- Brand: Archos
- Model: 50 Platinum
- RRP: £200 (At time of review)
With many companies launching their own brand of tablets and smartphones based on the Android operating system, the competition to get the best performing product at the lowest possible price can be fierce. There are plenty of cheap alternatives coming from China which means it can be hard to really gain a name in the Android world, especially as there are simply so many options for consumers to choose from.
Archos, a name more familiar in the UK market for its range of low cost, high value tablets and media players have now unleashed their own range of smartphones into the market which is aimed to compete with many mid-range smartphones currently on UK shelves. The Archos 50 Platinum is their top of the line phone, which comes equipped with a quad core ARM processor and a 5” IPS screen, all at a very reasonable price of around £200. Does this phone represent true value for money, or does it fall flat on its face against the competition? There is only one way to find out so on with the testing, but first let’s look at the technical specifications of the phone.
Archos, precursor in the portable audio and video player market, and now specialized in Android powered touch tablets, has repeatedly revolutionized the market for consumer electronics since 1988. Today, ARCHOS offers Internet Tablets, Tablet PCs and MP3/MP4 players.
|Dual Sim||• SIM 1 2G (GSM/GPRS/ EDGE 900/1800/1900 MHz)
• SIM 2 2G/3G (WCDMA 900/2100)
|Data rate||• HSDPA 7,2 Mbit/s – HSUPA 5,76 Mbit/s|
|Operating System||• Android 4.1.2 ”Jelly Bean”|
|CPU||• Qualcomm 8225Q Quad Core cortex-A5 @1,2 GHz|
|RAM||• 1 GB|
|ROM||• 4 GB|
|Expendable memory||• Micro SD card up to 64 GB|
|Weight||• 160,2 g|
|Size||• 143.4 x 72.4 x 8.9mm|
|Battery size||• 2000 mAh|
|Standby Time||• 161h|
|Talk Time||• 2G : 12,3h 3G : 9,8h|
|Proximity sensor||• Yes|
|Ambient light sensor||• Yes|
|GPS||• Yes with A-GPS|
|SAR||• MAX SA: Head 0.333W/Kg, Body 0.509W/Kg|
|Type||• IPS, Multitouch 5x, Capacitive|
|Size||• 5,0 ” (12,7 cm)|
|Colors||• 16 Millions|
|Resolution||• 960 x 540 pixel (qHD) 220 DPI|
|Wide viewing angles||• Yes|
|Glass Type||• Full Black laminated process|
|Sim Type||• Mini Sim|
|Wifi||• Yes with DNLA and UpnP + wifi hotspot|
|Bluetooth||• Yes V3.0 + EDR + A2DP|
|FM||• FM stereo|
|Audio jack||• Yes 3,5 mm|
|USB||• Micro USB 2.0 slot (synch & charge)|
|Back camera||• 8.0 MP with LED flash + Autofocus (BSI sensor)|
|Front camera||• 2.0 MP|
|Digital Zoom||• 8x|
|Picture modes||• Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection image stabilization, HDR|
|Video record||• Yes 720p|
|Video Playback||• H.264 up to 720p resolution – 30 fps/ AVI/MP4/3GP|
|Audio Playback||• MP3 , WAV (PCM/ADPCM), AAC, AAC+ 5.13, OGG Vorbis|
|Photo Viewer||• JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG|
|Alert type||• Vibration, MP3, WAV ringtones|
|SMS / MMS / EMAIL||• Yes|
|Email protocol||• SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, Push Mail|
|PACKAGE INCLUDES||• ARCHOS 50 Platinum, USB charger, USB cable, Battery, Hands-free kit, Quick Start Guide, Warranty Booklet|
The front of the box displays a large image of the phone itself in all its glory whilst also giving a rough guide on the specs included in the phone. The picture also allows consumers to see that the phone is running a stock Android ROM which will please many users.
On the rear we get a view of both the front and back of the phone which shows off the phones sleek design. We are made aware that the phone is running Andorid and also has Bluetooth connectivity and has Micro SD expansion slot due to the logos found at the bottom of the box.
Here we find a full technical specifications list found on the phone. Some specs that are sure to draw more attention to the phone include the 1.2GHz Quad core processor and 5″ IPS multitouch screen which are for sure the phones strongest selling points.
Inside the box we are greeted with a very basic list of accessories. We are given a charger with a detachable USB cable, a set of headphones with a built in microphone, a warranty booklet and of course the user manual.
The phone itself styles a very basic but sleek look which is sure to attract a wide range of consumers. There are no physical buttons located on the front side of the phone and we instead get three touch buttons which are the home, back and menu buttons. The Archos 50 Platinum also includes a front facing 2MP camera for those who wish to take “selfies” or use their phone for video calling.
