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

by: AdrianOctober 4, 2012

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?

  • andyArry

    I bought one from HMV yesterday,(Oct 2012) it lasts 1 hour (not a fault according to HMV) not 8hrs as claimed, also has no sound and struggles even with the pre-installed software (Kart doesn’t work) and the OS locks up regularly. It’s a waste of money as it is useless on all counts and no HMV refund. Buy the Nexus-7 that works.

    • Joe

      1 hour is definitely a fault. Either re-initialise the battery, or get a replacement/repair instruction from Arnova (register online and send them an email). Their customer service replaced my Android 2.3 tablet with the GBook when the wireless function on the old model died after 6 months.

      • andyArry

        Last week , after I contacted HMV customer head office they finally
        agreed it was unacceptable as a portable device. I suspect I am one of
        many disappointed with this pad, after the many blogs I’ve read. HMV did
        agree to a refund but only after a lot of pressure. By the way I still stand by high opinion of the Nexus-7 which my son hammers with Minecraft.

  • kaz

    I got 1from hmv an has no sound at all dose any 1 no if I can get sound on it.

    • Joe

      Yes. External.

  • Alex

    I bought yesterday too one and the same no sound,so…Is a problem or it has not sound built in ?

    • Joe

      No speakers, but a 3.5mm stereo jack and a built-in microphone. Get a thumb-sized mini amplified stereo speaker for less than ten bucks, or plug in a headset!

  • Joe

    My new GBook cost 100 euros, played films for just under four hours on the first charge, although I was using Google Play on wireless and installing free apps (Coolreader and BSPlayer for a maximum of eBook and video formats). It fits in my pocket, and (@kaz) with earphones or portable amplified speakers it has sound too.

  • john

    Your ebook is fecking shit,no sound,freezing all the time,waste of 90 euro,was to be xmas present for my nephew,the only enjoyment I’ll have with it is smashing it up with a lump hammer

  • Looby Loo Cake Company

    OMG, so disappointed. My husband and I did research this before we bought one for both of our children. It is totally rubbish!!! It freezes constantly and holds charge for about an hour! In a word CRAP!

  • Lovemygbook

    I bought one in november and i cant complain, i bought head phones for mine and i listen to all sorts of music while im surfing, i get almost 8 hours for just reading and when im doing something else i get between 5-6 hours , so im well pleased with mine.