Archos has been plugging away at tablets longer than almost all of its rivals. The Arnova 10 sits towards the bottom of the company's sizeable range, priced at a lowly £150 or thereabouts. It's not designed to compete with high-end models like the iPad 2, but rather to provide a better experience than the flood of cheap devices now appearing on the market from unheard of Chinese brands.
The Arnova 10 is based around a large, wide-screen, 10.1-inch display. The tablet is far wider than it is tall -- much more so than most other tablets on the market. As a result, it feels rather top-heavy when you're holding it in portrait orientation.
The screen dominates the front of the device, but there's also a small camera peeping out of the bezel. The tablet is fairly slim at 13.5mm, and it's constructed entirely from plastic, with a mock brushed-aluminium section surrounding the screen. Although nowhere near as sturdy as high-end tablets like the iPad 2, the build quality isn't bad.
The only physical controls are mounted on the left-hand edge. They include a volume rocker button and a power button that doubles as a lock switch. Beneath these, there's a full-sized USB port for connecting memory keys or hard drives to the tablet, plus a micro-USB port that's used for syncing it with a PC. You can't charge the tablet over USB, however. Instead, you have to use the charging port that's found beneath the micro-USB port.
The left side of the device is also home to the microSD card slot, which you can use to boost the device's internal storage. Our review model had 4GB of storage space, but there's also an 8GB version available for about £50 extra.
Stale Eclair software
The tablet runs, which is far from the latest version of Google's mobile operating system. It's rather baffling that Archos has used this version, as 2.1 Eclair is generally considered to be slower than 2.2 Froyo, and the Arnova 10 isn't a high-powered device to begin with.
Because the device doesn't have any physical buttons for controlling Android, Archos has instead put its own skin over the top of the software to provide virtual home, back and menu buttons. These have been placed at the top of the screen, though, so they're awkward to use when you're holding the tablet in landscape mode.