Cheap Archos Arnova Gbook unveiled. Does it combine the best of a tablet with the best of an e-reader?

October 4, 2012
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Archos is known for releasing cheap and decent Android-based tablets, but the company’s latest device seems to win a lot of points in the former category and not that many in the latter.

The Arnova GBook 7-incher isn’t even advertised as a full-fledged tablet by Archos, although the company’s official website does mention that it “combines the best of a tablet with the best of an eReader”.

That’s highly questionable, as the GBook only sports an 800 x 480 pixels resolution TFT touchscreen which is not ideal for reading books, let alone for watching movies or playing games. The 1 GHz Cortex A8 CPU also sounds like a blast from the past, being most likely a single-core unit and therefore not that great for gaming or multimedia.

Surprisingly, the processor is paired with 1 GB of RAM, so when it comes to multitasking you might actually be able to juggle a few things on the GBook. Exactly what kind of things we don’t really know, because the Android OS on it lacks Google Play support, so the only apps and games you’ll be able to run will be found in the Appslib app store.

The number of pre-loaded apps is fortunately limited, so the only thing that will taint ICS out of the box will be something called Aldiko Premium, a book reader app supporting several formats, including EPUB, PDF and Adobe DRM EPUB and PDF.

The 4 GB of internal memory sounds pretty standard for a low-end 7-inch tablet, while other features are themselves okay, but not impressive, including microSD support for expanding storage with an additional 32 GB, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, and a front-facing camera (probably VGA).

The mini HDMI output is a pretty nice surprise, although there doesn’t seem to be Bluetooth support. As for the battery’s capacity, this is kept under wraps for the time being. Archos does claim that the GBook is capable of lasting for up to seven hours in video playback and eight in reading mode, though we’re pretty sure that’s not the real-life autonomy of the 7-incher (expect more like five or six hours).

Weighing in at 304 grams (10.7 ounces) and measuring 11.5 mm in thickness, the GBook is clearly not an ugly tab in our book. The bezel seems a bit thick and we can’t say we’re big fans of those large physical buttons at the bottom, but other than that this is actually pretty elegant and sleek.

Archos hasn’t mentioned anything official on the pricing and availability fronts yet, but after doing some digging we found the GBook listed at UK retailer HMV for £69.99. That is the equivalent of around $110, but when and if it’ll hit the States it should come for less (hopefully $70 or $80).

Anyone interested in the Archos Arnova GBook? Would $100 be too much to ask for it? How about $70?

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