Friday, 26 November 2010

Archos 101 The Story So Far

Well I've owned the Archos for less than a week but so far things are looking promising. Initially I had a fairly major issue with the screen - no, not the viewing angle, which, as has been highlighted by many, is poor but I only look at it straight on so it's not a problem to me. No, the problem I had was with the actual touch recognition. It didn't seem to register touch properly. I couldn't drag icons around the entire home screen. Some parts of the screen just didn't seem to allow dragging and parts of the virtual keypad where unresponsive. Happily there was a simple cure. I just ran the calibration commands from the 'repair & formatting' settings page. After that it's been well behaved. It's nice and responsive and all my presses register at the right points.

Probably the biggest disappointment is the low RAM. I couldn't find any detail before purchase as to how much it had and now I own one I can report it ain't a lot. My Desire on bootup has 240Mb free. The Archos, with even fewer startup programs, has just over 100Mb. That said, it doesn't seem to be causing me too much problem. The apps seem to run smoothly. Browsing is responsive - I use Xscope 1.5. The lack of flash is annoying but hopefully, as stated in a previous post, that'll be resolved in a week or two and for now I can just about cope.

The first thing I installed was GApps4Archos to get the real deal market. No problems encountered, GMail etc are installed and running happily.

The second problem I have encountered is WiFi sleeping on screen blank. This is a tad annoying and there doesn't seem to be the sleep policy from the WiFi Advanced options settings page. I've tried a couple of the market apps to try and keep it active to no avail. Again, I'm hoping the Froyo upgrade will resolve this one too. Fingers crossed.

Those issues aside, in use, the 101 is working well. I'm still working my way through the market to find the best apps for the things I want to use it for - namely; browsing, facebook, twitter, rss, newspapers and the odd blog post - the large keyboard is surprisingly accurate to use and I can actually get a reasonable typing speed going.

All in all I'm pleased with the purchase. I'm not going to claim it's as finished as the iPad and the wide screen aspect ratio, in my opinion, is not the ideal format for this type of device but it works surprisingly well in both portrait and landscape. I really thought that portrait would be too narrow for book reading and rss but it's actually fine and as yet I haven't come across any issues that I can put down to the larger size screen. For me the much cheaper price and the promise of Flash outweigh the polish of the iPad.

As to the battery life, I've been giving it a hammering today and used 35% in six hours fairly continuous use and I don't think that's bad at all. At the moment I give it the Mad Tech Report thumbs up. Mind you, if Froyo isn't just around the corner that's going to change...

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Archos 101 Froyo Upgrade

I've finally stumped up the cash and got myself an Android tablet. The last few months have seen me edge closer and closer to buying the Satan Device that is the iPad. Fortunately sense prevailed. The lack of Flash is too much to bare.

Instead I opted for the Archos 101. This ain't a review - that might follow shortly - but it's really light weight and it's size makes it easy to use while sat on the sofa watching the TV. It's not quite as responsive as I thought it would be - and then I realised it's not got Flash. Disaster! Although it mentions 'Android 2.2' throughout the product spec' it actually runs 2.1 out of the box - noooooooo! Feeling more than a little cheated I re-read product spec' to see how I was duped. And then it all becomes clear, '2.2 Technology enabled' - ie, it's got the capability to run 2.2 but Archos chose to give set it free before it really should have in its mad rush to market - and that meant 2.1.

Now I'd read that the early version ran 2.1 but I'd also read that the release version in November would run 2.2. As it's now late November I just assumed, I guess. I'm a little disappointed but the device itself is nice to use. Eager for 2.2 I emailed Archos in the Uk and this is the response I got:-

Head Office have advised that this week be available as a firmware update on our website from the end of next week [that's the 5th Dec]

Although a bit garbled - OK, a lot garbled - it does sound like the upgrade will be out by the end of next week. Whether this materialises I have my doubts - I'm a pessimistic bastard these days - but I hope it does because then the device will be a little cracker. If not? Well, I don't want to think about that, but a turkey springs to mind...