back to article Archos 101 8GB Android tablet

The Archos 101 – that's 'ten-one' – sits at the top of company's range of Android devices that also includes the 43 personal media player, reviewed here. So now, Archos can offer you an Android device with a screen anywhere between 2.8 and 10.1 inches – from a pocket media player to a fully-fledged iPad-esque tablet. Archos 101 …

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Anonymous Coward

Archos has given with one hand and taken with the other

"...because there is no rear facing camera."

To be fair here... Who would want to ever use a thing this big as a camera? don't we all have phones that do the camera thing already..

Im guessing you could say that its not a phone either.. but same as above...

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Silver badge

The CDD needs it

Archos runs afoul of Google's compatible device document (CDD). In 2.2, there are a lot of things a device MUST implement to be compliant with the CDD - GPS, compass, 3.2mp camera etc. By not including these things, the 101 fails the CDD and therefore doesn't ship with the Marketplace app. That's why it has appslib instead.

Who can blame Archos for jetissoning these features anyway? This thing is meant to be a media player not a giant phone but the price they pay is no official support by marketplace and that must impact on sales.

Android 2.3 apparently loosens the CDD up a bit, so perhaps if a firmware update appeared that used 2.3, the device would actually be compatible. I hope that the CDD for Android 3.0 is also more realistic of what tablets should and should not implement. A tablet primarily used for PMP or ereading should not have to be burdened with a bunch of crap which adds to the price of the hardware. I don't suppose the 101 will ever be an Android 3.0 compliant device, but perhaps its successor will be.

The real thing I see from the Archos 101 is the obvious fact that tablets do not have to be anywhere as expensive as the iPad to be functional. There were so many tablets announced at CES 2011 that there are going to be some very affordable and attractive devices coming this year. I hope Apple is going to discount the iPad (when iPad 2 turns up) otherwise it will get steamrollered otherwise by cheaper competitors.

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Ah, ok yes...

I can see that certain apps require the camera for things like barcode scanning.. obviously not usign it as a camera.. but it would be required for other uses.. I would like to see this tablet with all the features to be cdd'd with gps compass etc it'd be superb.

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Happy

Nice review

This was the machine I wanted to get until impatience drove me into the arms of Apple and the iPad, and now I'm just hoping the Notion Ink Adam actually makes it to market (the ipad will do til then), because I do miss the occasional flash vid, but also, I'm using it to read far more books than I thought I would, and whilst the lcd screen is in no way burning my eyes out (I tend to read in bed at night), the pixel qi screen sounds nice (and battery savery).

It'd be great if you get your hands on a Notion and put it thru' its paces.

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darn

the ad suggested it would fold in three!

failed!!

where are the folding pads!!

they cant be that technically dificuilt.

a 7" pad with a 12" screen... its all win.

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PDF reader.

I have an iPad now which basically is used only for browsing web and reading technical PDF books. Does anyone know how Archos 101 will fit as a PDF ebook reader with it's 16:9 screen? I would like to sell iPad (can't stand that crappy iTunes software!) but I am afraid that iPad's screen (4:3) is better for ebook reader.

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"itunes...crappy...software"

on elreg, I read so many times "itunes...crappy...software" but no-one ever says what is crappy about the software. Have to say I am a user myself so please enlighten me!

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iTunes is bloated

iTunes started off as a neat little music ripper and has slowly, inexorably grown into 78Mb bloater. Quicktime, app store, music, videos, podcasts, firmware updates, sync, all done through a single hulking app. On Windows it also runs like a slug with an awful OS X inspired UI which is struggles to scrolling large lists. It reminds me so much of the AOL client - a monolithic slab of proprietariy crap that you have no choice but to use because its the only conduit to the service.

The funny part is seeing people stroking their svelte microscopic little devices which they must attach to a computer running this bloater to do anything. Apple might be masters of design but they have a blind spot when it comes to the software their hardware uses to sync.

Compare and contrast with other media devices which either use MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) or simply appear as a drive to the host computer. Either frees you to use various file management software (usually one will come with the device) or just drag and drop stuff through your desktop.

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Jobs Horns

iTunes is one of those Marmite apps...

...you either love it or hate it. As one of those people who fall into the latter category, I think the problems iTunes has are threefold

Firstly, and for absolutely no reason that anyone has yet managed to figure out, on some PCs iTunes runs like a dog. Who isn't feeling too well. Attempting to drag a sled loaded down with several tons of lead. Up a steep slope. Into a headwind. Meanwhile, on other, apparently identical-spec PCs (and even on PCs who's spec is so utterly crap it's a miracle they can even boot up Windows let alone any apps as well) it runs like a dog. Who wins every race it's entered into. By a country mile. Even into a headwind...