On the rear of the camera, we find the phones in built 8MP with auto focus and an LED flash light. The phone also houses it’s micro USB slot which is used for charging the phone and also connecting the phone to your PC or Mac, we also find the 3.5mm audio jack located at the top of the phone, which is in a prime position for those who wish to listen to audio on the go. Finally we have the Archos logo at printed on the rear side of the phone in big bold white writing, which is sure to attract the attention of anybody looking at the phone.
The built in speaker is also located at the rear of the phone which is not ideal for those who wish to place their phone down whilst listening to music or playing a video as it causes the sound to become more muffled and it therefore loses its quality. This is a very small problem and won’t be an issue for those using the phone in their hands, permitting the user doesn’t put their fingers over the speaker.
The phone is equipped with a 5” 960×540 IPS screen which does mean that the phone is quite a large size which may pose as a problem for some users as it will definitely fill up your pocket and its large size may put off some consumers. However, the touch screen itself is very responsive and despite the low pixel count at just 220PPI, the screen is very clear and has an excellent contrast ratio for what is at the end of the day a mobile phone screen. The screen offered on the Samsung Galaxy S4 offers exactly double the pixel count, however this does not make it twice as good as I found the screen on the Archos Platinum which may have something to do with the fact that the Samsung screen incorporates AMOLED technology whereas the screen on the Archos uses an IPS screen. It would therefore be very interesting to see what sort of screen quality we would find on a Full HD 5” IPS screen and maybe manufacturers should consider placing them into their high-end models.
General day-to-day usability was decent for a midrange phone but I did find it lagging a little when multi-tasking. It would occasionally react quite sluggishly when moving in and out of apps or internet browser windows. This may have something to do with the Cortex A5 chip that is used in the mobile, but I’m sure this will become more apparent when I run my benchmarks. Whilst testing the speakers, I did find that the phones built in speakers where not of the highest quality and it did produce quite a tinny sound which meant I would be forced to plug in my headphones when I wanted to listen to my music. On the subject of headphones, I did find what I believe might be a slight design floor with the phone, as I found my headphones did not fit into the 3.5” jack slot very well and would quite easily fall out. I found this to be quite irritating as it would interrupt what I was doing since I would be forced to hold the headphone jack in a certain way in order to complete my task. I’m not entirely sure whether this has something to do with the odd shape of the headphone jack or simply the slot itself. However, this is a problem that can be easily rectified by Archos and is not a major concern.
The in-built camera on the Platinum 50 provided an average camera quality image for a mobile phone. The 8 Mega-Pixel back camera is about an average pixel count for a smartphone today but it could not live up to the same sort of colour depth and contrast ratio that would be found on a dedicated camera.
A few niggley issues that I had with the phone included the lack of restart option on the phone. This is not a major problem, however it would come in handy if an app had crashed and I wished to shut down and boot up the phone again quickly in order to get it back up and running. I did find myself missing it a bit during my testing as I like to restart the phone after running every benchmark to make sure that no background apps are interfering with the results. Another thing was the need to download the Archos codec pack in order to play certain media files. This was a little annoying however there is a free third party app available on the play store which worked for me.
For £200 the phone is good on the whole but does have a few performance issues. The Cortex A5 CPU is very clearly not the fastest chip on the market as the S4 can beat it with one core compared to the quad core performance on the Archos Platinum 50. Memory bandwidth is also a bit of an issue with the phone and could explain why the phone is slow during certain tasks and fine with others. For example, it can be a bit sluggish at leaving apps and starting others back up. Whether this is down to the phones memory controller or the LP-DDR2 memory that is used in the phone I’m not sure, but I’d hazard a guess it a mixture of the two.
The use of a stock Android OS will please some and will be pretty simple for new users to pick up. More importantly, the Android version in question is 4.1 which may not be the newest version available, but is still a very recent version which will give it more compatibility with the latest apps on the Google play store. The inclusion of a few Archos media player apps are useful once you have the required codecs and work very well in getting most media file types working.
Finally, you do not get the feel of a quality phone when using it due to the cheap plastic back casing on the phone. This isn’t really a surprise to me though as you would only ever expect to see a full metal casing on the high-end line of phones.
To conclude, the phone does what it’s set out to do which is to offer a very good phone for its price. Performance can be very hit and miss, but for the average user it should work well with no troubles whatsoever. For the £200 that it costs, I would have to give it our value award as there aren’t many phones which could trump it at that sort of price point.
Many thanks to Archos for providing us with today’s review sample.
The phone is a mixed bag on the whole. On one hand it has a few fantastic features including it’s dual SIM compatibility, excellent 5″ IPS screen and a decent front and rear camera. On the other hand it’s lacking a little bit in performance due to the older architecture and relatively low clock speed of the CPU.