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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.