The G9 supports Adobe’s Flash player, yet in tests my device was all sound but no vision with in-browser video showing as a black box while the soundtrack played in the background. The issue turns out to be a firmware clash with Flash Player 11.1 – replace it with v11.0 and everything works as intended.
Flash works but only using version 11.0, not 11.1
Archos has taken an interesting route with 3G connectivity. Slide a plastic blank out of the back and you can replace it with a bespoke Archos 3G USB dongle. It’s a canny idea and because it connects over USB you can also use the unlocked dongle with your laptop.
At around £50, the dongle is reasonably priced, which is just as well because you have to use the Archos unit and, of course, it’s something you can buy at a later date when you are sure you have a need for it. Alas, tests using an unlocked Zoom dongle with a USB extension cable wouldn't connect.
3G option if you need it
The G9 only has the one camera, a front-facing 1.3Mp affair. That’s a design decision I can’t argue with – who actually takes photos with a 10in tablet? Indeed, the camera works a treat with Skype, unlike the webcam fitted to the Motorola Xoom 2.
Battery life is no more than adequate. Once you have the G9 charged you can expect around seven hours of use depending on how hard you push it. Set it to loop an HD video and you will get to the four mark but little further.
Battery conditioning may see charging improve over time or maybe not
But good grief, my G9 took an age to charge – even when switched off it was well over four hours. Plug the G9 into the mains while being used and the charger barely seems to keep pace with the device’s power consumption. Charging from a USB port does little more than marginally extend the running time.
The G9 101 is not without some niggling annoyances but it still represents decent value if you want a tablet that plays HD video in any format. The stand and 3G dongle are simple ideas that make the G9 rather versatile too. The only reason I can’t give it more of a recommendation is the Flash problem and the Biblically long recharging time. Here's to the next firmware fix. ®
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Sorry to feed the trolls, but this won't sell to those who would otherwise buy iPads (and vice versa).
This is a £250 tablet, with a £50 upgrade to 3g if you want it. The equivalent iPad is £499 (plus the cost of adding things like adaptors for reading SD cards).
I got the Archos 80 G9 (saving another £50 compared with the 10" model). I compared it with a friends iPad2 last week, and I could certainly do more of what I want to do with the Archos than I would be able to do with the iPad, unless I was prepare to shell out more money for software and pay for (and carry around) a bag of wires and adaptors.
So for me, I spent £280 all in against what I estimate would have been around £600 for an iPad2 and the required bits. Out in the real world, that difference will feed my family for 2-3 weeks.
We don't choose between an Apple product and another one. The Apple product is not something that we consider, in the same way that I wouldn't bother to test drive a BMW M5 if I want to replace my Ford Galaxy.
This isn't flame bait - if you are wealthy, have limited commitments and can live with the restrictions, you go ahead and buy the Apple device. But when I read a review of a £200-300 tablet, I don't care how it compares with an iPad at twice the price - it is irrelevant - I just need to know how it compares to other similarly priced tablets.
To answer an earlier comment, I personally wouldn't choose a secondhand iPad, given the number of friends who have had to throw 1-2 year old iThings away following battery problems. If you have had better luck, then I hope it continues.
I won't be recommending Archos again
I've got an Archos 70 Internet Tablet, and for 6 months, I thought it was the dog's danglies.
Then, all of a sudden, it's decided it needs a new licence to play the videos I've been playing since I got it. So to carry on doing what I bought it for, I have to shell out more money.
It's only $10, but I *really* dislike bait-and-switch tactics. So, for the sake of a few quid, Archos have bought themselves some very bad press.
You forget that those dongles usually install software onto your laptop or whatever that is written by the manufactorer to make it owrk.
Archos would have to write a special script to modify Android to allw the hardware to work plus the dongle makers would have to breate all new firmware and software as well.
This way you get a dongle that will take a SIM card in it that is not locked to any mobile network without the need to pay to unlock it as well.....
Wish people would think first before they assume anything that works on windows will work with anything else as well....