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Archos 80 Helium 4G review

Richard Easton
20 Dec 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
200
inc VAT

The Archos 80 Helium 4G has a poor screen, disappointing performance and tiny built-in storage; its only saving grace is its 4G modem

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-Core 1.2 GHz Cortex A7, Screen size: 8in, Screen resolution: 1,024x768, Rear camera: 5 megapixels, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 4G, Size: 215x9.2x155mm, Weight: 430g, Operating system: Android 4.3

The Archos 80 Helium 4G is very cheap indeed for a 4G-enabled tablet, but its looks suit its low price. With its thick, white bezels it looks like a decade-old digital photo frame. It also weighs a chunky 430g, so holding the tablet one-handed soon becomes tiresome.

We also weren’t fond of the two-tone silver and cheap-feeling white plastic back. There’s only 8GB of internal storage and out of the box only 6GB is left, so you'll most likely need to expand capacity sooner rather than later; the tablet has a microSD card slot so you can add cards with up to 64GB capacity.

The tablet's Micro USB port also supports USB on-the-go (OTG) so you can also attach an external USB flash drive for more storage. You’ll need to pick up a USB OTG cable separately, however (around £4 from http://cpc.farnell.com). There are slots for a microSD card and a 4G SIM hidden behind a plastic flap on the rear.The tablet’s Micro USB port, headphone jack, power button and volume rocker are all located on the same side. When held in landscape the headphone jack and Micro USB port’s placement could prove annoying as they’re right where your left hand will naturally want to be when you hold the tablet.

The Helium’s 8in screen was underwhelming. Its paltry resolution of 1,024x768 gives it a low pixel density of just 160ppi, so text appears soft and images lack presence. Our colour calibrator found the tablet's colour accuracy wanting, with the display only able to produce 60.5% of the sRGB colour gamut. This is a very poor score, and we also weren't particularly impressed with the tablet's contrast ratio of 824:1.

The screen had a notable blue cast, and this was confirmed by our calibration software, which showed blues to be over-saturated. We’ve seen substantially cheaper tablets with much higher quality displays, so this was disappointing. We measured black levels as 0.36cd/m2, which is an average level, so at least blacks will be more black than grey. As there’s no ambient light sensor you’ll need to adjust brightness manually; we found the screen was usable outdoors at maximum brightness.

The tablet’s rear-facing speaker produce a very tinny sound which lacks any bass presence. It was also not very loud, so, as with most tablets, headphones are vital for watching video or listening to music.

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