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Archos 80 G9 review: Archos 80 G9

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For Android phone users, Archos Remote Control is available from the Android Market and enables you to control the 80 G9 from your phone. And you can use the tablet as a media player, attached to your TV.

Navigation and app-opening performance was about as fast as on any previous Honeycomb tablet; however, we did experience a few instances where the operating system would hang for a second or two after we tapped on an app to open it. This wasn't that frequent, but it happened enough times to notice.

The Archos 80 G9 uses a 1,024x768-pixel-resolution capacitive touch screen with an MVA panel. Most of the best tablet screens, like those on the iPad 2 and the Asus Eee Pad Slider, use IPS panels, which typically have wide viewing angles and are generally brighter.

With the 80 G9 held in landscape mode, the viewing angle from the bottom and right side is narrower than from the top or left side. When viewed from the bottom or right the screen looks darker and it's harder to see details. From a luminance standpoint, the 80 G9's screen is one of the dimmest we've seen and is over 150 cd/m2 lower than Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9's screen.

Archos claims the G9 is the first tablet to have 1080p playback capability. To test this claim, we downloaded a few 1080p QuickTime video trailers and watched them run smoothly on the 80 G9 with no hiccups. These same files wouldn't run on any of the other Honeycomb (3.1 or 3.2) tablets we tried them on.

The USB cable fits easily into the 80 G9, but sits there loosely and unfortunately will not power the 80 G9's battery unless oriented in just the right position. At the opposite end, where the USB cable plugs into the separate power adapter, the cable also sits in the power adapter loosely. Not as loosely as at the tablet end, but not nearly as tightly as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1's or Asus Eee Pad Slider's USB power adapter fits. The cable can easily be accidentally be kicked out of the power adapter; not really a fear with other tablets.

The 80 G9 includes only one, front-facing camera, for which Archos hasn't released the megapixel spec. The camera's 720p video playback--though running at a higher resolution than video recorded on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9--looks blurrier, with lots of obvious visual noise.

Tested spec Archos 80 G9 (8GB) Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Apple iPad 2 T-Mobile G-Slate
Maximum brightness 220 cd/m2 336 cd/m2 432 cd/m2 424 cd/m2
Default brightness 93 cd/m2 336 cd/m2 176 cd/m2 143 cd/m2
Maximum black level 0.48 cd/m2 0.3 cd/m2 0.46 cd/m2 0.52 cd/m2
Default black level 0.16 cd/m2 0.3 cd/m2 0.19 cd/m2 0.18 cd/m2
Default contrast ratio 581:1 1,120:1 926:1 794:1
Contrast ratio (max brightness) 458:1 1,120:1 939:1 815:1

Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.

Video battery life (in hours)
Archos 80 G9 5.8

At $300 the Archos 80 G9 delivers a full Honeycomb (now upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich) tablet experience, with a useful kickstand and the ability to play 1080p video. Currently, this is the least expensive entry point into Honeycomb.

However, bad button placement, overall low build quality and shoddy design, and the screen's narrow viewing angles and disappointing video quality make it a tablet that, although cheap, is one that should make you consider very carefully whether the relatively low price is worth the design and performance problems.

In our view, you're better off paying more for an Android tablet of higher quality, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9.

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