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 Post subject: My review of the 80XS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Location: Hemel Hempstead UK
I have had the 80XS for a bout a week now and it replaces a series of faulty 80 G9 Classic tablets.

Design and build quality

It's about the same size as an 80G9, but slimmer. The white finish shows up dirt very easily but the non-shiny surface is easy to grip and the device is light and easy on the fingers and wrist when in use. There is no flex or creaking - it's well put together. The power button is hard to find and too small but only a minor irritation. The microSD slot still doesn't have a cover (like the G9) but now there is much less chance of losing the card because it lies just inside the slot when inserted. On the G9 it was proud of the surface of the side of the tablet and susceptible to being accidentally ejected. The power LED (which is only red) is on the opposite side to the Micro USB power/data socket, flashes when the tablet is fully charged. There is no pop-out 'leg' as on the G9, instead you have a slimline chiclet keyboard that can be docked magnetically to the tablet and act as a stand. It also functions as a screen cover, magnetically attaching but not firmly located to the tablet. As a cover it's OK and as a keyboard you really need to use it on a table rather than a lap. I personally haven't needed to use the keyboard much apart from as a cover. The overall design affords some side space either side of the screen so the device can be gripped comfortably with little danger of accidentally touching the screen.

Internal spec. and performance

The 80XS has a much better spec. than the 80 G9; 1.6GHz (instead of 1.0 GHz) later generation ARM Rockchip, 1GB RAM (0.5GB), plus an impressive quad-core graphics processor. I always felt the G9 was in the edge and occasionally over the edge when it came to CPU and RAM resources. The 80XS is never like that - it runs smoothly and almost always with excellent response. The 80XS still only has 8GB flash memory but like the G9 you can install a microSD card. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the 80XS supports 64GB cards without some faffing around with the formatting of the card, which I could not do using the tablet itself and this is despite the Archos specifications stating it is 64GB SDXC compatible. I am using a 32GB card instead for the time being.

Using the Archos video player I was disappointed that a variety of digital camera and other video clips I tried to play were not handled well, with jerky and slow frame rates. This was solved by installing the free MX Video player app and accompanying codecs. BBC iPlayer and YouTube playback was fine, with no lip-sync problems that I had with the G9.

GPS

Well, it works. It's not as sensitive as my Samsung Galaxy Note (Mk1) smartphone, but at least it works (which it often didn't on the G9).

WiFi

Again, this seems to work mostly fine. On occasion I have had to switch WiFi off and back on again to get a signal after powering the device back on after a break, but this is fairly rare.

Screen

Archos makes play of the fact that the 80XS has an MVA LCD panel. I haven't compared the G9 back to back with the 10XS but I suspect they share the same screen. Colours, especially reds, are lacking in saturation and the screen has an overall cool cast. Greens and yellows are reproduced better. I could not find any colour or contrast controls, only brightness, and this is not brilliant; the maximum setting is used by me all the time. The screen is quite directional, two sides are OK at more acute angles but the opposite two sides darken and change colour quite noticeably. I'd rather have an IPS panel any day. The touch screen works as expected and thanks to the good CPU and graphics processor is generally very responsive and smooth. The screen does not appear to have any anti-reflection or anti-finger-marking treatment.

The screen is 1024x768, the same as the G9. We have an iPad in the house as well and the difference in quality is quite noticeable but in general use the 80XS screen is just about adequate.

Audio

The single external speaker is poor; it's not very loud and there is hardly any warmth or bass to the output at all. I have a great pair of Sennheiser Bluetooth headphones and I am pleased to say that these work brilliantly with the 80XS. I haven't actually tried the headphone port!

Camera

There is only one camera, front-facing for self-portraits and Skype, etc. The quality is pretty poor, especially compared to my Samsung Galaxy Note phone's front camera, but at least there is a camera.

Battery life

The 80XS is relatively small and light and that means the battery has to be small and light too. In constant use I would say that 4-5 hours is possible but I doubt 6 hours, as claimed by Archos. I'm not too bothered by this as I have a Mophie JuicePack external USB battery and this should at least double the usable time between charges. Powered off I have not experienced any unusual loss in battery charge.

