Archos 80 Xenon review
8 in 1,024x768 display, 440g, 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.00GB RAM, 4GB disk, Android 4.1
Android tablets with built-in mobile broadband aren’t all that common, and those that do have it can be expensive to buy. The Archos 80 Xenon could fill that void. At £140 it’s less than half the price of the £300 3G-enabled version of the popular Google Nexus 7, yet it still comes with built-in mobile internet.
The 80 Xenon is covered in white plastic, with some silver detailing around the screen bezel. It’s hardly ugly but nowhere is near as attractive as Google’s all-black Nexus. The bezel itself is chunky on all four sides, but at least this provides space for your fingers and thumbs.
At 11.3mm it’s hardly the slimmest Android tablet, and with only a 3.5mm audio jack and micro USB port there’s limited connectivity. The two ports are placed on the left edge, below the power and volume keys and above the full-size SIM card slot, which is hidden beneath a plastic flap. We aren’t fans of this kind of cover because once it’s broken there’s no way to replace it.
Archos has made a few concessions to include 3G at such a low price, the main one being a reduced amount of internal storage. With 4GB of flash memory, of which less than two is accessible to the user, you’ll almost certainly need to use a microSD memory card once you start installing apps and games. Thankfully you can set the external card to be the default location for any downloaded apps, so you won’t have to move everything manually, and you can install microSD cards up to 64GB in size.
The 80 Xenon’s 8in, 1,024x768 panel might not match more expensive tablets in terms of image clarity (you can make out the pixel structure long before your nose is pressed to the glass), but it’s bright and reasonably colourful. Many budget tablets have a grainy appearance, but that isn’t the case here. It’s just a shame white images have such a vivid blue hue, as it’s a little distracting.
The 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme graphics benchmark wouldn’t work, so you may struggle to run more intensive 3D games. However, the 80 Xenon did score a reasonably respectable 3012 in the basic test, which is on par with other budget tablets, such as the Asus Memopad 7 and basic games such as Angry Birds ran smoothly. Annoyingly, the 80 Xenon didn’t play high-definition YouTube videos smoothly, which meant we had to reduce quality to standard definition to watch videos without stutter.