Archos 70 Internet Tablet review [Archive]

It’s been a fun couple of weeks.
My 8 GB Archos 70 Internet Tablet arrived and it’s everything I could imagine and probably a little bit more. For now I’ll be just doing a rough overview and looking into the future of hacking with this device at a later time.
The specs on the unit are pretty decent considering the price was only $274 direct from Archos.com. It features an ARM Cortex A8 at 1 GHz with DSP and 3D OpenGL ES 2.0 which makes 3D games look great on it’s WVGA 800 x 480 7” screen. My two favorite aspects are the e-reading and movie playback functions. E-reading both epub (in the Aldiko Android application) and comic books (with the Android Comic Viewer available in the Android Market) on the go is great. And movie playback is wonderful.
The device is shipping with Android 2.1 with an expected release date of “late November” for the Android 2.2 firmware update on the Archos website. As with any ETA regarding an Android unit, I’m not holding my breath, but the arrive of 2.2 should help with a few problems I’ve encountered. For one, the device is very snappy after a first boot. The 1 GHz processor can really fly and even though the device only has 256 MB of RAM functions rather well. But eventually the system slows down and some processes require a shut down. I believe that Android 2.2 will solve this problem outright and make the unit unbelievably fast.
The fact that the device doesn’t come with the Google Marketplace was not a surprise and a very simple solution was found over at the Archos Fans Forum. There are definitely some bugs regarding loading the Google Apps, but it beats side loading all the APKs from my HTC Hero phone.
The android apps I’ve tried look amazing on the device. Team Coco (an awesome app from TBS with clips of Conan O’Brian’s nightly show) works well, as well as the Engaget news reader. My brother turned me on to a fun game calledAir Control which works wonderfully well on the 7″ screen. And of course, who could forget, Angry Birds. Angry Birds looks beautiful and sounds amazing on this device. It’s so much of a problem that I’ve lost my new toy for hours on end to my 5 and 7 year old kids. Unfortunatly, GetJar.com which is the providing site for Angry Birds, doesn’t list the Archos 70IT yet, but by setting your “phone” to Archos 5 you can download and enjoy this addictive game.
And finally, some pictures and screenshots. (First two are mine, the rest are Archos promo shots)
All in all, I love my new toy. Unfortunately, they are in extremely low supply and usually only available for sale for a few hours at a time, as new supplies come in. If you get a chance to order one and you think this tablet fits your budget and needs, grab it while you can.
Expect a future review once 2.2 finally releases and my analysis as to what the update provides and fixes.
-HM
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