Archos 101 G9 Turbo ICS review
Tablets with the glamour of Apple’s new iPad or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 will set anyone’s credit card twitching, but the quality of more affordable alternatives is steadily rising. The Archos 101 G9 Turbo ICS is a prime example. It’s a 10.1in tablet with the latest “Ice Cream Sandwich” version of the Android OS on seriously quick hardware, but only costs a tempting £280.
Scan down the specifications, and the 101 G9 Turbo looks an absolute steal. OMAP’s fourth-generation 4460 system-on-a-chip takes centre stage, combining a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with PowerVR SGX540 graphics. It’s the next model up from the chip that powered the BlackBerry PlayBook and Amazon Kindle Fire, so on paper it’s no slouch.
Archos sent us the 16GB model – we’re not tempted by the 8GB version for only £20 less – but in a departure from the flash-storage norm, there’s also a 250GB HDD model for £300. Whichever you choose, the core components are the same.
The chassis has some nice design touches. Rather than provide a dedicated 3G version of the tablet, Archos offers a separate 3G dongle (£35 from Amazon). Remove the blanking plate hiding the USB port on the tablet’s underside, and the 3G dongle slots in to rest flush with the 101 G9 Turbo’s body. Another neat, if simple, idea is the integrated stand, which holds the tablet upright for watching movies. Around the sides you’ll also find a mini-HDMI port, a microSD slot (which supports up to 16GB cards) and a micro-USB port for charging the device’s lithium polymer battery.
With the ARM CPU running at 1.5GHz, the Archos has plenty of power to meet the demands of Ice Cream Sandwich. Apart from an annoying tendency for the lock screen not to respond when first switched on, it’s surprisingly nippy in use. Demanding games such as Shadowrun and Reckless Racing ran smoothly, and the fluidity of the updated OS really shines.