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Archos 101 XS first hands-on and review [video]

August 22, 2012

The Archos 101 XS was officially unveiled earlier today and if you’re already interested in this new piece of Android-running hardware then you’ll want to check out our first hands-on and video review of the device – that’s right, we got to play with this interesting beast already and see how it performs under pressure.

The Archos 101 XS may not be an iPad-killer, and it’s certainly not a budget-friendly Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire rival, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting device to play with. The 10-inch tablet will hit U.S. stores at some point in November, and it’ll set you back $399.99 – and our review could help out with your tablet buying decision.

From the get-go, we’ll tell you that the Archos 101 XS runs an unskinned version of Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is certainly an important feature for certain Android fans. It’s not exactly a pure ICS version, as it comes with certain Archos pre-loaded apps, but it’s very close to what you’d get on a Nexus-branded device. The tablet will be upgradeable to Jelly Bean in the future but we don’t have exact dates for you just yet except for a general “Q4 2012” quote.

As for the rest of the specs and features of the tablet, also important for your buying decision, you’ll have to know the Archos 101 XS features a 10.1-inch touchscreen display with 1024 x 768 resolution, 1.5GHz dual-core A9 processor and a PowerVR SGX544 GPU, part of a TI OMAP 4470 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of memory, microSD support for up to 64GB storage expansion, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera (but no rear camera), microUSB, mini HDMI, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and an interesting magnetic Coverboard that hides a full QWERTY keyboard dock and doubles as a protective cover.

Archos 101 XS (left) vs Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T (right)

As you can see in the video below, recorded by our own Clayton Ljungberg, the tablet is quite snappy (see our Quadrant test results) as the TI OMAP hums nicely away under the screen – and we will note the Archos 101 XS is quite slim at just 7.8mm thickness, with the Coverboard measuring just around 5mm.

We’ll mention this again: the device is running an unskinned Android version, but it does come pre-loaded with various apps, some of which you may actually appreciate having on the tablet, and we refer specifically to Archos’ proprietary multimedia apps or the OfficeSuite Pro 6 productivity app.

Archos 101 XS (below) vs Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T (above)

Overall, the Archos 101 XS seems to be quite an interesting mid-ranged tablet, ready to offer a great user experience, for an affordable price considering what the competition has in store right now, and I’m referring strictly to available Android devices.

If $399.99 is too much for you, or you’re waiting for other upcoming tablets to hit stores before you make a buying decision – such as the Kindle Fire 2 or iPad Mini – you can definitely wait a while longer before getting this new Archos it, as we expect the price of the Archos 101 XS to drop in the months following its official release. And let’s not forget that two other Archos tablets are set to be unveiled in the coming months, the Archos 97 XS and Archos 80 XS.

Let’s hear it from you, Android tablet fans, what do you think of the Archos 101 XS?