We were more than a little gushing about Archos’ forthcoming range of Android tablets a little while ago, though not without reason.

Though never destined to win any beauty contests (the tablets themselves are cased in some not exactly nice-looking plastic) the Archos G9 range of Android Honeycomb tablets redefine ‘competitively priced’.

Set to undercut the likes of the iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 the G9 range starts at £200 and £270 for the 8-inch and 10.1-inch editions which come with 8GB of internal storage. There are 16GB and 250GB versions of the G9 range set to hit shelves later in the year.

Archos is a company which is perhaps best known for its PMP devices; to whit all tablets in the G9 range, we’re told, will be capable of playing virtually every audio and video codec out there.

The Archos 101 G9 we’ve got here (with 8GB of storage) is capable of playing smooth 1080p Full HD on its 10.1-inch screen and there’s a mini HDMI connection as well, so you can hook this up to your HDTV if you’ve got one.

What we think is really interesting about Archos G9’ range is that they’re designed to include an optional 3G dongle. Available for an additional £50, this allows you to cheaply upgrade your nominally Wi-Fi-only G9 tab into a Wi-Fi and 3G one for a fraction of the cost; in most cases you’re looking at a jump of around £100 if you want a 3G’ed tablet.

In an added bonus, you can also pop the 3G dongle into anything else that a regular dongle would work with, your laptop, computer or whatever else.

We’ll be looking forwards to testing the video-out capabilities of the Archos 101 G9 in our review as well as it’s other capabilities; it’s powered by Texas Instruments’ 1GHz TI OMAP 4430 dual-core chip so high-end gaming fun ought to be viable as well. While we get on that, feel free to have a look at our early pics.

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