Feeds
65%
Archos 9

Archos 9

The Windows 7 iPad alternative?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The lack of raw processing power also causes problems when it comes to video streaming with all but the lowest definition YouTube videos refusing to run cleanly. BBC iPlayer streams proved barely watchable with noticeable frame drop and judder. Ttrying to watch any of the 480p QuickTime film trailers hosted by Apple proved to be a complete waste of time. It's worth remembering that these are all tasks that any bog standard Atom netbook can perform without getting its chipset in a twist.

Archos 9

Alas, more placebo than a full-strength tablet

On the positive side having Windows 7 means the Archos 9 comes with Windows Media Player 12, which is one of the better bits of software that Microsoft has cooked up of late. With native support for most popular audio and video codecs including H.264 and AAC it at least makes the 9 a pretty potent media player. We tested a selection of H.264 and AVI video files up to and including 1080p and didn't encounter any playback issues. Archos also includes a copy of Matroska Splitter which adds MKV support to WMP12.

With the K-Lite codec pack installed too, WMP12 played every MKV container HD video we threw at it, which was just as well as the processor lacks the grunt to run HD video through VLC media player. The 9's success at playing HD video does rather highlight its lack of an HDMI port. Media playback is also helped by the rather fine pair of forward facing speakers that Archos has fitted to the 9. They certainly do the job and produce a clear and well balanced sound that puts the speakers in many netbooks we have tested to shame.

Archos claims a full charge of the 9's removable battery is good for approximately 5 hours but even when we turned the Wi-Fi radio off, the screen brightness down and didn't use it to watch video, the best we managed was barely more than 4 hours. During our more rigorous battery tests - a standard definition video playing at full screen using VLC with the screen brightness at max, the Wi-Fi radio on and the volume turned up to 11 - all we managed was 145 minutes – hardly impressive and pretty much rules out ideas of using it as an e-book reader, even for those with strong arms.

So, is the 9 really a PMP or a UMPC? We are not entirely sure, and neither we suspect is Archos. To work as a fully fledged tablet PC it needs a faster processor, more memory and perhaps a version of Windows 7 rather higher up the Microsoft food chain. On the other hand it is too expensive, too large and too short on storage capacity to be a decent PMP.

Verdict

Regardless of role the Archos 9 could do with a much longer battery life. If the company improved the specification or dropped the price, then the 9 would make more sense. As it is, we suspect that anyone with four hundred odd quid burning a hole in their pocket and wanting one of these new tablet devices will hold off until March and then head to their nearest Apple store. Or they could just buy one of the dozens of common and garden netbooks currently available for around the £300 mark. ®

More Touchscreen PC Reviews...


HP
TouchSmart 600

PsiXpda
Pocket Computer

Packard Bell
oneTwo M

Acer Aspire
5738PG Touch

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

65%
Archos 9

Archos 9

Rather than appearing as the best combination of tablet PC and PMP, this device fulfils neither role satisfactorily, despite the welcome ability to handle 1080p video.
Price: £450 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.