ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo ICS review: Cheap with Ice Cream Sandwich

by Robert Nazarian on
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ARCHOS released the G9 tablets in October of last year, but since then released Turbo versions with Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich in the box. I thought I would give one a shot since it’s one of the few tabs with ICS and it’s priced right. ARCHOS hasn’t been known for quality, but this newer G9 series is supposed to be a step in the right direction for them. Still, with many tablets to choose from in the 7 to 8-inch screen size, how does it stack up? Without looking at anything else, the price is right at $249, but what about the rest?

Design

As soon as you take the G9 Turbo ICS out of the box, you quickly see how this is an economy tablet. It’s full of plastic, even more so than a Samsung device. It does feel solid, but the overall look and the size of the bezel doesn’t scream incredible quality. One of the highlights is a kickstand on the back, which works great and tucks in nicely when not in use. Also on the back is a compartment that has a USB slot. This isn’t for transferring data, but instead for an optional 3G stick so you can get data anywhere. This is the first tablet I’ve seen with this feature and it’s nice because it allows ARCHOS to produce one tablet, but at the same time give flexibility to the consumer whether they really need a mobile data connection or not.

There is one other highlight, and to me this might be better than the kickstand. It features a microUSB port for charging. This is refreshing because so many tabs are going to a proprietary connection which is very annoying especially when traveling. They also included a mini HDMI port for all your big screen needs.

This isn’t the thinnest tab at 11.7mm. Many competing tabs are in the 8 to 9mm range so it’s not close, but it doesn’t feel all that terrible. As far as weight goes it comes in at a hefty 465 grams, which again is a little heavier then most of the competing tabs.

Overall, I’m not in love with the look of the G9 80, but it does feel comfortable in the hands.

Hardware

The G9 80 Turbo ICS features an 8-inch 1024 x 768 LCD display, a 1.5 GHz dual-core OMAP4 processor, 1GB of RAM, choice of 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, front facing 720p camera (no rear facing), microSD for up to an additional 32GB, mini HDMI, GPS, Bluetooth, and Wifi. There are number of variants available like non-turbo versions that have a 1 GHz dual-core as well as another Turbo (sans ICS) version with a 1.2 GHz dual-core and a 250GB hardrive. Frankly it’s a little confusing, but the one that this review is based on is the Turbo ICS with 8GB of internal storage. It should also be noted that they offer 10.1-inch versions which are called the G9 101.

Battery

The battery life is rated at 7 hours of video or 10 hours of web surfing. I always do a video rundown test in which I play continuous video with the display turned up to about 2/3′s. I was able to get 6 hours and 50 minutes so not bad at all. It’s not as incredible as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE, but should satisfy most people.

Performance

The 1.5 GHz dual-core performs very well, but once in a while, I did notice an occasional lag. What it’s from I’m not sure since this is pretty much a stock ICS device. I’m not into benchmarks, but to appease the audience I usually run an AnTuTu, which came in at 5328, which was better than the Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE I recently reviewed, and has a 1.4 GHz dual-core Exynos. All in all for a $249 tablet, I don’t have any complaints.

The display is adequate, but doesn’t have the wow factor of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE’s 1280 x 800 display. Again, this is a $249 tablet. Based on that, I think it’s more than adequate for the average user.

For speakers, you only get one so no stereo sound, but it doesn’t sound bad.

Software

The G9 is basically stock Ice Cream Sandwich and let me tell you it’s a treat. The UI is pretty much untouched, but ARCHOS added in some of their own apps for music and video which are very nice. The music app has a nice navigation feature, which lets you swipe all your cover art. The video app plays anything you can throw at it. Before Android, ARCHOS was always known for personal media players so it’s nice that part of the business transferred to these tablets. You will find your usual bloatware like Nook and Evernote, but it’s not to daunting.

Camera

ARCHOS was smart enough to leave out the rear camera. It’s nice to have for emergencies, but it seems better to omit for cost purposes. The front facer is a 2MP, which is right up there with the higher quality tabs and is good for any of your video chatting needs.

Closing

The ARCHOS G9 80 Turbo ICS isn’t bad at $249, plus it has Ice Cream Sandwich. I would take it over the Amazon Kindle Fire, but the question is if it’s a better buy than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, which has a some lower specs, but made by a more reputable company? I will be reviewing that one shortly, but for now, if you’re looking for something inexpensive that can get the job done, the G9 80 Turbo ICS isn’t a bad buy.

