Archos 101 – Great competitor to the iPad

Archos 101 is a ten inch Android tablet that is one of the many, many tablet PCs coming out for 2010. It is light, thin and priced very affordably at $299 for the eight gigabyte model and $399 for the 16 gigabyte model. This is the first time that I have seen a very decent presentation of Android 2.2 on a big, iPad sized screen. However, this device might have arrived at a terrible time because there are lots of ten inch tablets coming in to the market and they are all running on the latest Android 3.0 or Honeycomb OS. Archos 101 hasn’t made any promises of updating to the latest and greatest OS for Google. This is a bummer since the latest Android version is optimized for tablet PCs. I would still recommend this device to anyone looking for an iPad alternative.

Unlike a lot of Android tablets that I have had in my labs, Archos 101 actually looks good next to the iPad. It is sized comparably at ten and half inches wide, six inches high and 0.33 inch thick. This gadget does feel like real tablet and not an oversized phone.

The first thing that I noticed about the Archos 101 is the light weight. It is just about 16 ounces and weighs the same as a pint of beer. The weight is very less as compared to the iPad. I don’t know how Archos managed to keep the weight so low but I must congratulate the company on this achievement. Maybe it is because of the materials used in chassis, Apple uses glass and aluminum construction where as Archos tablet is almost all plastic and the device easily bends with pressure. I won’t give any points to the Archos tablet for its rugged quotient.

Another detail about the design that I saw here was the absence of any tactile navigation buttons. Archos did this because Google said it was going to move all the navigation controls on the Android 3.0 on the tablet itself. Archos tablet has onscreen controls for menu, back, and home. I liked the end results as it allows the navigation controls to reorient irrespective of how you hold the device.

In terms of connectivity, the Archos 101 has gone a bit off Android script. The ports are all crowded on the left side and there are a lot of ports to play around with. You get sockets for power adapter, headphones, and microUSB port for computer syncing.

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