The Archos 7 Home Tablet is an Android based, 7 inch tablet that retails for $200. This should be considered as a tablet for someone in the market for basic functionality. it has a web browser, e-mail client, and some basic apps pre-loaded, but really should be considered as a 7 inch media player. You have 8 GB of onboard Flash memory, but you can expand that to 32 GB by using a micro SDHC card. the screen as 800 x 480 resolution, and decent speakers. it can work well as a media player on the go when you (or your kids) need something to keep you occupied.
There are three main things that people don’t like about this tablet: its resistive touch screen, absence of an accelerometer, and lack of access to the Android market. Also, it runs Android 1.5, when you can now get one tablet (the admittedly way more expensive Motorola Xoom) with Android Honeycomb and several running Android 2.2.
That said, the Archos 7 is attractive and does not feel cheaply made. Plus it has a handy kickstand on the back so you can easily prop it up on a table without having to buy a special stand for it. Plus, 7 inch tablets are just a better size for a lot of users than a full sized 10 inch tablet. This one measures 8 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches, so it fits easily into your jacket pocket or handbag. and it weighs just a hair more than the Kindle, at 13.7 oz., so one-handed use is not tiring.
On the top edge of the Archos 7 is the power switch and micro SD card slot. on the right side is a mini USB port and a headphone / composite video out socket. it comes with earbuds, an AC adapter, and a standard USB-to-mini-USB cable. the 7 inch, 800 x 480 display is disappointing to many users, though it does have a matte display. but viewed at slightly “off” viewing angles, the picture fades significantly, though the picture is crisp and nice when viewed straight on.
Most of the new tablets have capacitive touch screens, but this one does not, so anyone used to using a capacitive touch screen will feel as if they’re taking a step backwards using the Archos 7 resistive touch screen. In fairness, it is responsive for a resistive touch screen. the lack of accelerometer is also problematic to many users. Additionally, there is no hardware switch or software utility for changing screen orientation. however, some apps default to a vertical screen, so all is not lost.
The Archos 7 Home Tablet doesn’t have access to the Google Android Market. This doesn’t mean you can’t get apps, just that you have to try a little harder to find and install them. Archos has its own AppsLib store, which has a limited number of apps available. the tablet does come preloaded with a few apps, but they do not include Gmail, Facebook, or YouTube. You can get apps from AndroidFreeware.com, and you can get apps off individual sites that offer them, but it’s a pain not having access to the Android market.
The Archos 7 tablet shines in terms of battery life. You can have the WiFi on and get around 7 hours, and with WiFi off, you can squeeze out a few more hours with normal usage.
The bottom line with the Archos 7 is that it’s one of those “You get what you pay for” situations. though the tablet comes with Android 1.5, it is upgradable to 1.6, and at that time, you should be able to access the Android market as well. the Archos 7 does fine for playing on-board video and reading e-books. It’s very affordable, and the screen (despite its low resolution) is crisp and bright. but the lack of accelerometer, older operating system, and resistive touch screen are three features that will be off-putting for a lot of people.