 

 

 

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  • Frans-Peter van der Leur

    I miss one thing: It will never get Jelly Bean, as Archos never gives their devices major updates. The first Archos tablets are still stuck with android 2.2 (phone software), whicj is pretty weird for a tablet anyways. If you buy an Arhcos, it’s like it is and just like that, don;t expect any major updates or service the like.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3FZWHZLRJXHRA3ZWGYZBSOAXMA CraigT

      Frans – you clearly don’t recall that these very G9′s that Robert just reviewed started with Android 3.2 and were upgraded to Android 4.0 – one of the only and first device manufacturers to provide the ICS upgrade.

      And it wasn’t just a choice few units that got the upgrade, it was the entire range, whether it was the classic with 1GHz or the previous turbos at 1.2 Ghz and all capacity ranges from 8GB, 16GB and 250GB.

      So, if you bought and ARCHOS G9 back in 2011 you were treated to nice upgrade to ICS over the air in March.

      On another note, this isn’t the first time you have made this comment and it is getting
      very old. You need to remember with the first tablets ARCHOS made Gen8,
      they were one of the first tablets ever on the market. They were made
      with Android 2.0 as a beta OS for tablets because as you stated it was
      made for a smartphone. These units were promised an upgrade to Android
      2.2 by ARCHOS and they delivered on that.

      I am sorry, but you have to be realistic with technology – you can’t
      expect something made in 2009 to still be relevant with 2012 technology
      especially in such a young, evolving industry.

      Look at the other manufacturers – the Samsungs, Acers, Asus – all of them develop products and try to keep them as up to date as possible but still launch new products to adjust to the changing technology.

      My advice for all tablet buyers – buy a tablet for what it is at that point, not what you hope it will become.

      • StevenR01

        I have owned several Archos devices including the 5it – THE FIRST ANDROID TABLET FROM ANYONE and they have always offered excellent support and have a very active community that really helps. I hear this will drive an external hard drive USB host. I am in. The 5IT is going into well deserved retirement next to my Commodore 64 and Toshiba Pentium Laptop in my technology Hall of Fame. Those were all GREAT DEVICES that took everything I dished out and kept on ticking for YEARS and YEARS but are now obsolete. The 80-G9 will be my daily driver tablet.

  • Fkruis

    The samsung might be more reputable but the fact that has a propietary connector makes it in my view unattractive. The archos has standard connectors so is way ahaed in my book. The turbo archos has a faster processor, so for my money its archos hands down

  • Eluft

    I have an 80G with ICS and feels really good. The backside USB port works with my USB stick so I have an additional port for bringing data to the pad.

  • Anon

    Can use external USB keyboard, USB mouse, and/or Bluetooth wireless keyboard with touchpad for use via HDMI on TV while sitting in your easy chair or couch.

    • Vegeta

       Don’t know about the keyboard but i’ve seen a video of a guy using a USB mouse and it worked perfectly so maybe the keyboard could also work.

  • SailorSam

    Samsung may be a more reputable company and build a better product but they don’t know how to build a media oriented tablet.
    I am preparing to return a Tab 2 7.0 that I have had for about a week.  The Samsung Tab does not have built-in capability to address SMB and UPnP shares over the wifi using the provided apps.  My year old Archos 70 IT can load and play media files from my wifi.  The A 80 G9 has the same network sharing ability as the 70.  The ebook management program Calibre cannot directly access the Tab.
    If you have a lot of content on your network that you want to access without transferring it, the Tab is not for you.

  • anon

    I’m a proud owner of the turbo 16gb model and am pretty impressed. I had to send mine back as the USB port stopped charging after my 4 year old gave it a heavy pull. The original had a slight screen wobble near thel location of the speaker and the power/volume button could easily be knocked whilst holding. The replacement I got back from Archos support ( very quick turn around ) was almost like the had fixed all the annoying things about it. Much faster…. think more ram, screen wobble…. gone, buttons more firm and more inset. I keep it in a smart leather case from eBay so they it’s got extra protection and I have to say, you will be pleasantly surprised at this dark horse budget tablet. My kids love watching films streamed from my nas with HDMI cable to TV and use it as the main media hub at home with internet radio and picture frame files accessed from my nas. I’ve put it through it’s paces too with a very intense tower defence game… sential and the graphic and screen play is amazing for a portable device. Oh and did I mention there is a remote control app for your phone too that works if your on the same wifi network! I found a YouTube of a guy claiming they are just as good as the ipad and I would have to say in my view, you get a big bang for your buck and if only the finish was slightly better… they would be a real competitor. Mine is in a case and dosen’t concern me. So there you have it, Archos appear to be moving up a gear. So where do I go to buy shares in Archos :-)