Feeds
65%
Archos 9

Archos 9

The Windows 7 iPad alternative?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.