As an 8″ tablet highly-focused on mobility, the Archos plays its role fine enough. I’ve used it during the review period for revisiting A Song of Ice and Fire books before Game of Thrones returns to our screens as well as general YouTube and Soundcloud usage, Twitter and the like. The Xenon is a fine performer for all of these but doesn’t really do much to make you think it’s particularly innovative or stand out, for better or worse.
From a media perspective the screen could, or even should, probably be a bit better. The PPI is lower than the first Nexus 7 and as a result, text mainly can have a distinctive fuzzy look to is due to a lack of clarity. The 1024*768 resolution means you end up with letterboxing or odd stretching of video content. The colours and brightness, however, are really quite good and I don’t have any qualms here. Moving onto the built-in speakers and they’re certainly serviceable but again not really up to the standard of the benchmark Nexus 7 2012. There is good volume and a decent level of clarity but no muscle across the ranges. If you have the Xenon held sideways you can also get some free reverb from your hands, but the placement of the speakers on the back of the Xenon means they’re going to blocked if you use it on a hard surface whilst you do other things.
The camera on the Xenon is really quite bad. I’ve included a sample of the rear camera below.
It’s clear that the inclusion here is more of a tick box feature than anything. The lacking quality here is a real shame given the emphasis on Archos’ drive for the Xenon being your mobile go-to. On the evidence above, it certainly wouldn’t be what you’d turn to for a quick snap even if it’s already in your hands.
The gyro-scope and touch pad itself are very snappy, however. Screen rotation was snappy and the added bonus of vibration within the Xenon gives that extra satisfaction of tactile feedback when typing sorely missing from other entry level tablets.
In terms of networking, I managed to get 2MB/s downstream over Wifi and 1.2MB/s on 3G with EE. The 2MB/s isn’t hitting the peak of my own network setup but really the 2MB/s down on wifi is more than fast enough considering the size of apps from the Play Store. Again, it’s a similar story with 3G and really dependent on connection although regardless of your coverage it seems likely you would max out at 20MB/s down anyway which is more than enough to stream on the go from YouTube, Spotify and other services.