Archos G9 8-inch and 10-inch tablets pack 3.1 Honeycomb, 250GB storage

Meet the Archos G9 tablets, two tablets packing Android Honeycomb 3.1 and a fistful of features that range from the impressive to the just plain weird.

Are you ready for a £200 Android tablet with enough space for 50 hours of high-definition movies? Then step right this way and meet the Archos G9 tablets, two tablets packing Android 3.1 Honeycomb and a fistful of features that range from the impressive to the just plain weird.

There are two G9 models. The 8-inch Archos 80 G9 is the smaller of the two and sports a 4:3, 1,024x768-pixel screen. That makes it a competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Tab in your jacket pocket.

The 10-inch Archos 101 G9 is the bigger brother, facing off with the likes of the Apple iPad in your bag. It boasts a 16:9, 1,280x800-pixel screen.

Both models are powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core OMAP 4 processor from Texas Instruments.

The two tablets offer 1080p playback of high-definition video. There's an HDMI output to take films stored on the tablet and play them on your hi-def TV.

You'll fit plenty of films in there, too. Both models pack a whopping 250GB of storage, which blows all other tablets out of the water. Films, photos and files are all stashed away on a 250GB Seagate hard drive inside the slate.

Yes, a hard drive, like the one in your computer. The problem with a hard drive is that it has moving parts and is much less hardy than flash memory, as found in most tablets. Those tablets have less storage, but if you drop them you don't need to worry about losing all your data. Drop a G9 and you risk not just a smashed screen but also the loss of 250GB-worth of media and memories.

Both tablets connect to the Internet by Wi-Fi, but unlike most other tablets there's no 3G model. Instead, Archos has come up with what it calls a "unique 3G-ready solution". The tablets have a USB slot, and Archos is selling a separate 3G dongle specially designed for the G9 slates. The dongle works on a pay as you go basis and costs £50.

We don't yet know whether you'll be able to tether your G9 to your phone and avoid using the dongle altogether, but at least it means no messing around with a SIM card in your tablet.

Archos reckons the dongle method saves you from the agonising decision of choosing between 3G or Wi-Fi when you first buy the tablet. This way you can buy the tablet, and upgrading to 3G at a later date simply means grabbing the dongle rather than having to buy a whole new tablet. On the other hand, it sounds a bit like selling you a car with no engine to save you from the dilemma of deciding between petrol or diesel -- and then selling you a jerry can on your way out.

Archos reckons the dongle method is cheaper than a tablet with an expensive 3G module built-in, and whether that's true or not, the G9s certainly are cheap. The 8-inch 80 G9 will set you back £200, and the 10-inch 101 G9 just £250. Even with the £50 dongle on top, that's still a very attractive price tag compared to the likes of the 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab or 10-inch iPad.

The Archos G9 tablets go on sale in September. We'll be getting our hands on them before that, so keep it CNET UK for all the news, reviews and previews. Do you think budget price, massive memory and 3G donglage make the G9s a winning pair, or are they too weird to live? Drop your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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