Take a closer look at the Archos 7 Home Tablet, an affordable touch-screen computer running Google's Android operating system.
The Archos 7 Home Tablet is an affordable ($199) Android-powered alternative to the Apple iPad. You can use it to check e-mail, browse the Web, play music and videos, or use any of the hundreds of Android apps approved for the device.
The Archos 7 Home Tablet is one of the company's first devices to run purely on the Android OS (version 1.5), without any additional software layers for handling media playback or e-mail. As such, the home screen looks like any other Android device--only it's on a 7-inch screen.
The right side of the Archos 7 Home Tablet includes a headphone jack and USB port. Unlike previous Archos media tablets, there are no proprietary dock connections. As such, dock-connecting accessories, such as the Archos DVR dock, are not compatible.
You'll find integrated speakers to the right and left of the Archos 7 screen. Above the speaker on the right side is a space for what looks like a front-facing camera, but Archos axed the idea as a cost-saving measure.
The on-screen keyboard is a different kind of disappointment. Sure, the sluggish touch screen is a drawback, as is the lack of multi-touch and predictive text--but it's the keyboard's tiny spacebar that really has us singing the blues.
We have to give Archos credit for being the first to market with a 100% Android tablet and pricing it within reach at $199. If you're looking for an iPad killer, the Archos 7 Home Tablet misses the mark, but it's not without redeeming qualities.
The tablet's design is small enough that you naturally want to grab it with both hands and type on it with your thumbs, like a giant smart phone. Unfortunately, the narrow on-screen spacebar, logically located in the middle of the keyboard, is just out of thumb's reach, requiring you to cradle the tablet in one hand and type with the other. Because the tablet doesn't reorient when held in portrait mode, there's only one way to type on the screen, and it leaves much to be desired.