A Review of the Archos 10.1 G9 Turbo 250 GB – Android 4.0 ICS out of the box with bottomless storage

April 15, 2012
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    When I first heard of the Archos tablets with an actual built in hard-drive I was very skeptical. A few questions popped in my head about battery life, response time, weight, thickness, and stability. Would I feel this tablet jerking around in my hands as I do with a normal external hard-drive picked up during use? So many pro’s and con’s  popped up in the equation with the addition of such a feature over normal flash memory. To me the Archos 10.1 G9 Turbo is a very interesting concept, read on to find out if Archos pulled this off successfully, or is it just a gimmick?

    What’s good:

    The G9 Turbo had loads of storage space, a decent screen, a kickstand and Android 4.0, round that off with a $399 price tag and you have an awesome mobile media tablet.

    What’s Bad:

    The plastic feel of the tablet does not give it a solid feel. Also the battery life/charging speeds could be better, I found if I wanted a full charge I had to leave the tablet alone the whole time.

    The short of it:

    The G9 Turbo with Android 4.0 is an overall great tablet. Besides my few complaints with the build materials and charging issues, this tablet is a solid performer.

    Specs

    • 1.2GHz OMAP4 dual core processor
    • 1GB of RAM
    • 10.1 inch (16:10) 1024×768 capacitive touchscreen,
    • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Google Mobile Apps Suite including Android Market
    • ARCHOS made multimedia apps for extra format and codec support including H.264 HP support
    • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and upgradable to 3G via the ARCHOS G9 3G Stick (sold separately)

    Video Review

    Build Quality

    Being the proud owner of a Motorola Xoom it is hard to compare any other tablet to such a quality build. When I first picked up the G9 Turbo it felt completely foreign to me, so I handed it over to my fiance who proceeded to tell me it felt good.  Over the next few days I adjusted to the feel, while never feeling quite as solid as the Xoom does, it felt good. The outer shell of the tablet is hard plastic. While the material is easy enough to hold onto and seems durable enough; an extra layer of rubber around the edges would do some good for extra grip, and added protection.  Overall the plastic does get the job done but does leave something to be desired.

    External Ports/Design

    This tablet was built with the idea of portable media in mind. This was first obvious to me when I see an HDMI mini port along with a kickstand. Both of these features worked well, especially the kickstand, since I could charge and watch a video at the same time without having to fumble around due to the placement of the charging port. The power button is on the top as expected the but volume rockers on the other hand seemed to be placed in an odd spot, it is on the “bottom”. When I first got my hands on the G9 Turbo I kept on confusing the power button and the volume rocker. I wasn’t familiar with the device and kept pressing the volume rocker to try turn it on. It was not till I tried watching a movie on the tablet that I realized why the audio was placed where it was. When flipped horizantal to watch a movie, the volume rocker on the “bottom” makes much more sense.

    It isn’t to often that I am happy to see a feature missing while reviewing a device. This was the case when I first noticed that the G9 Turbo did not have a rear camera. Most times we find ourselves using our phones to take pictures in the moment, rarely do we find ourselves scrambling for our tablets.  On the other hand if they had omitted a front facing camera I would have been displeased. While the 720p front facing camera is not ground breaking, it is included for good reason (Skype). Everything else is as expected, speaker is on the back, and some Archos logos here and there.

    Display/Speakers

    As a portable media device, you would expect a decent audio and video experience, this brings us to the display and speaker. First off let me start off by saying that display reminds me a lot of my Xoom, and when set side by side I can see no real difference. The resolution of the screen is 1280 x 800 bringing us in at 150 ppi, now days this is pretty standard for the average tablet. This may leave you wanting when compared to the displays on the Transformer Prime or iPad (see high resolution IPS displays).  Overall while watching videos on the G9 Turbo they looked clean, and the colors looked spot on (no over saturation here). Although it may not be the best or newest screen technology, it looks really good and was easy on the eyes.

