’s something I’m willing to work with for the sake of having less overall devices in the house. Trying to consolidate the functions of several devices into one, and these seem like the option I’m considering, also because I want to get my feet wet with Android, it’s the one OS I haven’t owned that I want to try out.

  16. Asd says:

    10″ is best for the killer application.

    That is, bathroom/sofa PDF reading and browsing. Seriously, I have my phone to take around, the pad is for when I fianlly get home and I want to check random website or read random PDF without turning on the slowly booting laptop (sofa scenario) or where the laptop would be just awkward (… bathroom :)).

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