Archos 80 xenon is a pure Android 3G tablet for £160

The Archos 80 xenon is an 8-inch slate with built-in 3G for surfing the Web on the go, and it'll set you back just £160.

Prolific French bargain-basement filler Archos has a new 3G Android tablet out -- and in line with the rest of the company's low-cost devices, the Archos 80 xenon is cheap as frites.

The 80 xenon is an 8-inch slate with built-in 3G for surfing the Web on the go, and it'll set you back just £160.

Unlike many budget manufacturers, Archos doesn't trouble Android with a custom skin or pointless bloatware -- its naked Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is not the latest version of Google's software, but it is how the Big G intended it.

So what kind of hardware does your eight £20 notes bag you? Top of the heap is a decent quad-core 1.2GHz processor and a mediocre 1GB of RAM. Without using the thing, it's hard to say for sure, but I'd expect this to be more than powerful enough for most of the games and apps on the Google Play store.

Where it cuts corners is the storage -- just 4GB in the device. That's expandable by a microSD card, which you'll have to supply yourself, but the problem here is that Android 4.1 only lets you install apps on the internal memory. If you're into games, that 4GB will fill up very quickly -- Real Racing 3, for example, is about 1.8GB once it's downloaded all its files.

The 80 xenon, then, is more of a Web-surfing, video-watching device -- the kind of thing Archos has been building for donkeys' years. So you'd hope it would have a decent screen at least, but sadly not. Its 1,024x768-pixel resolution is pretty meagre compared to the Nexus 7's 1,280x800-pixel effort. That's just 160 pixels per inch on the xenon, with the Nexus much sharper at 216ppi.

The 3G version of the Nexus 7 (which also has 32GB of storage, but no microSD slot) is £239, however, so if slate surfing is your priority, the Archos xenon 80 is two thirds of the price. If you want a better screen and 16GB of internal storage, the cheapest Nexus is £159, the same as the Archos.

We'll wait for a full review before we judge if the xenon 80 is good value for your hard-earned, but let me know what you think of it in the comments below, or over on our great-value Facebook page. Have you had good experiences with Archos kit in the past?

 

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