Secondly, iTunes is one of the least Windows-like app the average Windows user is ever likely to encounter. Apple have made the square root of zero effort to Windowsify the way iTunes looks, feels, behaves and, perhaps most importantly, expects the user to behave. When discussing the pros and cons of iTunes elsewhere, a common trend seems to be that Mac users generally like it partly because it doesn't seem to suffer the same random performance issues noted above for the Windows version, but mostly because it looks and feels like the other apps they're used to. On the other hand, Windows users generally don't like it, partly because of the aforementioned performance issues, but equally because it can be a right pain in the arse to use unless you're willing to forget pretty much everything you've learned about how apps work.

Thirdly, with every release, the minimum amount of crud required for a successful iTunes installation continues to grow, and grow, and grow. And then expand just a little bit more after you think it's finished and couldn't possibly get any larger. If all I want to do is dump MP3s onto my iPod and update its firmware once in a while, why in blue blazes do I need to have all this extra crap installed either as a requirement or as a "even though you don't really need to install this, we'll just tick the box by default so you end up installing it anyway unless you remember to untick it" annoyance? Bonjour? Sod off.

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FAIL

why?

Why it is crappy? here are some arguments:

* it does not support Linux

* it forces you to use some closed protocol for syncing the device, therefore all other apps are hacks or are using iTunes internally (with just different GUI).

* you can't sync a device with more than one PC

* it crashes more than an USB Storage disk

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Anonymous Coward

If you mostly want to read PDFs

I highly recomend a kindle. If web browsing is something you have to have then its not that good, but for reading it beats any LCD hands down. For the price though I would recomend a kindle and a cheep net book.

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Anonymous Coward

RE:PDF Reader

It's fine as a PDF reader, probably better than IPad for A4 format there is just a tiny bit of cliping at the margins when in portrait mode. I use mine for reading PDF's though if you were just using it as a book reader I suspect a dedicated Kindle device might be better.

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Linux

Simple and basic things are ignored.

> on elreg, I read so many times "itunes...crappy...software"

> but no-one ever says what is crappy about the software.

Poor options for controlling what gets onto your device. Some basic use cases are just plain ignored. They don't fit into the current interface very well. Plus that interface is something out of the depths of time and looks more like it should be rendered in ANSI or with curses.

Being able to visually manipulate what's on the device is a much more sophisticated and modern approach.

The store part is just a mundane webfront with a proprietary wrapper and poor copies of other people's ideas.

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Linux

Finally, something in a decent size!

All the other android tablets seem to have come out in 'not much bigger than a phone' or 'too big for your pocket but not big enough to be useful' sizes, this one actually looks the right size.

The camera on the front is perfect because the 'killer app' for these things has got to be video calling via skype or similar.

That it's missing 3g is no great shame, and the price is significantly less than apple's too. May actually have to look into this...

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"...the only tablet now on sale that I would actually spend my own hard-earned on."

Yep, for the first time since these new-gen tablet things started coming out I'm actually quite tempted to tot up my pennies and purchase. I think I may just hang about to see how Honeycomb looks (and costs) before I actually take the plunge, though.

Not even tempted by the iPad. Have played with colleagues' pads and, while slick, they're awful shallow...

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Badgers

Really Tempted...

BUT I want a raw android installation not one filled with Archos crud.. I want one that will get updates when google release them, and not updates that remove everything I have installed...

I will not be buying this although Im seriously tempted.. Im holding out hope that Google will sell a decent spec'd (like this one) tablet in the same way they sell the nexus phone, direct and unencumbered.

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Anonymous Coward

Raw Android?

Does any manufacturer make such a device? My understanding is if you get a Samsung or LG etc you still have to wait for them manufacturer to port the next Android version to your specific hardware. (There is a boot mode for the 101 that allows you to install your own OS but it voids the warrantee) By the way you can remove the "Archos crud", but once you have installed Google marketplace you can't remove the Google crud. I've had 4 firmware updates since November for my 101 and only the update to Froyo required any app re-installs.

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Stop

Limited life

Sounds like a nice tablet. But with only 256MB of RAM it'll never run Android 2.3 properly and with only 1 core it'll never run v3.0.

The Android OS is still rapidly developing and any Tablet manufacturer needs to reassure their customers that the Tablet will be upgrade for a reasonable amount of time.

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3.0 *requires* dual-core?

When did 3.0 change from being "adds support for dual-core devices, but will still run on single-core devices" to "requires dual-core, don't even think about trying to run it on a single-core or we'll point at you and laugh at your stupidity when your device throws an error screen halfway through the boot process"?

