Let the Budget Tablet War Begin: Archos Arnova 10.1″ Tablet for $199!

by: Darryl DoakMarch 10, 2011

Anyone who was reluctant to make a move on buying a tablet due to their expensive price or the question of whether you would use it enough to justify the purchase, Archos is your savior.

They just released their Arnova 10 and it is now for sale,  at the starting price of $199 for a 10.1″ Android tablet. At this time not much is known of the tech specs on this new offering but it appears to be the same chassis as the Archos 101 Internet Tablet. All that is known so far is that it appears to have the same 10.1″ 1024×600 resolution display, 4GB of Internal Memory, front facing VGA camera, WIFI b/g, USB Host/Slave, and a Micro SDHC slot. Currently, its not yet known what SoC (Solution on a Chip) drives this device, but if it is the same as the Archos 101 which sported the Texas Instruments OMAP3630 at 1GHZ with integrated PowerVR SGX530 GPU, then this will be a very powerful budget minded tablet. Something that is lacking from the tech description and might have been deleted from this model is the Mini HDMI output that was built in on the $299 Archos 101 8GB Internet Tablet. Charbax from ArmDevices.net, who you will see below is very passionate about it, claims its a Rockchip 2818, and it runs at 800Mhz. He also claims that the series will receive an upgrade very shortly, and will get an ARM A8 Rockchip 2919

At a Glance

  • HD Multimedia: Play HD Videos and view photos on the sharp 10.1 inch high resolution touch screen
  • Applications: Customize your device by downloading your favorite Android applications from the 2nd largest Android app market
  • Internet: Surf the web in full width just like on your PC, and stay in contact by using the integrated email and contacts applications
  • Video Chat: Chat with friends and family using the foward facing web cam
  • WiFi (802.11 b/g) connectivity

Things to Consider

As the owner of an Archos 101 8GB Internet Tablet, I can tell you their build quality is pretty top notch. It has a mostly plastic body with a metal non-removable battery cover. I haven’t had any issues yet on any breakage and I must say their design is very nice. The thickness of the Archos 101 and Arnova 10 is a very thin, at just 0.50″,  which is thicker than the newly announced iPad 2’s 0.34″ but identical to the original iPad’s thickness.

What About Apps?

There are a couple things to consider buying one of this generation of Archos Tablets. So far there has been no word of Honeycomb coming to this gen. My Archos 101 is running 2.2.1 and came from the factory with AppsLib a 3rd party Android Market which does not access the official Android Market. But this has been easily solved by the guys over at the Archosfans’ Forums. They have made an easily installable apk that adds all the official Google Apps; Gmail, Google Voice, Maps, Voice Search and Youtube. Other than that I couldn’t see a downside of the Archos 101 before purchasing it. I’ve really only encountered a couple other oddities since I purchased it shortly after Christmas.

Some applications are protected apps so even though the market is enabled, some applications are not able to be seen to be downloaded. There is a work around if you have the means. Using a rooted device download the application and manually extract the apk from the rooted device then transfer them to the Archos tablet and install the apk. It will work just fine, but you will not receive application updates on these applications. Another issue I’ve encountered was the inability to use alternative launchers due to the on screen buttons that aren’t normally in an Android 2.2.1 phone. Therefore the alternative launchers don’t format the icon layout correctly. Looking over the image provided by Archos the only noticeable difference in software is that there is no longer a row of on screen buttons along the side they are now integrated into the notification bar like in Honeycomb tablets. This may fix the problem of alternative launchers working correctly. The only issue with the hardware that I’ve seen is the screen, it has a small viewing angle, this is very noticeable but isn’t much of a problem, it is fully usable to the person using the device but your friends will have a hard time looking over your shoulder. The back-light is also not very strong but is still viewable outdoors. Neither of these hardware issues are enough to make the tablet considered bad in any way. When it comes to gaming on the device it works great. Angry Birds and 3d games run perfectly smooth at the higher 1024×600 resolution.

I must say if you don’t have a tablet yet, buy the Arnova 10. If 4GB isn’t enough, jump online and pick up a 8GB Micro SDHC card for $11. Then you’ll have a 10.1″ tablet with 12GB for only $211. Note that this is a WIFI only tablet so this does not require a data plan. It could easily be WIFI tethered to your cell phone, or you could get a MIFI device through any carrier to enable internet everywhere.

What do you think? Is $199 the sweet spot for Android Tablets?

Thanks to Charbax at ArmDevices.net for the great vid.

  • NICE REVIEW!! Thanks, Archos didn’t advertise this well and the specs aren’t showing up on the site. Nice Review! Just bought the Nook Color this week for $250, but this is an upgrade from that!

  • Gregory Opera

    Telstra have had a budget, Android-powered tablet for at least six months now:

    If there’s any Australians reading this article, it might be worth looking at, seeing as Archos are not widely available in Australia (if at all!)…

    Anyway, it’s good to see cheaper tablets being made available, for those of us that can’t afford Apple’s/Samsung’s $AU1,000+/$AU800+ asking price!

  • I think it’s likely all these cheap Archos and Arnova with rk29/capacitive tablets will get Honeycomb firmware update. But it’s not sure if Google will open up the Honeycomb Google Marketplace to these types of devices, they should, but that does not mean they will. We should know within days what the new updated Compliance Definition Document from Google is for Honeycomb, as well when they release the Honeycomb source code. In any ways, even for Honeycomb, surely the Google Marketplace can be added in a 1 minute apk install, but official “legal” support by Google would be nicest, so it’s just there when people buy the device and there are no problems with any protected apps, alternative home replacements or anything else.

    If you are a geek, waiting to make sure the Arnova 10 with rk2918 and capacitive is available, that is probably the wiser choice. They told me the rk29 and capacitive Arnova 10 should be released next month, so perhaps within 1-2 months it’s here. Hopefully the cheaper capacitive screen is not any worse than the 101 IT screen. Sure enough the ultra IPS gorilla glass screens might look sharper in direct comparison, but the basic capacitive screens Archos use are just good enough for normal use as well, as you say, as long as you are not trying to use the tablet to entertain 10 people at the same time at all different viewing angles.

  • Annonymos

    This is great i have bought one today for a christmas present for my daughter. I had a quick go its great and fun to use . appslib is good because it says if the app is approved or not. a great buy and better than a laptop or netbook

  • I think this is wonder-full offer for Android tablet then ever seen before. Really every one must celebrate this offer.

  • Samsung have also launched many tablets and smartphones these days with better features and effective pricing .. and yea its a well known brand as well.
    Lets see how much this tablet gets popularity

  • . Unzip the file to your hard drive; remember where you put it.
    2. Connect the tablet in USB debug mode (not in recovery), do not turn on USB storage.
    3. Windows will try to install a driver (this is distinct from the RK29xx drivers, which are installed when in recovery).
    4. Tell Windows you know where the driver is and point it to the directory where you put the files.