Apr 16 AT 8:15 AM Nick Gray 20 Comments

It’s been a little more than a year since the Motorola XOOM made its debut as the first Android device running on Google’s tablet version of the OS – Honeycomb. At the time, Motorola priced its Wi-Fi only version of the XOOM at $599 for an experience which wasn’t quite ready for prime time. Fortunately for consumers, things have changed significantly in the past 13 months. Android’s tablet software has gotten a lot better with the introduction of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and more manufacturers have jumped into the tablet game, forcing prices downward as competition has kicked into high gear.

The ARCHOS 80 G9 is one of the newest Android tablets on the market and doesn’t hide behind a huge price tag. The tablet runs on Android 4.0.3 and delivers a solid experience for those who can’t afford the astronomical prices that other OEM’s charge for their tablets.

1. Build Quality

The first thing you’ll notice about the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo when you take it out of the box is that it doesn’t look like most other Android tablets. While its layout is quite functional, the choice of materials and look of the tablet make it feel like many of the $99 no-name tablets you wouldn’t recommend to the jerk down the street.

The G9 Turbo sports a matte gray finish which reminded us of the original Nook. The plastic on the tablet doesn’t exude the most luxurious feel and is easily scratched – even when the tablet is handled with care. The rubber bumpers on the bottom of the tablet don’t really help either, as we were able to scratch the back side of the device despite that it didn’t make contact with the flat surface underneath.

2. External Hardware

The ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo measures 226 mm x 155 mm x 11.7 mm and weighs a respectable 465g (17 oz). The front of the device is dominated by its 8-inch LCD display which features an unusually wide bezel. This makes the device quite comfortable to hold while in landscape mode.

Along the left edge of the tablet, you will find an LED notification light, mini-HDMI post, microUSB port, 3.5mm headphone jack and the power button. The top and bottom edges of the tablet are both smooth while the volume rocker can be located along the tablet’s right edge.

The bottom of the G9 Turbo is prominently accented by the ARCHOS logo and features four rubber bumpers in each corner, which are supposed to keep the back of the tablet from making contact when placed on a flat surface. Next to the ARCHOS logo is the tablet’s only speaker and the G9 Turbo’s kickstand lays flush against the surface near the tablet’s left edge. In the upper right corner on the back of the tablet is a panel which reveals a full sized USB port which is intended for a USB 3G data stick. If you live in Europe, you can buy the optional accessory from ARCHOS, but U.S. customers will have to fend for themselves and settle for a USB data stick from a local carrier. It’s not an elegant solution, but it is a lot cheaper than buying a tablet with built-in 3G or 4G data connectivity.

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3. Kickstand

Many may see the kickstand as a simple gimmick, but we’ve been fans of the setup since it was first introduced on the HTC Imagio back in 2009. The kickstand on the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo features the same setup which ARCHOS has used on other tablets in the past 12 months.

The long kickstand tucks in smoothly into the back of the tablet, but the plastic is flimsy and bends easily, feeling as though it could snap off in your hand if you aren’t careful. While we’ve never broken a kickstand on the other ARCHOS tablets we have used, it can be a nagging fear.

The kickstand allows users to prop the tablet up on its side so that it’s easy to enjoy movies without having to hold the tablet. It also works perfectly if you want to use the device to show your social media updates while you’re working at your desk. And it is much better than having to buy a seperate desktop dock, which typically costs around $40.

4. Performance

The ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo comes equipped with a Texas Instruments 1.5 GHz OMAP 4 dual-core ARM CORTEX A9 processor paired with 1GB of RAM. Most of us are used to seeing tablets which are powered by Qualcomm or NVIDIA processors, so it’s nice to see that ARCHOS has taken a chance by using a TI chip in the G9 Turbo.

Luckily, the gamble pays off. The processor makes Android 4.0 silky smooth and allows users to watch 1080p HD videos, browse the web and play 3D games without missing a single frame. When compared to other Android tablets, the benchmark scores of the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo lag a little behind a few of the top-end devices, but not by much.

The ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo definitely has enough power to play the most taxing 3D games currently available for Android, but consumers may have a hard time actually finding the games they want to play. Both Qualcomm and NVIDIA have resources for developers to make sure that their games work perfectly with their chips and many developers have jumped at the opportunity to make exclusive titles for devices running on Qualcomm or NVIDIA chips, leaving those who own devices like the G9 Turbo out in the cold.

