The downsides of the dock/tablet design are the lack of screen angle adjustment, no battery in the coverboard and very shallow key travel. But something has to give in the name of reduced size, weight and price. While the keyboard may be a bit cramped and shallow, the layout is well thought out with plenty of Android-specific shortcuts and handy foreign letters marked on the keys.
OK, so the Transformer keyboard is better, but the Archos coverboard is certainly an improvment on many third-party Bluetooth keyboards or no keyboard at all for that matter. Yet when it comes to ports and connectors, the coverboard only has a microUSB slot, so you can connect it to mains power and use it as a charging stand, as well as a keyboard. The tablet has the expected microUSB (On-The-Go), mini HDMI and MicroSD slots.
The Archos 101 XS uses the the same dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470 processor with 1GB of RAM as the recently announced Kindle Fire HD. It’s a chip that Jeff Bezos said is better than a Tegra 3 but this is not the time or place to start getting bogged down in comparative floating point operations per-second (at 34:48).
AnTuTu and Sunspider results
According to the AnTuTu benchmark numbers the 4470 is similar in performance to the basic 1.3GHz T30L Tegra 3 and, in use, the Archos 101 XS feels very much the same. That means the tablet is more than capable of keeping up with the Tegra 3 Joneses, and will do everything you want it to including playing the latest games and 1080p video. Using Chrome, the 101 XS also returned a very impressive Sunspider browser speed score of just over 1400.
The one howling failure of the 101 XS is the speaker - my God but it’s a shallow, raucous and grating affair. It’s plenty loud enough but that just gives it more scope to drag its sonic talons across your eardrums.
Speaker dock coming soon
Where the left hand speaker should be is a 1.3Mp webcam – the 101 XS only has the one camera – but frankly Archos would have been better advised to double the speaker count and move the webcam. That would make it easier on both the eye and ear. Thankfully, there is a bespoke speaker dock coming soon.
Next page: Jelly tots
Nothing wrong with the on-screen keyboard, except that it's an on-screen keyboard and somewhat tedious for bashing out a lengthy email or such like. Mine's the one with the Psion in the pocket...
The default Android keyboard is fine, SwiftKey (with amazing prediction) and FlexT9 (with swipe input and good voice recognition) are even better.
But still a physical keyboard is, for most people, still a better option. You can decide for yourself what version of special it makes you that you do not agree.
"bares a resemblance!?"
Even at such a noble rag as el Reg! The state of English these days! It's "bears," folks!
Re: Re:Leona A
I would say you were in the minority there, just a quick look on Amazon at the vertiable cornucopia of Bluetooth keyboards available for the iPad and other tablets tells me there are a few people out there who don't like typing on an OSK.
You may have enough spare time to type a 50 page document on an iPad, however the rest of us have more important things to be getting on with.
'on screen' keyboards do not give any tactile feedback, thus for touch typists like me, they are useless!
I like to have a physical keyboard on both my phone (Xperia Pro) and Tablet, I'll be buying one of these.
I think tactile displays are a long way off from being main stream, that's still Sci-Fi tech at the moment.