Archos 101 XS tablet: Review & Specs

This Archos 101 XS tablet is designed for multimedia activities: audio and video playback, plus video games. Its power allows it to support all types of applications, but its battery life is not up to par.

Archos 101 XS

The new tablet Archos from French manufacturer is full of original ideas, but its lack of screen brightness and battery endurance.

The promise

Archos 101 XS

The Archos 101 XS is a weapon, all the advantages possible to bend the competition: a powerful processor, Android 4.0 system, a quality screen and even keyboard. We also find the specifics of Archos, very oriented audio and video. The Archos 101 XS promises so much, for a price of 349 euros tight with 16 GB of internal storage.

Reality

Archos 101 XS

The tablet Archos 101 XS gives a first impression mixed. The white plastic dominates the low-end design of the tablet. Fortunately, large aluminium plates enhance the standing of the whole. The fit and finish are not of the first order: there are for example LED backlight along the left edge of the screen, a rather … surprising! However, this is acceptable given the price: Archos 101 XS provides the maximum facilities for 379 Euros. It was therefore expect some sacrifices. The good news is that this tablet is thin and light (630 g, less than 9 mm thick), even with the keyboard (900 g, 14 mm thick).
A very well thought out keyboard

Originality of the first tablet keyboard, it does not include extra battery like the Asus Transformer tablets. Nothing to increase the autonomy of the tablet then. This keyboard is just equipped with a USB port for charging the device. The mounting system is mainly based on a set of magnets which keeps tightly closed. These magnets also help stabilize the Archos 101 XS on its stand in the open position. If you have some difficulties to separate the tablet from the keyboard, manipulation quickly becomes easy with a little practice. This keyboard is not breathing strength, but at least it offers stable support and protection for the screen. Most importantly, it is also lighter than the end (270 g to about 5 mm thick). All Android shortcut commands are present (back button, volume, search, Wi-Fi, brightness, etc..). These buttons are well embedded in a standard laptop keyboard format. Archos has managed to implement copy and paste specific PC, small feat unique in the market. The keys are a bit small to provide optimal comfort typing, but once again, with a little practice, you soon get used to!
Image rendering excellent, but not bright enough

Second originality: the Archos 101 XS is the first tablet equipped with a LCD MVA (Multi-domain Vertical Alignment). The choice of screen display provides a particularly remarkable in terms of contrast ratio, IPS panels where other tablets are particularly low. We actually measured contrast ratio (909:1 1) about two times higher than that of competitors. The colors are bright and well restored and deep blacks obvious! But this screen suffers from two flaws. The first is typical of MVA: its reactivity is very low. It thus displays a high afterglow, resulting in long lines behind moving objects or rough transitions between certain colors. For example, moving a green icon on a blue background reveals very dark streaks visible. In fact, this problem is really annoying in the Android menus and, paradoxically, less in games and movies. Anyway, demanding users will find it difficult to ignore. Default second, the more problematic this time the backlight is too low. It was measured a maximum brightness of 210 cd / m² only, which is enough to comfortably view images in dark ambient light. The screen coating is more, very bright reflections of light accentuating the problem. The screen of the Archos 101 XS is therefore very significant that in a low – or very low – luminosity.

Archos 101 XS tablet
Designed for movies and music

Built for multimedia, tablet incorporates several useful software, concocted by the manufacturer. Both audio and video players are very well done. Their interface is very fluid, fast transitions. DVD and CD covers are retrieved on the Internet if the files are correctly named. All audio and video formats are passed without any problems, up to 1080p. Ditto for the subtitles. Note that HDMI also works perfectly it can display films in 1080p on a TV. AC3 codec, however, is optional on the Archos website, because it requires the purchase of a license. French manufacturer also provides a file explorer, Office Suite Pro 6 (sold 12 euros on Google Play) edit Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF. Good equipment software, especially Archos uses the Android version 4.0 without modification. Very fluid and fast, it will soon update to version 4.1 (called Jelly Bean).
High power but low autonomy

The dual core processor of the tablet operates at high frequency (1.5 GHz) it is more than enough for all types of activities. With its PowerVR SGX544 graphics chip, high performance, it consumes all the apps available for Android, even the most advanced games. Note that, not consuming too much energy, the graphics chip is disabled in 2D. It is then replaced by a second chipset (named Vivante) much less energy, specializing in 2D acceleration. This turns the 2D interface very fluid. The only problem is that the device is not quite independent. It is even less independent of our comparative Standing Large shelves: a little over 4 hours of video playback and less than 5 hours Wi-Fi web browsing that drop the Archos 101 XS in low depths of our ranking. Archos says prepare an update to optimize the autonomy of the tablet. Hope that the improvement is significant!
The verdict

This tablet Archos 101 XS, generously equipped, full of good ideas and makes some software and hardware innovations of high quality. But sloppy finishing, low screen brightness, and especially insufficient autonomy saddled the device.