With a lot of hype surrounding the release of tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and with the impending arrival of the iPad 2, devices such as the Archos 101 Internet Tablet are finding it difficult to capture a significant share of the mainstream market.
The Archos 101 is a reasonable effort at an entry-level tablet. The 8GB unit is fairly priced and at £250 costs less than many high-end smartphones.
With dimensions of 270 x 150 x 12mm, the device is of similar size to the iPad and is even 1mm thinner. However, this is one of the few areas where it outdoes Apple's popular device.
If the Archos 101 was to be judged solely on the basis of its specifications on paper, it would be up there with high-end tablets. The unit comes with a 10.1in touch screen, which responds well to gentle swipes and presses and has a 1024 x 600 resolution.
But during testing there were a couple of occasions when it froze and a manual reset was required to continue using the device.
While the large display is welcome, it is too big to type on using thumbs in landscape mode. However, users can overcome this problem by holding the tablet with one hand and typing with the other, placing the device on a flat surface or using it in portrait mode.
The 101 is powered by a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, which should mean that the device runs quickly. However, with only 256MB of RAM the tablet struggles at times, particularly when resource heavy apps are being used.
An area where the 101 does excel is connectivity, with the tablet outdoing a number of competitors in this department. There is a standard USB port incorporated to allow easy transfer of files to and from the tablet.
The micro-USB port, meanwhile, allows the device to be connected directly to a PC and used as any other external storage device. Micro-SD support is a noteworthy addition, and means users can switch memory card between the tablet and smartphone easily.
Mini-HDMI output is another impressive feature, and allows for video output to bigger HD displays.
Another well executed feature is the kickstand, which allows users to position the device on a flat surface at a variety of angles to watch videos or provide a comfortable angle to type.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam, which displays an extremely grainy picture the majority of the time. The slightest movement results in the image being distorted beyond recognition and this is likely to make video-calling a frustrating experience.