- Clean user interface
- Good media capabilities
- Rich camera experience
- Lacklustre design
- No 4G
- Terrible front camera
- Low internal storage
We review the Archos 52 Platinum – a multimedia-centric smartphone with a large display, dual-SIM support and a low price tag.
MWC 2015 expanded a number of Archos’ affordable smartphone families and whilst the new 52 Platinum is the baby of the bunch, it’s still the largest of the Platinum family and packs all of the key hallmarks too.
Design: 2012 called…
The design of Archos handsets has improved considerably over the last few years, but the 52 Platinum still falls on the wrong side of drab, at least to look at.
The body feels strongly reminiscent of the LG-made Google’s Nexus 4 from 2012, albeit with a back plate that’s been completely subsumed by soft-touch plastic. It feels a bit cheap and marks easily too, however, due to the fact it packs a larger screen and will be a tad tougher to hold, you might also welcome the additional grip, especially at the base of the phone’s back where it becomes more textured.
The hardware buttons fall on the right side and are also swathed in a similar material but they’re easy to feel for and fondle, even if there isn’t the most satisfying feedback when they’re depressed.
Step back from the finer details and you’ll find physical capacitive keys, and under the aforementioned back plate, slots from microSD expandability and two SIM cards.
Screen and media: Extreme angles
Whilst colour temperature is a little on the cool side (not uncommon for Archos phones), this Platinum handset pushes out attractive imagery. It offers a bright IPS panel that barely suffers from contrast or colour distortion at all, making it great for multimedia, even at more extreme viewing angles.
As the device’s name hints at, the Archos 52 Platinum sports a 5.25-inch 720p HD LCD. It’s a great size for video playback without turning the phone into too much of a phablet and sharp enough to keep text crisp when browsing the web.
OS: Keeping it simple
We’ve commended Archos in the past for this, but the UI on the 52 Platinum is a faithful representation of a near-stock Android experience, and that’s a good thing.
For the most part, the Android 4.4.2-based UI looks and feels like the conventional Google Now KitKat launcher, although the unique dual-SIM configuration of the phone places a few extra options inside the notifications panel as well as tools for managing data usage and switching audio profiles on the fly.
Elsewhere there’s a touch of bloatware, but thankfully you’re given the option to install or skip when you set the phone up for the first time, and on top of that there area a number of Archos-specific apps.
Naturally the Archos Video player gives you greater control over categorising your content and access to shared drives and media servers too. It’s a nice fit for Android and the ideal tool for media junkies or those with video files scattered all over the place.
Performance and battery: A little jumpy
As a rule of thumb, in the world of Android phones, it’s important to remember that just because a phone uses a processor with more cores, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be snappier.
Of course there are other factors like the phone’s 1GB of RAM and the potential for poor software optimisation, but whilst the Archos 52 Platinum is no lead weight, it feels slower than it should for a phone with a 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core brain.
Transitions and animations feel slick for the most part, but you’ll catch the phone skipping a beat or two when you swipe or tap, taking that little bit longer than you’d expect to execute on your request. It’s also got a small amount of internal storage for a media-centric phone, with just 8GB built in, although thankfully the microSD card slot can accommodate cards up to a whopping 64GB, so it could be a lot worse.
Then there’s what lives under the back cover. The phone’s dual SIM slots interestingly don’t take the same kinds of SIM cards. The primary 3G SIM slot accommodates larger miniSIMs, whilst the secondary 2G SIM slot only accepts smaller microSIM cards.
There’s also a fairly modest 1750mAh removable cell tucked into the 52 Platinum and even with both SIMs it does a good job of getting you through the day. As data usage only really takes place through the primary SIM, you can expect similar usage to most other mid-rangers. Video playback, streaming and gaming are the biggest hazards but otherwise, expect a day’s worth of use, just.
Camera: Anything but the front
You make certain assumptions about phones before you use them, just on how they look, the 8-megapixel rear camera on the 52 Platinum is surprising. It’s not iPhone-rivalling quality, but for such an affordable device, the 8-meg snapper offers super quick focus and impressively tight macro shooting capabilities, even in video.
Its biggest downfall is a lack of dynamic range, meaning that output can look bad pretty quickly if you’re shooting in a high contrast environment. You’re given an impressive amount of control over the camera experience with various shooting modes, panorama capture, ISO control, time lapse and the option to capture snaps with a smile, to name but a few.
If you’re a fan of selfies this is not the phone for you however. The front-facing 2-megapixel shooter may pack a beauty mode, but its incredibly narrow field of few and terrible quality make it virtually unusable.
Verdict: Right phone for the right person
The Archos 52 Platinum is a polarizing phone. Its £130 price tag excuses a number of its shortcomings; such as the intermittent UI lag, lacklustre design and terrible front-facing camera. But for that low price, you’re also getting a pretty sweet deal.
We’re a fan of its media capabilities, a surprisingly usable rear camera and for those who need an affordable dual-SIM device, this is undoubtedly one handset we’d strongly recommend. Assuming it makes the jump from KitKat to Android JellyBean, the 52 Platinum should stay relevant for a little longer and whilst it definitely isn’t for everyone, it’s unquestionable right for a very specific group of users. We just hope you’ve found our review.
|Screen resolution||720p (1280x720)|
|OS||Android 4.4 KitKat|
|Processor||1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582|
|Storage||8GB. Expandable via microSD up to 64GB|
|Bonus features||Dual SIM, Archos Remote Server, Beauty Mode|