Archos 70 Mini Review – Turns Out Not To Be A Small iPad

From the official Archos site:

Slim and light Android™ internet tablet

At home and on the go. The slim and light design of the ARCHOS 70 internet tablet makes it both portable and generous for sharing your best moments with your family and friends. All the functions of a computer: your apps, the Internet, your photos, music and videos, eBooks and 3D games.

Background.
There are wheens of these things about. Go Google for Android Tablet and see whatr happens. There is the Android Vega (whichy I initially considered), Creative Zii0, Samsung Galaxy Tabs and more coming to an Internet near you by Christmas time. I have played with an iPad for a few days and can safely say the Archos 70 is not really better in any way. Except two.
It is cheaper. It is a lot cheaper.
Currently these things (the 8 Gig model) seem to be going for about £230. The 250 Gig model does not cost a huge amount more, it is slightly heavier and thicker though.
If you want a high quality review of the Archos 70 from some slightly biased folk I suggest you go to archosfans. Go.
Go now.
Back?
What I Go To School For.
I got an Archos 70 for a few reasons. I was fed up waiting for my Pandora, so I took a refund. I wanted something I could use for reading eBooks, email, web browsing, document viewing and some light gaming. The Archos 70 does all these things well enough for me to be quite happy so far. It does some things very well, some acceptable and a few quite poorly.
eBook Reading

I installed aldiko from the official Google market after wiping the device from all the guff that Archos installed. Aldiko did not work brilliantly, the margins and the page formatting went all skew wiff when changed from portrait to landscape. FBreader worked perfectly once I moved up the bottom margin to avoid the on screen buttons. So far when reading at night I find my eyes are getting tired after an hour or so of reading. Reading in a better lit room seems to be fine, but I do suffer constant interruptions from a small person.
By which I mean a leprechaun.
Not really.
My eyes could just be getting tired since I am reading late a night and am, in fact, very tired. I think for reading on long holidays I will probably stick with the Sony PRS505. For day to day round the house reading I think I will be making heavy use of the A70.
Update: Having increased the font size a few days ago I am now having no trouble reading eBooks for reasonable amounts of time.
Leading to the next problem.
Games
It seems to have the normal set of android games. Most of the ones I have tried seem to work fine. Angry Birds works well. The built in racing game looked nice and pretty before I wiped it. The board games work fine. The emulators (snesoid, genesis, the gba oid one) work well and can be made to work with a WiiMote. Making the controls a bit easier. Though you would have to play it standing on it’s one sexy leg at a table I suppose. Have not tried the PSX emulator yet and probably will not.
It can run ScummVM. Seek and ye shall find. Seek! For the most up to date version of ScummVM I could find I used this link:
So games: pretty good.
Multimedia
First of all the front facing, only, camera is an abomination. Archos would have been just as well coming round to my house and stabbing me in the eye with a sharpened onion and giving me this camera. It might be useful for Skyping but I do  not really know as nobody on Skype speaks to me after the ‘loose dressing gown’ incident about which we will never speak again.
Otherwise multimedia is pretty good. So far it has played every video file I have chucked at it (mp4, divx, mkv) without any problems at all. If you want to play mpeg2 or ac3 formats you will need to buy a plugin from Archos. They videos look very good and I intend to watch a fillum tonight.
The built in speakers are pretty puny but work well enough for me to use it as an Internet radio in the kitchen.
Internet
Currently it is only running android 2.1 so no flash yet. 2.2 is on the way very soon though we are assured. Web browsing works well on the screen and double tapping and pinching all work as you would expect.
So far I can not get it to connect to the Internet via my phone running Cyanogenmod 6.1.
Hardware

Feels a bit plasticy. The screen is a grease magnet. Nice and light though and so far it has survived a four year licking it.
Documents

The android comic viewer works very nicely as does the PDF  viewer. With good use of Briss PDFs become even more usable. I am planning on doing a decent post on Briss later.
Summary

A good purchase if you want something portable. Once I get a case and a screen protector this is going everywhere with me. If you want an at home tablet for a good price I would consider either the Advent Vega or the Archos 101 depending on how well they review.
Any questions please just leave a comment.
D.

Amazon Affiliate Link:
ARCHOS 70 8 GB Internet Tablet

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2 responses to “Archos 70 Mini Review – Turns Out Not To Be A Small iPad

  1. Hi. Thanks for the review. Wondering how your ebook reading is going assuming you’ve upgraded to 2.2. I use a Nook and love it, but would prefer to ditch it for a cheap color job that’s more capable but still easy on the eyes. The 70 has just come back into stock at Archos and I’m thinking about buying. Thanks.

    • It makes my eyes a bit more tired than I would like but for much of my day to day shorter reading it is fine. I find myself going back to my Sony PRS 505 more and more though. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you.

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