Operating System

You get Android Jelly Bean 4.1, so not the latest version and I am not sure that there will be any official updates from Archos, unlike with the G0 where we had firmware updates every 5 minutes and one sometimes regretted installing them!

You only get stock Android with the 80XS, which is fine by me but if anything it's visually more boring than the ICS version on the G9, so I have installed the Go Launcher HD with a custom theme and this works brilliantly.

Virtually all the apps I normally use have installed without problems; although I could not get the Swype gesture keyboard to work properly. The similar Google Keyboard does work although when working properly Swype is better in my opinion.

Conclusion

On the Archos scale of things the 80XS is amazingly good compared to the G9. Would I recommend the 80XS; not sure. It depends on price and rivals like the Nexus 7 II are basically as good or better all round. Some may find the keyboard cover is the killer feature; it isn't for me, but it's quite nicely done.

Unfortunately my biggest issue concerning Archos is product variability and, in turn, Archos' ability to deal with faults and unhappy customers, me being a prime example. I am a professional journalist and I had to pull strings to get Archos to replace my faulty G9. Originally, I had one of the early models with the wonky screen. This was replaced by the company I bought it from. That later developed faults and it took ages to be dealt with via the Archos returns system and my faulty G9 was eventually returned to me 'fault not found' (the fact that the USB port was broken and the GPS didn't work appeared to have escaped them). I complained and they sent me a brand new replacement G9 but this, too was faulty with the now infamous WiFi poor signal issue. So that was 3 G9s in total and none of them worked properly. At this point I was offered by the Archos marketing dept. a different model and I ended up with an 80XS. I'm much happier with this but it has taken months and months to get this far. When my HTC phone developed a fault just two months from the end of its TWO year warranty HTC collected it on a Monday and I had it back fixed on the Thursday and at no cost to me. Archos expects you to foot the cost of returning faulty product and their warranty is only 1 year. Archos customer service is so bad I told one very unhelpful representative on the phone that at this rate Archos' reputation would eventually be the end of the company.

The 80XS and some of their other new products does show that the company can do things reasonably well. But Archos urgently need to get their customer service act together.

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Archos 80 G9
Samsung Galaxy Note


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:39 am 
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Very helpful & thorough review. I just wish it had a kickstand and a 16 gb option.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:47 pm 
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Location: Hemel Hempstead UK
ruellia wrote:
Very helpful & thorough review. I just wish it had a kickstand and a 16 gb option.


The keyboard cover works as a stand of course. As there is a microSD card slot the lack of 16GB internally does not bother me - I have 8+32GB already and would have 8+64GB if I could work out how to format a 64GB card to work with the 80XS.

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Archos 80 G9
Samsung Galaxy Note


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:08 pm 
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Location: Hemel Hempstead UK
Update, the power switch has broken. Says it all really.

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Archos 80 G9
Samsung Galaxy Note


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:16 pm
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ifb wrote:
Update, the power switch has broken. Says it all really.


Archos uses 3rd tier Chinese manufacturers to produce their products which results in crappy devices.

A number of U.S. based retailers are selling the 2013 Nexus 7 (a much better tablet) for only $ 179 and also throw in a $ 20 gift card this holiday season.

Why would anyone buy an Archos tablet?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:55 pm
Posts: 153
Location: Hemel Hempstead UK
tabber wrote:
ifb wrote:
Update, the power switch has broken. Says it all really.


Archos uses 3rd tier Chinese manufacturers to produce their products which results in crappy devices.

A number of U.S. based retailers are selling the 2013 Nexus 7 (a much better tablet) for only $ 179 and also throw in a $ 20 gift card this holiday season.

Why would anyone buy an Archos tablet?


Yes I know that now, but the 80XS was the third replacement unit originating from my original purchase of a G9 two years ago!

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Archos 80 G9
Samsung Galaxy Note


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