Benchmark Test Score
AnTuTU 5123
Quadrant 2350
Linpack 51.8 (single-thread) 42.4 (multi-thread)
Nenamark 2 26 FPS
Vellamo 1292
SunSpider 0.9.1 2120.7ms

5. Display

The display on the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo is an 8-inch 1024 x 768 MVA LCD panel which does a decent job in most situations. Unfortunately, things get a little complicated when you take the tablet outdoors. In direct sunlight, the display on the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo gets washed out due to excessive glare. We recommend finding a little shade or a way to keep the sun’s beams from directly hitting the screen.

Viewing angles don’t fare any better as color distortion sets in starting at a 30 degree angle, and things become unbearable to watch at 45 degrees or more. While the kickstand that’s built into the G9 Turbo is convenient, we found ourselves constantly readjusting the position of the tablet just slightly every time we moved while watching a video.

6. Camera

While most other Android tablets come with a front and rear-facing camera, the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo comes equipped with a single 1.3 megapixel camera on the front of the device. Samsung’s commercial features a guy riding in a Jeep using a Galaxy Tab to film horses, but surely you know that’s a pretty ridiculous idea.

Fortunately, ARCHOS decided to use the stock Android 4.0 application on the tablet, giving users quick access to settings, facial distortion effects (only while recording video), filters and more. But there’s still a down side. The 1.3 megapixel sensor embedded in the tablet produces extremely grainy pictures and is completely useless at taking outdoor shots. The sensor is not able to capture sunlight properly, producing washed out pictures even when tweaking the exposure settings to compensate for the extra light.

The front-facing camera can be used for video chat with Google Plus, Google Talk and other applications from Google Play, but our tests show that the video produced is extremely pixelated and jumpy.

7. Software

One of the best things about the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo is its software. ARCHOS has chosen to give the tablet the most basic Android 4.0 build we have seen in quite some time while adding a few extra multimedia and social applications which play into their strategy of positioning the tablet as an entertainment device.

As far as we can tell, ARCHOS has not modified the Android 4.0.3 build at all, delivering a stock Ice Cream Sandwich experience with Google’s suite of applications (Gmail, Calendar, Maps, YouTube and Google Play.

Pre-installed applications include ARCHOS Remote Control (allows you to remotely control another ARCHOS device when connected to the same Wi-Fi network), Media Server (stream music, video and pictures over WiFi to other DNLA enabled devices), Picsel Smart Office, News Republic, Brief Me and ARCHOS’s own customized Music and Videos applications which are surprisingly good looking, intuitive and easy to use.

8. Battery Life

According to the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo spec sheet, the tablet should be capable of 36 hours of continuous music playback, 7 hours of video playback or 10 hours of surfing the web. We didn’t put the tablet through the same tests as ARCHOS did, but did find that battery life was more than acceptable.

We brought the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo along when we traveled to New York a few weeks ago for the EVO 4G LTE unveiling and it managed to last a full day, which included 3 hours of video playback while on the plane, two hours of web surfing and a little over an hour of 3D gaming (Spider-Man HD). At the end of the day, the tablet still had a 22% battery charge remaining when we plugged it back in.

9. Speaker

When reviewing Android phones and tablets, speakers are typically not one of the main highlights. Most tablets have one or two speakers located on the back of the device which are typically not worth mentioning. The ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo features one speaker, located on the back of the tablet. The placement of the speaker may seem a bit odd since ARCHOS intends for the tablet to be used as a media centric device, but the quality and size of the speaker along with the tablet’s design deliver a better than expected audio experience.

Anyone who has used their phone or tablet to play music or watch videos probably knows that it’s typically not a very good audio experience. Sound quality is mediocre at best and usually sounds like you’re listening to something coming out of a tin can.

When the G9 Turbo is lying flat on a surface, the rubber bumpers on the back of the tablet allow just enough room so that the sound from the speaker is able to escape – and things get even better when the kickstand is used to prop up the device. Even at maximum volume, the speaker produces a rich tone that’s certainly more enjoyable than the majority of speakers on other tablets currently on the market and make watching a movie or listening to music that much more enjoyable.

10. Price

The ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo isn’t the prettiest or best made tablet on the market, but for $269.99 (the suggested retail price) we really don’t think anyone’s going to be complaining. The base model comes with a scant 8GB of internal storage and an expandable microSD card slot, but ARCHOS does offer a 250GB storage upgrade which brings the price of the tablet to $369.99.

ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo6 / 10

Since tablets are considered a luxury item these days, we would have a hard time recommending the G9 Turbo simply because its aesthetics are missing the “wow” factor, but the internal components give the tablet enough power to hang with the big boys.

If looks don’t matter and price and performance are all you’re really worried about, the ARCHOS 80 G9 Turbo will definitely live up to your expectations. In the end, it always comes down to what the consumer needs and the price they are willing to pay for it. Buying the tablet directly from ARCHOS will set you back $269.99, but you can always pick it up from Amazon for as little at $249.99. You could always skip the ARCHOS and go for the Nook Tablet, or even the Kindle Fire, but both devices don’t come with Google’s apps and lack a true tablet experience delivered by an Android 4.0 device.

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    Is there no microSD slot? Did I miss that?

    Had they included a microSD in the lower 8 GB version, they might have something decent. But if it’s $269.99 for 8 GB and no expandable storage (again, I skimmed over it so I could have missed it but didn’t see it), I don’t see too many people buying this with all the other choices out there.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      Yes, the Archos 80 series does support microSD cards (up to 32GB).

      • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

        OK, so at least they have that to expand on board memory. I must have glossed over the specs too quickly.

    • mattias Marois

      why not just fork an extra 100 bucks and get 240gb? thats a much much better deal imo

  • dpleus

    While this isn’t the best tablet on the market, at it’s price point it will be a good alternative for parents looking to get an actual Android tablet for their kids and not an e-reader tablet like the Nook or Fire.

    The biggest downside to this device is obviously the 8Gb of storage, while enough to hold a couple of movies and few hours of music, it could present a problem should you want to take it with you on a road trip as a multimedia device. Additionally. the availability of cases and accessories for the consumers after they purchase the device will pose a problem as well, but that is the case with most devices that aren’t from Apple, Samsung, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

    For my money though, if you want to spend a few more dollars, an 8Gb Acer A200 with ICS and expandable storage would be a good alternative to this.

    • Jonathan

      “Additionally. the availability of cases and accessories for the consumers after they purchase the device will pose a problem as well, but that is the case with most devices that aren’t from Apple, Samsung, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.”

      You’d be surprised, actually – check out Amazon sometime, even no-name devices usually have an assortment of covers. Cheap cases are very big and thorough industry, because a gel/plastic skin or fake leather case costs less than a dollar to produce, but they typically charge $10 to $30 bucks. You’re right about accessories, but aren’t most accessories universal anyway? The only thing I can think of are docks, and you don’t really need them on the G9.

      Sorry to be down on you, dpleus! But I strongly disagree with your suggestion of the Acer A200 over the G9. It costs much more (350), uses a dated chipset (tegra 2), offers the same storage space, has less connections than the G9, and they both offer expandable storage. Why go with the Acer?

      Great review Nick, I thought it was very fair. It should be mentioned that all of the Xoom successors (whatever they’re called) use OMAP 4 too (the slower 4430, in fact), so even though the snapdragons and tegra chips dominate the tablet market, OMAP 4 isn’t unheard of. The 4460 is also in the Galaxy Nexus.

      I’m curious about the hard drive. I imagine that the spacious 250 GB will be the reason why owners of this tablet chose it over others. What are the read/write speeds like? Does it ever kill performance, and does it effect the battery? I’ve never used an android device that uses something other than flash storage.

      • Tom Waller

        I have used the Archos 70 with it’s 250 GB internal hard drive, the same one which will be fitted to the 80. It is a typical 2.5 Inch Laptop Drive running at 5400 RPM and gives a typical laptop performance. This is the one reason where the ARCHOS series scores over say an Apple iPad… You have the internal hard drive option and are not limited to 64GB.

        My devices (Yes I do have more than one ARCHOS) are used in Pubs for continuous music playback and the Audio collection is 100GB in size. They are ideal for this and the media playback software from ARCHOS, does the job with no fuss or frills. Again you are not locked into Apple and iTunes, the device will play back just about anything you chuck at it. The UK designed ARM quad 1.3GHz processor is a winner and one to watch giving high performance with a tiny power footprint, hence the long battery life… The optional hard drive however will suck up the battery power in a few hours.

  • e.friedman1992

    I was intrested in this. but this whole review just screamed “mediocre”. I’m just gonna go ahead and wait until the Nexus Tablet arrives and we’ll see what happens then.