    The speaker sounded good as well. Although it is placed in the back it was loud enough that I never really had to strain to hear what was going on.  If watching a movie or playing a game, for the most part I could hear what was going on. I would have preferred the speakers on the front, but it seems all to rare that a company actually does this. Fortunately with the kickstand open the sound normally will get reflected back at you. But if the situation calls for it you can always switch over to a Bluetooth headset, or headphones.

    Internal Hardware

    The internal hardware for the G9 Turbo is pretty standard for the average tablet these days. With a OMAP 4 dual core processor clocked at 1.5 ghz, and 1 gig of ram you shouldn’t have any problem watching movies, or checking your email. The G9 Turbo being based off the OMAP 4 processor ensures that you wont have any problem playing HD video content, something that can be a problem if using a device based off of the Tegra 2. This absolutely is a must being that the G9 Turbo has an HDMI mini port, since its core purpose is streaming movies to HD TV’s. Overall I am completely satisfied with the specs of the G9 Turbo for the price.

    Software

    Often times you find a bunch of unwanted software or a skin installed on your phone or tablet.  With the G9 there are some pre-installed apps on the tablet, but they can all be removed. The important thing here is that a few of them are actually useful. The ARCHOS made multimedia apps for extra format and codec support was extremely useful, it will definitely save anyone looking for out of the box movie playback a few bucks.

    From what I have read (and my experience with my Xoom) is that new life has been found with the introduction of Android 4.0 (ICS). The heart and soul running the G9 Turbo is pretty close to untouched ICS as you can get. As you can see from the video ICS on this run very smooth. I credit this to the fact that ICS was designed from the ground up to run on the OMAP 4 architecture, something that defiantly benefits the G9 Turbo.

    Memory (Hard-drive)

    After being limited to at most 48 gigs of space at most on my Xoom or Rezound, I found the G9 Turbo’s 250 gb hard-drive refreshing. The thing is though how well does it work? Lets just say besides the thickness of the G9, I would have not even noticed it was there. Not once could I feel the tablet vibrating in my hand, or lag due to a large file being opened. After doing some research I found out why, the G9 Turbo uses a Momentus Thin Hard Drive. Well what does that mean? Archos website describes it as “Wanting to give users the best of both worlds, ARCHOS paired the Seagate® Momentus® Thin hard drive with a dedicated 2GB1 flash caching system. This ARCHOS engineered hybrid solution offered on all ARCHOS G9 hard drive tablets is designed to limit spinning and to keep the drive powered down when not in use, which will protect it when on the go as well as preserve battery life. These unique features combined with ARCHOS’ changes in Android to allow for hard drives means that your 250GB1 HDD feels like it’s an SSD.” Overall I came away very satisfied with the experience of the hybrid hard drive.

    Verdict

    When I first got my hands on the G9 Turbo I wasn’t so sure about it, the feel to me was off, and felt a little thick. After some hands on time with it though I really found its potential. With a massive amount of hard drive space, a kickstand, and some good media software I was ready to transfer all my media files over to it. The G9 Turbo isn’t perfect, but it is a great mid-range tablet; especially for those people looking to bring their media on the go.

    Any thoughts? Let us know if you have any questions below!

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    Comments

    • Charles Clout

      Looks like a decent midrange solution for an Android tablet. Will you be testing the optional 3g USB dongle that fits in the back all?

      Great review.

      • Sobr0801

        I wish they had sent it with, but no I wont be reviewing it to my knowledge.

    • Guest

      I bought this one TURBO G9 10.1 with 250GB,
      specifications are great, but it freezes and often,and it seems to me I am not the only one as many other complained. It gets hot and freezes, I think the minimum I would like to have of my devices is for them to be stable.

      • Sobr0801

        The only problem I had with the tablet was screen calibration after shipping. I just had to recalibrate it, and worked fine after that.

    • ClaraCWhitsett

      Good review. Will you be testing the optional 3g USB dongle that fits in the back all?

      http://goo.gl/2cAj6

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