Lurking in the archives of last month you'll find details of the 9-inch Windows 7 tablet PC coming later this year from French manufacturer Archos. Today, the wait to know how it functions is over, as we spent a morning fingering it. Oh, and we know now that it'll cost £450 for an 80GB model, and £500 for a 160GB.
First, a quick reminder of les autres caractéristiques. This is a tablet PC weighing 623g, featuring a 9-inch capacitive touchscreen (that's the sexy kind, like the iPhone), an Intel Atom Z515 CPU, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, plus built-in DVB-T antennas, which should allow it to receive and store Freeview TV in the UK.
It feels like a solid piece of kit. Used as a weapon, you could probably knock a decent-sized mammal unconscious, up to and including a cheetah, though a musk ox would certainly be a step too far and require a full-size laptop. The resistive screen -- which was running at 1,024x600-pixel resolution -- was exceptionally responsive, and originally fooled us into thinking it was capacitive. See our update below regarding this.
The on-screen keyboard takes up roughly half of the lower part of the screen when brought up, and tapping on a virtual Qwerty keyboard is relatively painless. Unless you're typing a novel, in which case using a touchscreen is about as enjoyable as having an eyeball removed.
Time was short this morning, so we didn't have an opportunity to benchmark or perform any kind of scientific tests dans le tablette, so check back for our full review in the coming weeks.
For now, enjoy the plateau of visual treats over the next few pages, as we explore the physical attributes of one of the most interesting French inventions since Madame Guillotine.
Update: We originally believed the Archos 9 used a capacitive touchscreen, but we have learned that it is in fact resistive, meaning it can be used with a stylus.
This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, because this resistive screen was so responsive it fooled us into believing it was in fact capacitive. But also because when we mentioned to an Archos representative in person that we found it interesting the company had gone capacitive, we weren't corrected at all.
We got in touch with Steve Martin, the national account manager for Archos, not the formerly funny comedian, to clarify the screen technology. He said himself, after first using the Archos 9 in person, "I must admit it felt capacitive."
We have corrected the story and apologise for any confusion this caused.