Sometimes it's easier to take risks, if you aren't moving quite so many units. ARCHOS, long a player in media playback devices has spent a few years exploring Android tablets and we've put them through their paces. Their last offering was the remarkably thin 101 XS, with its impressive keyboard cover. The ARCHOS GamePad takes a rather different turn. One part tablet, one part portable game system, the GamePad brings hardware gaming controls and is available now for just 149.99 EURO, with a US release in Q1 '13. 

 

Arranged in landscape mode, the GamePad's 1024 x 600 screen resolution isn't going to light the world on fire, but paired with the ARM Mali-400 GPU it should provide excellent frame rates. We've seen a lot of TI silicon in the last several ARCHOS tablets, so it was a surprise to see the processor go unnamed. We're still digging to find more details, but it's described as a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, with the aforementioned Mali-400 GPU. Given the last gen nature of the GPU, I imagine that the application processor is most likely of the ARM Cortex-A9 variety, somewhat similar to a higher clocked Samsung Exynos 4210. 

 

On the software front, this will be the first Jelly Bean tablet we've seen from ARHOS. Their software engineers have no doubt pushed themselves to the brink to bring the same media-centric features we've come to expect to, not just a new Android version, but also a new SoC. They've built a scheme for mapping the hardware buttons to soft buttons in games that aren't compatible with gamepads. 

So, is tablet gaming ready for a more dedicated device than we've seen in the past? We'll certainly be glad to find out. 

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  • CaptainDoug - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    It's the rk3066. Very similar to the 4212. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    I have an RK3066 device, pretty nippy combination of CPU and GPU if you ask me, at a very low price. Reply
  • CaptainDoug - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Especially with how open Archos is, this thing will be rooted very quickly and overclock of the CPU and GPU will most likely be a possibility. My 2 complaints is the pansy battery and the lower quality screen. I'd have much preferred a 1280x800. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    No UK retailer seems to have them yet, and the Archos website seems to say out of stock until the 18th.

    According to other data online, CPU is a Dual Core Rockchip RK3066 running at 1.6 GHz (Cortex A9), onboard capacity is class 6, and display is a 1024×600 7.0 inches LCD screen using TN technology with capacitive 5 points multitouch and 170 DPI.

    For £130, is it a contender with the faster, better supported and better display Nexus 7? Not sure - just got the 16GB for a family member for £160, but the Archos has a microSD slot. I still argue with myself on a daily basis whether I would use a tablet when I have an SGS2 which does all I need. After playing with a Nexus 7 for two weeks, the answer would probably be no though.
    Reply
  • CaptainDoug - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    The selling point of the Gamepad is the console like buttons/handles. $200 is a great price for a tablet that's made to actually make a profit. The Nexus 7 is a great tablet but no one can hit that price point without an ecosystem behind it to make the money back. My one qualm is that I wish the screen was 1280x800. Something better than only 170 ppi. Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Exactly. I don't have any real need for a tablet (a 5.5" screen is big enough for me) but I sure could make room in my life for an open, portable gaming system that can handle, say, PSX emulation. I'm in the camp that thinks that physical controls make for a generally superior gaming experience.

    Is 1024x600 and TN a little disappointing? Sure, but on the other hand, you're not gonna be spending a lot of time using this in portrait orientation, and when you're looking at 240p/480i content anyway, the difference between 600 and 800 vertical pixels doesn't really matter that much.

    As long as the screen uses square pixels (i.e. has a 128:75 aspect ratio), and isn't the bizarre panel used on this one crummy Android tablet I have, where it's like they tried to shoehorn 1024x600 into a 16:9 aspect ratio, I'll be sorely tempted when it lands stateside.
    Reply
  • CaptainDoug - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    Well put. And I'm tempted too. I had an original PSP which I "rooted" and used a bunch of emulators which and it was great. It was the best emulating device out there. I'm thinking this will take the cake. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Really? You don't find the larger device more comfortable to use when you're on the couch etc? Not to mention the improved battery life, if I spend a couple hours reading on my phone in addition to my normal usage I usually end up having to find a charger before bedtime.

    I'm actually looking to step down from a 10" TF to a 7" or 8.9", much more comfortable for the kind of consumption I do on the tablet I think.
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    They say timing is everything. Releasing a gaming tablet in Q1 *after* the holiday shopping season is pretty stupid. Reply
  • Zink - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    This isn't the kind of product that would often be given as a gift anyways. Better Q1 than Q2 is another way of looking at it. Reply

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