Yeah yeah iPhone 4S. Who needs it? Today we had a chat with Archos about its upcoming range of Honeycomb tablets, the first of which are due to hit UK shelves at some point this month.
The first of which, the Archos 80 G9, is actually available to order direct from Archos now for £199.99 inc. VAT.
But we were told that the Archos tabs would also be available to buy from Carphone Warehouse, Dixons Stores Group (Dixons Currys and PC World), HMV, Tesco and John Lewis online. This represents a big push for UK shelf space from the France-based tablet maker.
This little Android tablet comes with 8GB of flash memory, a 1GHz TI OMAP 4430 chip, and an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
There’s a front-facing camera (no main one) allowing for video calls to be made via Google Talk and (eventually) Skype; Archos told us that its in talks to bring Skype video calling to its tablets soon.
What’s also great about the 80 G9 is that Archos is saying that it’ll support ‘virtually every’ audio and video codec out there including FLAC audio and H.264 high profile video. Archos’ expertise is in portable media players, something that it’s keen on bringing to its Android tablets.
Connections-wise you get a micro USB port for charging and data and a mini HDMI out socket as well. So you could download a high definition movie from iTunes on your desktop machine, port it to your Archos 80 G9 and then play in on your HDTV through the HDMI.
Plug and play 3G
Unlike a lot of tablets, there won’t be Wi-Fi only and 3G & Wi-Fi versions of the Archos G9 range.
The 80 G9 instead comes with the option to buy a separate 3G dongle which clips in to the underside of the tablet. This costs either an extra £50 for an unlocked SIM free one or £53 for one which comes with a Three pay-as-you-go mobile broadband SIM bundled in.
This dongle is essentially the same as any other 3G dongle, only one that’s designed to slip into the frames of Archos’ tablets. They can also be taken out to be used with your laptop or computer like normal.
Tubro Edition - Archos 101 G9, 80 G9 Tubro and 101 G9 Turbo
The bigger Archos 101 G9 comes with much of the same spec at the 80 G9, save that it comes with a bigger 10.1-inch touchscreen. The Archos 101 G9 will be priced at £270.
Both tablets will ship with the latest version of Android 3.2 Honeycomb running, so these will be as up to date as Honeycomb gets for the time being. There’s no custom interface here, just pure Honeycomb. But while there’s no snazzy UI, Archos has installed its own music and movie playing apps on both tablets.
As well as both of these tablets that are due to arrive at the end of the month, there’s also the 80 G9 Turbo and 101 G9 Turbo in the pipeline.
Both of these tablets have again, much of the same spec as their non-Turbo equivalents, but come with a faster processor inside - a 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4460 - and 16GB of storage instead of 8GB.
These will be priced at £230 and £300 respectively.
And if that wasn’t enough...
For the super hardcore movie fan with several hundred GB’s of films taking up hard drive space, there’s the forthcoming Turbo 250 range.
Both of these will be available in 8-inch and 10.1-inch editions, will run on a 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4460 and will provide the user with a whopping 250GB of storage.
The ETA on these guys is currently slated for the end of the year at the very earliest, with an early 2012 timeframe also looking likely.
Amazingly, both of these will be going for £250 and £300 respectively.
The most expensive option, the Archos 101 G9 Tubro 250, is cheaper than a Wi-Fi only Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which gives you 16GB of storage.
Archos told us that their ability to cram in so much storage comes from their past experience with PMP’s and because “we’re clever”. Nice modesty!
Thanks to the plug and play style aspect of the 3G dongle, you can cheaply upgrade your Archos tab for £50 regardless of which one you go for. The difference in price between 3G and non-3G versions of other tablets can sometimes run into the hundreds of pounds, so it’s nice to see a relatively inexpensive and flat rate for 3G upgrades here.
We’re expecting to take delivery of the 8GB Archos 80 G9 and 101 G9’s soon; stay tuned for some hands on pics and first impressions as and when we get them in.