The Archos 32 Internet Tablet attempts to stretch the definition of what a tablet really is. While the French PMP maker would like you to believe that it is indeed a full-on slate, in reality it’s personal media player. But that’s not to say it’s not a stellar gadget. In fact, this is one of the sharpest pieces of Archos kit we’ve ever pawed.
Why? Well largely it’s down to the inclusion of Google Android. The Big G’s mobile OS, here in its 2.1 version, helps lift the Archos 32 from standard PMP fair to full-on Apple iPod Touch rival.
Check out our Archos 32 picture gallery
Almost everything you would expect from an Android 2.1 phone is here: integrated mailboxes and breezy email set-up, snappy performance and easy social network sharing via the in-built two megapixel camera. The latter isn’t really up to snuff, but in good light it takes serviceable shots that look decent enough on your Facebook page.
There’s no Android Market here sadly though. Google won’t let tech cobblers add it when there’s no 3G inside, so instead you’re limited to the rather average Archos AppsLib store. However, apps shouldn’t really be the central concern for such an affordable PMP.
Music playback is key and the Archos 32 handles it excellently. Flicking through albums and artists is great with the remarkably responsive touchscreen and sound quality really is top draw, even with the bundled buds. We’d recommend ditching the latter for something nattier, but there’s no denying they’re better than those you get with iPods.
However, video playback is really not up to the job when compared to the ubiquitous iPod touch. The 400 x 240, 3.2-inch screen just can’t compare to Apple’s Retina Display. Clips look blocky and pixellated. The same problem is evident when looking at album artwork. This aside, the Archos 32 is a well put together device. Android makes it a doddle to get to grips with and the ample 8GB of storage can easily be added to via SD card. Chuck in drag and drop functionality and this is a great iPod alternative.
In terms of value, the Archos 32 definitely wins out. At £129, it’s £60 cheaper than the equivalent iPod touch. While it doesn’t have the same design cache, it’s still well worth a look. The only thing we’d say is that you could snaffle an Android phone that can do all of the same, as well as make calls and send texts. But that’s more of a wider issues with PMPs in general. If you’re after a new media player and money’s your top priority, look no further.
Archos 32 launch date: Out now, link Archos
Archos 32 price: £100-£150 online
Posted by Joe Minihane