- Stock Android build
- Basic camera
Originally known for MP3 players and portable video players, Archos has tried its hand at Android phones and Tablets in the past. With dual-SIM capability being the main area they’ve managed to differentiate, the Archos 45 Platinum looks set to consolidate this USP – but is it a good phone?
The 45 Platinum is far from the cutting edge of smartphone design and reminds us of older Android devices. This means you get a rather out of date button layout with home, menu, back and search provided in that order.
The phone feels solid,the rubberized back feels relatively rich and it’s fairly resistant to fingerprints. The buttons are responsive, laid out such that the power button is up top with the volume rocker on the right.
Whilst on paper its 960×540 4.5” display should be fine, in reality it’s lacking in brightness and has poorly balanced colours. It feels a little cold with whites taking on a blue tinge. Unfortunately its isn’t all that responsive either.
The only significant change Archos has made to the stock Android 4.1.2 user interface is to support the dual SIM capabilities on offer here. In the status bar, there are two signal indicators and the settings include options for which SIM cards are enabled. Being able to choose different ring tones for each SIM card is also a nice touch.
When sending a text message, you also get to choose which SIM card should be used.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 platform in use here is not going to win any performance awards, but its still totally usable most of the time with minimal lag but. Having a full 1Gb of RAM makes a big difference at this end of the market, something Archos should be applauded for.
Loud and proud
The built in speaker is very loud which is great if you want to annoy a busload of people all at once – though we remind you, if that’s your goal, you deserve whatever you get.
The sound quality through headphones is acceptable and if you make judicious use of the EQ settings, perfectly listenable.
Archos provides a branded music app that is very similar to the stock Android music app except they have made zipping through tracks more difficult annoyingly. There is also a branded video app, which managed to play the various videos I had quite easily. These apps are simple and functional but it is not clear why they are there in place of stock Android versions.
The Archos 45 Platinum is definitely not a smartphone for keen photographers, though should suffice for Facebook and Instagram. Photos have a fair amount of noise but the 5-megapixel sensor manages to collect a decent level of detail even in dimly lit scenarios and there is always the LED flash to back it up, illustrated below.
Video is recorded at 720p. The results are actually pretty respectable in good lighting. While the picture is a touch hazy, though white balance can be erratic. With no continuous auto-focus in video, fortunately, tap to focus works a treat.
Two slots; better than one?
The most notable aspect of the 45 Platinum’s connectivity options is the availability of two SIM slots underneath that rubberized back. Only one can be used for 3G connectivity and it is clearly marked. It must be noted that these are regular sized SIM slots when most phones are micro-SIM and some are nano-SIM but Archos do provide one adapter in the box to help.
Signal strength was generally good from both SIM slots and this decent radio performance was only marred by slightly weak WiFi reception.
The 4Gb of built in storage can be expanded with a microSD card up to 32Gb in size. We used a 16Gb SanDisk Ultra card that worked flawlessly.
Battery performance was admirable with a days use easily achievable. Using both SIM card slots did seem to have a noticeable effect on battery life making it necessary to charge the phone at least once a day.
So is it worth it?
At its price of £169 off contract, the Archos 45 Platinum isn’t great value for money considering what else is on offer. In the same breath, there aren’t many dual SIM devices around at the moment .
The Nokia Lumia 620 and HTC 8X can both be bought for a similar price. If you comfortable with Windows Phone, they both offer a far superior package. On the Android side, there is the HTC Desire X and Sony Xperia M which are both more premium options.