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Finally, a tablet I am inclined to like

Two nagging questions which I would have expected an el-reg review to answer:

1. It cannot drive an external HDD because? Is it being silly (on marketing grounds) or it needs a power injector?

2. Archos at least at some point was supporting both Android and Angstrom. Is angstrom supported on this one?

It is finally a tablet which I am tempted to buy :)

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Linux

angstrom

According to wikipedia (I know, I know), the 101 is on the list of devices being developed for. But the Archos site doesn't mention the 101 explicitly when describing dual OS options.

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Silver badge

hmm

Archos are not exactly renowed for releasing bug free products. The are even less renowned for updating older products to fix said bugs. I couldnt find any mention of bugs, are you saying this is a first for archos? You also say "it won't drive an external HDD" do you mean the port is low power and cannot power an external hdd or that external hdd wont work at all? Does the USB port offer enough power to charge a mobile (thinking tethering here)? What multi touch is included with the tablet?

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Honeycomb?

What would the score be like with Honeycomb.....? (presuming it will be upgradeable and will run it OK?)

At £ 270 this sounds like a pretty good price point.

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GPS

Looking at the tech specs on the Archos site:

http://www.archos.com/products/ta/archos_101it/specs.html?country=gb&lang=en

This thing is close to the perfect tablet - just can't see any mention of GPS which would make it great, there's alot of apps using it for more than just sat nav these days - google sky being one.

Very tempted for the price..

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Multi-user?

One of the things that's kept me off the iPad is the lack of multi-user handling I don't want my guests to pick up the pad from the coffee table and have instant access to my mail.

It's unclear to me if Android offers anything to accomodate this worry. Can anyone enlighten me?

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Silver badge

No it doesn't

Some email apps might be able to password prompt before fetching email, or you could use the web front ends and remember to sign out but that's the best you could do.

I'm not aware of any profile switching functionality in Android. It would be a welcome addition if it did appear in 3.0 especially for tablets where people are likely to be using the same device.

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Now that's more like it!

£270-295: Cheaper than many netbooks!

I want one!

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Have had one for two months now

And have to say I love it. Everyone is iPad this that and the other. This is perhaps not as high resolution, but the battery life is astounding, and it's android, it's froyo, and with a bit of tweaking you can get Android 3.0 on it (yay for SDK fun).

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"the only tablet now on sale that I would actually spend my own hard-earned on"

I'm still not ready to part with my hard-earned on a tablet but this is the most tempting fondle-slab I've seen so far. And unlike almost every other vendor, Archos have been making this sort of thing for years.

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Happy

Looks rather tempting that....

can't justify an iPad, but do love using them. Anyone any experience with the old tethering deal, do networks mug you or is it taken as part of your data package? I got a shock once after hooking my w810i up to laptop to see if it would work!

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Tethering

I use my Archos 101 with my Android phone using the FroYo built-in WiFi hotspot app and Vodafone either don't care or don't notice. It just comes out of my mobile internet allowance on my price plan.

Doesn't mean I'm not thinking about getting a Mobile WiFi device from them though, I get through an awful lot of data...

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Silver badge

A sign of things to come.

If Archos can toss out a very functional tablet for about 3/5 the price of an iPad, you can bet others will too. The pity is that by excluding some esoteric features like GPS, compass etc. Archos ran afoul of the compatible device requirements in Android and therefore lacks the marketplace app. I hope Android 3.0 loosens up requirements so Archos can be welcomed into the fold.

That aside, it demonstrates what will happen this year. A veritable tidal wave of tablets to meet all budgets and feature requirements. Apple is going to find itself with a diminishing share of the market and more rapidly than it happened for phones too.

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Anonymous Coward

OR....

That Archos could put GPS and a compass into thier devices. I'd pay $20 more for the option...

(and usb charging is a must)

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Silver badge

Yeah they could

But why should they? An Archos is meant to be a PMP not a giant phone. Same goes for the B&N Nook which is trying to be an ereader. In the future there may even be android tablets which are bolted to kitchen worktops, fridges or in picture frames, or in set top boxes and which therefore never move and don't need GPS (which they can't reach anyway because they're indoors).

I believe the CDD for android 3.0 should set some profiles and make reasonable requirements for different categories of device which don't shut them out of Marketplace for no good reason.

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pretty good..

although still loving my advent vega....and it's £249...these 10" tablets are great and much better value than the ipad.

