V3.co.uk got some hands-on time with the forthcoming Archos G9 tablet range at the launch event in central London last night.
There are two sizes being offered by Archos - the 8in and 10.1in - the only difference being the weight, screen size and resolution.
Both G9 models are powered by an ARM Cortex dual-core A9 processor with a clock speed of 1.5GHz, making them 50 per cent faster than tablets currently on the market. However, it remains to be seen whether this will still be the case when they are launched in September.
Although performance of the G9 tablets was quick, navigating around the Honeycomb interface didn't appear any faster than existing tablets. The main performance gains are likely to be in the video output (the device ia capable of playing back full 1080p content) and internet performance.
The 8in G9 features a display with a resolution of 1,024x768, whereas the 10.1in model has a slightly sharper 1,280x800 resolution. Archos will offer the choice between 16GB of Flash memory or 250GB of HDD space, depending on requirements, the latter likely to appeal to business users.
In terms of design, both versions of the G9 did feel a little bulky. The 8in has a starting weight of 465g if users opt for 16GB of Flash storage, rising to 599g if the 250GB HDD is chosen.
Although the basic 8in device is only slightly heavier than the 7in BlackBerry PlayBook (425g) the Archos has a much larger chassis and cannot fit into a jacket pocket, unlike RIM's device.
One of the unique features is the 3G USB dongle, which fits into the back of the chassis. This is incorporated into the design well, and allows the use of a SIM card from an existing dongle to connect to the internet.
The trademark kickstand has also been retained in both models, but there is only one position that can be used, unlike the previous Archos 101 tablet, which had two fixable positions.
Archos claims that the devices will ship with the updated Android Honeycomb 3.1. This will be the standard version of the operating system, with no overlay provided. Access to the Android Market is expected to be included, as are the traditional Google applications.
It's fair to say that the French manufacturer offers some of the best budget tablets on the market and the G9 series looks to continue this trend. We slightly preferred the 8in device and, with prices starting at £199 for the 16GB model, it looks like a solid offering for business users on a budget.
The 10in device could attract those who watch a lot of multimedia and is reasonably priced at £279.
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