Archos 80 Titanium review
This 4:3 Android tablet has excellent build quality, but its battery life and performance are fairly average
Review Date: 12 Aug 2013
Price when reviewed: £130
Reviewed By: Katharine Byrne
Take one look at the Archos 80 Titanium's glossy white bezel and 4:3 display and it's obvious which tablet Archos is trying to emulate. This is the second 8in tablet we've seen that's tried to combine Android with an iPad Mini-like design, the other being Acer's Iconia A1.
The tough metal chassis certainly looks the high-end tablet part, and its smooth rounded corners are comfortable to hold. The front of the tablet is quite plain save for a small webcam in the corner, but there's a tiny home button that sits just above the volume rocker on the left hand side and you'll find a power button on top of the tablet alongside its various ports.
Sadly, the Micro USB port is only for transferring files rather than doubling up as a charger, so you need to use the included DC plug to charge the tablet. There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack, a mini-HDMI video output for connecting the tablet to an external display and a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 64GB. This will be welcome news to anyone who likes to store a lot of media files on their tablet, as the 80 Titanium only comes with 8GB of internal memory.
What really sets this tablet apart, though, is its 8in display. It has a 1,024x768 resolution, but rather than a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, the 80 Titanium has a squarer 4:3 aspect ratio. This makes it less suitable for watching widescreen videos, but a 4:3 ratio gives you a larger physical screen so can make it easier to read text. A lot will depend on your personal preference, of course, but at least the IPS screen's wide viewing angles mean the screen is easy to see however you hold the tablet.
Unfortunately, though, the 80 Titanium's screen has some budget qualities. Colours were bright and relatively accurate, but they lacked warmth. The screen's contrast levels were also quite disappointing, as several darker areas of our high contrast images were simply black instead of showing shadow detail. The biggest disappointment, though, was the visible grain from the screen's coating. We ran into this problem on Acer's Iconia A1 as well, but here it was particularly obvious.
The 80 Titanium's rear 2-megapixel camera also showed all the hallmarks of a budget device, as images were muddy and blurred throughout. Buildings looked depressingly grey even in bright summer sunshine and skies became overexposed when the camera tried to focus on darker objects in the street. Our indoor shots were slightly better, but colours still looked inaccurate and washed out and the camera didn't cope well in lower lighting conditions. The camera's video quality was also poor. Moving objects shuffled across the screen instead of appearing smooth and lag-free, and there was little detail present even when our test room was brightly lit with artificial light.
Graphics are provided by a Mali-400MP chip, and we were pleased to see the tablet was able to run both our 3DMark graphics tests. We saw 2814 (21.2fps) in Ice Storm, which is a little behind other 8in tablets, but its score of 2206 (11.2fps) in IceStorm Extreme was far more impressive and outperformed the Iconia A1 by roughly 700 points. It's still a long way off from being a true gaming powerhouse, but you should be able to run 3D games on the 80 Titanium without too much trouble.
You'll have to keep an eye on the 80 Titanium's battery life, though, as it only lasted 6 hours and 11 minutes in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to half brightness. This is fairly average for a budget tablet, but playing games with the screen at maximum brightness will drain it far faster.
The 80 Titanium runs a fairly stock version of Android 4.1.1 instead of the latest Android 4.2, so you'll miss out on useful features such as multiple user account support. There is some mild customisation; much as on the Versus TouchTab 10.1, the settings and notification bar are located toward the bottom of the screen alongside the onscreen home, back and menu buttons instead of at the top of the display. The app tray is also in the top right corner, but we were pleased to see there were only a few extra pre-loaded apps. You get Archos' own music and video players and Archos Remote, which lets you use your phone as a remote control for your tablet once you've installed the Archos Remote Control app.
The Archos 80 Titanium is a good budget tablet with strong build quality, but when the more powerful Acer Iconia A1 is just £40 more, comes with the very latest Android 4.2 OS and has much better battery life, the 80 Titanium remains merely average rather than edging into Budget Buy territory.
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