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Unhappy

Re-charge is from the mains adapter only

That seems a bit short sighted when it has a micro USB and every* mobile phone/device now uses MicroUSB for charging, when travelling I would prefer not to have to carry multiple chargers... shame :( otherwise if this had GPS and vanilla android I'd order one now.

*excluding iPhads.

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No MicroUSB Charging

I'll give you that it can be a bit annoying, but then the battery on the Archos lasts easily for a whole day anyway.

I use mine in conjunction with my phone and the amount of strain the Archos takes of my phone's battery almost doubles it's life, with the Archos able to pull a 10-hour day if you don't go overboard.

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Rob
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Problem solved...

... get a powermonkey then you have a charger for pretty much any electronic device you happen to have with you and some emergency charge should you need it plus you can use it in any country.

Mine lives in a bag with all my camera kit and portable PMP.

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Happy

Had one for 6 weeks..

1) The case is made with a new plastic coated metal process, so it's tougher than it looks but still really light.

2) Archos have added very little 'crud', they have put a pretty good video and music player, the other bundled apps are optional to install.

3) It can use a keyring bluetooth gps device, but if you really want a giant navigator you'll need to tether to your phone for data access (perhaps not if you buy some navigation software that stored map data locally).

4) Archos have released firmware about once a month, and have an option to open it up to running fully custom firmware.

5) PDF files work great! As do Word files, Kindle books, MKV files etc. etc.

6) The screen viewing angle isn't fantastic, but it's not unusable by any means.

7) I've compared it to a friends Advent Vega, the Vega is a bit smoother scrolling but has same screen, is larger, is 50% heavier. I'll stick with my 101 for now thanks.

8) has any other tablet got a flip out stand? It's very, very useful!

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A 3

Agree

I've also had one since November and agree with the above points. Other things to add...

1) No USB charging, but the power adapter comes with 3 clip on plugs meaning it is really easy to use in UK, Europe and US.

2) The power plug into the device is far too long and acts as bit of a leaver making it easy to damage when plugged in. I damaged mine because of this and have to wiggle it about to get a connection now. A shorter right angled plug would have been a better design.

3) The plastic tip of the flip out stand (when out) is too brittle. Mine broke when pulling it towards me. The surface it was on, a hotel bed, not exactly heavy duty.

4) Can plug in a keyboard and mouse if needed, or a USB thumb drive.

4) Warning: in landscape mode it is just a little bit too wide to comfortably thumb type using the on screen keyboard. On the move twitter users should look at the 7" version.

Generally for my use case, browsing the web on the Sofa, watching a movie on a plane etc. it works really well.

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Better than I expected

I've tried this model and own the 70 which is very similar. It's decent hardware with the exception of the camera. Also the touchscreen can be a little insensitive around the edges but what touchscreen isn't?

I doubt any of the new range will see Honeycomb though..

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Alert

Power and tethering etc

I'm assuming the HDD issue is one of power but I didn't have an externally powered HDD to hand to test.

Hook up a mobile via USB and the phone charges a treat and the USB tethering worked fine with a Motorola Defy and a T-Mobile SIM.

No GPS.

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I'll keep my Vega thanks

Having previously bought various PMPS from Archos, IMHO they are always better on paper than in real life. I wish them well now that they've moved into the table arena as their devices are always full of promise - but for me that promise has already been delivered in the form of my Advent Vega (now that it's been custom rom'd of course!).

I didn't think I'd ever write 'fantastic' and 'DSG' or 'Advent' in the same sentence, but maybe once in a lifetime you can be pleasantly surprised!

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Bronze badge
Coat

The quick brown fox jumpED

You haven't tested your 's' softkey.

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FAIL

Meh

Archos..... *shudders*

Future updates.... buy the all new (looks just like the last model) Archos 102.

Dont do it guys, don't but them, don't give the Frenchies the satisfaction of selling more poorly developed un-supported devices.

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Anonymous Coward

re: meh

I'm sure Sugar will put you an all-british one together if you ask him really nicely.

It might have a big keyboard, telephone and a complete absence of aesthic qualities whatsoever mind

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Alan Sugar

Don't forget it will be gunmetal grey with a row of brightly coloured keys.

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FAIL

MicroSD only

So I can't take the SD card out of my digital camera and plug it straight into this for viewing photos. Instant fail. What's wrong with including a full SD card reader?

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SD / Micro SD

I use a Micro SD in a SD adapter in my camera for this very reason. Take Micro SD card out of adapter, and plug into variety of devices to upload.

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Looking good, but

256MB of installable area is the killer for me. Not really keeping your options open for those that like your apps or want to update in the future.

Still a good option for people not wanting an iPhad. :)

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