    For now, my Gnex running in tablet mode will have to suffice =)

  • F.P. van der Leur

    Never had a tablet experience with Archos anyways. The former tablets are still running android 2.2, which is NOT tablet software. People who buy Archos should be warned: you will not receive any signifant OS update after purchase, after sales at Archos are poor (the french way).

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      While it’s hard not to judge Archos based on its past, I’d be a little more optimistic. The original Archos 80 G9 and 101 G9 both launched with Honeycomb and have been upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich already (after than most other OEMs have pushed out their updates). Since Archos is small compared to most Android manufacturers, they have a lot more to lose if they don’t keep their tablets up to date.

  • spazby

    wow, what a storage – “ARCHOS does offer a 250GB storage upgrade which brings the price of the tablet to $369.99.”

  • Pete Down Under

    Lost me when you mentioned the crappy viewing angle.

    Sounds as bad as the Flytouch 3 (LOL Resistive screen) tablet I have here gathering dust.

  • New Tablet User

    I don’t own the turbo version but do own 2 of the standard version. Not sure what some of you are looking for in a low priced tablet.

    For $200 (US) I have a fully functioning (as far as I know) tablet that’s not hobbled like the Fire or Nook. It comes stock with 8 Gb storage, 512 memory and a 2 core processor. It runs ICS, gets onto Google Play, has a 8″ screen vs the 7 ” on the Fire and Nook, can upgrade storage with a micro SD card, can output to HDMI and appears to have a GPS function. A lot of the higher priced tablets out there still seem to be running lower versions of the Android OS without any ability to upgrade the OS. That is changing now but I’m sure 4 months ago people were buying Android tablets for more than $200 and are in a dead end.

    For the price, something has to be compromised. Even Google and ASUS are not selling the MEMO 370T which had a release date of 2nd quarter 2012 … now they are talking July. I was thrilled when I heard about the 370T as that was going to be my entrance into a tablet but it’s not here and they are talking about what they have to give up to hit below $200.

    The Archos has run everything I have put on it but I am not a gamer so that’s where I don’t see its limitations. It plays music and movies, gets onto the internet, I have 3 ereaders on it (Nook, Kindle and an ereader app from Play) and syncs up to my email. Battery life seems to be about 7 hours but that’s with wifi on and the screen on for most of those hours. Hopefully watching a movie with the wifi off or listening to music will give a little more battery life.

    No, the screen isn’t the greatest, I am not entertaining a group on this – it’s for personal entertainment and it’s good enough. Everyone says the camera is crap on this, I own a Nikon for picture taking. I will try Skype eventually but I’m thinking that a laptop with faster processor, more memory and a higher resolution camera would be better suited for that … not expecting a high quality camera from a $199 tablet. But this might be good for being in an airport and talking to someone to waste time. Are there many $199 tablets that run ICS and have access to Google Play that have cameras?

    8 inch covers can be had on Ebay and Amazon for under $20. 16Gb micro SD card can be had for under $15 at Newegg. So for $200 + $20 + $15 + tax you have a tablet that has more storage capacity that the lowest version of the IPAD 3 or the now discounted IPAD 2, which both are more expensive. This is a little more expensive than some 7 inch tablets but they aren’t running ICS and have access to Google Play and it certainly less expensive than 10 inch tablets.

    How long will this tablet last in terms of upgradability or quality? Who knows, but people are still using Widows XP on their computers and old Android OS on their tablets and seem OK with it. Also, I have a son whose IPOD Touch’s battery just seems to stop charging fully for some reason and after all it is an Apple product! My Sandisk MP3 player uses a single AAA battery — no problems there.

    I think you need to put things in perspective. For $250 total ($500 for 2) I have a tablet with extra storage capacity and a case to protect it. It serves as an ereader and as a personal entertainment system. I am able to read, watch movies, listen to music and play some games along with getting onto the internet and checking/sending emails. Now if you’re talking productivity and using this for work or for professional reasons then the more expensive tablets should be on your list; I used to think strickly IPAD for this but it seems with ICS Android is coming into it’s own.

  • Ron

    One big feature of this device that no-one has mentioned is that the full sized usb is powered and will support an external usb disk – I have a 1T buffalo hooked up to it right now. Not for the style conscious but if you want a fast and powerful ICS tablet this if great value.

    • Tom Waller

      YES a full sized USB powered socket is a huge PLUS and if you are using the device for continuous music playback in a Bar or Tavern then any 2.5 inch external drive can be plugged in and powered direct from the Archos, now that is worth noting for sure.

