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Archos 50 Oxygen smartphone review – hands on

Archos 50 Oxygen

We take a closer look at the Archos Oxygen, a 5in Full HD smartphone that doesn't pull any punches, but won't break the bank either

Archos is trying to ditch its reputation for cheap and cheerful tablets with a new smartphone range, led by the 5in full HD 50 Oxygen. It looks sleek and has the specs to back it up, hinting at a new direction for the brand. We got a hands-on look at the phone to see how it holds up to the competition.

Archos 50 Oxygen

The 50 Oxygen makes a great first impression with a bright, colourful display. It’s a 5in, 1,920×1,080 IPS panel behind the (very reflective) glass, which looks just as crisp and detailed as the current crop of Full HD smartphones including the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z.

Underneath, there’a a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM running the show. It’s an MTK system-on-chip (SoC) rather than a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, so we don’t know how it will fare when it comes to benchmarks, but it certainly felt responsive when swiping through home screens on the unskinned Android 4.2 interface.

Archos 50 Oxygen

There’s 16GB of internal memory, but unfortunately no MicroSD card slot for adding extra capacity later. The only ports are a Micro USB for charging and data sync, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Wireless connectivity fares slightly better with Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi, but we couldn’t spot any NFC or other high-end features like wireless charging. It’s a 3G-only phone too, with no LTE modem for superfast 4G.

The phone itself feels like a high-end device, thanks to a simple yet refined design and higher quality materials than we’re used to seeing from Archos. A slightly curved rear lets the phone sit comfortably in the hand and felt reassuringly grippy too.

Archos 50 Oxygen

There’s a 13-megapixel camera on the back, which is paired with an LED flash for improved low-light shooting. It will happily record 720p video and as the phone is running the default version of Android, it should be able to take Photosphere panoramas too. Fans of video conferencing will appreciate the five megapixel front camera, which is a step above token additions we’re used to seeing on many smartphones.

Archos 50 Oxygen

We were told to expect the 50 Oxygen to go on sale in the UK some time towards November, but don’t yet know pricing. It’s unlikely it will be available on contract but if Archos gets the price right, it could be a potential alternative to the Nexus 4 for anyone on a tight budget.

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