      The original revue sums it all up… IF you shop for appearances then go else where, if like me you are a techy type and you shop on a BANG PER BUCK or performance per pound, then this device wins hands down… and to think what you may pay for a better known brand name.

      I have 3 Archos devices, One 50 and two Archos 70′s all with internal hard drives, the 50 has 160GB and the two 70′s both have 250GB and I have today just ordered the 80 to join them. They lead a busy life playing music 8 to 14 hours a day in busy Taverns and give no problems at all. They are connected to the net and auto updated with the collection as required.

  • Martina

    In my opinion. The Archos 80G9 is the best 8GB tablet on the market. It has a great wifi access and it’s battery can hold till 7 hours . I also have access to Google Play. I have a GPS and a worldwide map. Sure its camera isn’t the best but have you ever seen a €200 8 inches tablet with access to the internet and the Google Play with such a low price. I choose Archos 80G9 TURBO tablet because if you buy an APPLE tablet with 8GB you will purchase it with the total price of €300?

  • puggster

    A very fair review indeed!, i have the ics non turbo version 8gb, upgraded the sd slot with a 32 gb card, bringing the total cost to just under £200, its the revised edition so dosnot suffer the whirlpool effect whilst pressure is applied, build seems better than the older versions too, i see a metal insert in the kickstand which wasnt there in the old version, the stand deffo seems sturdy now, same cheapish feel though with the case, but for under 200 quid a bargain,

    it also plays decent games with no issues, such as gta3, emuators work flawessly, play old retro systems to your hearts desire…

    sure the camera is suckish, but who cares its main purpouse is for video chat which in good room lighting works rather well, its not designed to replace a camera, perhaps take a groupie snapshot for fb or profile pic update, it works fine for this,

    to be real honest i cant fault the device for the price, its more than adequet for general usage and games, web browsing is snappy, saves whiping out the old laptop and waiting 2 minutes for boot up, where as i would already have written my life story on facebook in this time,

    standby battery life is rather good, usage time such as media consumtion the battery fairs very well, should last most of the day without hunting for the power cord, ofcourse turning off wifi,gps,bt, when not needed drasticaly increases battery performance, slap the brightness down a notch and viola! this tab will last some heavy usage all day with 20% or so to spare,

    my ony complaints with this device is it takes a while to charge, sometimes as much as 3hrs from dead, and i cant seem to move apps to sd card from the settings menu, i had to get a third party app to achive this, apart from this im actualy surprised how well the tablet performs,
    with only a hint of lag in the os after running cpu hungry apps and games, this where a task killer app comes in handy to refresh and steal back some ram,

    over all a very light, fast, usable tablet, more than i can say for some other tabs ive had in the exact same price range, which is why i dont have them anymore lol,

    get over the slightly cheap casing and ou have your self a might powerfull tab with power to compare to the leading brands,

    all i can say is kudos to archos for this not so glamerous, but powerfull media tab :)

  • Margaret Corser

    Hi hope you dont mind me sending you a message but is googleplay on the archos on the turbo one and the G9 8 inch and the 10 inch it just seems to say android market and not sure if it means googleplay store.
    i am thinking of purchasing one of these which would you recommend the turbo or the 8″ ior the 10 ” do they all have the ice cream sandwich on now.Thanks for your help.

    • New Tablet User

      I own the original version and if nothing has changed then the Android market is Google Play.

      As far as which one – that depends on what you’re using it for and now that the Google Nexus 7 is out I would look at that as well. 8 inch is a nice size for me, it’s easy to carry around. I don’t use the tablet for everything as I find the mobile version of websites not as nice as the PC version.

      Ice Cream Sandwich was a free upgrade back when I first purchased this tablet, if it doesn’t already come with it the upgrade is very easy. The Google tablet has the newer software on it (Jelly Bean) which may be a little better as an operating system. I still use my tablet all the time and I would recommend it depending on the price … back when I originally wrote here, it was the only fully capable Android table running ICS for $200. Other than the Google product, I do not know whats out there.

  • Alexandre Araripe

    Hi! I have an ARCHOS 80 G9 and I think its great. Its updated to firmware version 4.0.26 (Android 4.0.4). But, why most of apps in Google Play show me “this app dos nor run in your tabblet”? Even if they are suppose to run in Android 4? Thank.