In the 10 months since we first heard that Archos would be leveraging the 1.5 GHz TI OMAP 4460 in their tablet line, our excitement has waned. We’ve seen tablets sporting Samsung’s Exynos, NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 and even played with some Krait tablets, all of which can seriously outperform TI’s current gen champ. But this performance sure is nice. To review, TI’s OMAP 4460 includes two ARM Cortex-A9 cores, and Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX540 all on a 45 nm process. The lesser kin to our subject is the TI OMAP 4430, though to look at their spec sheets they should only differ in clock speeds, with the 4430 topping out at 1.2 GHz on the CPU and 304 MHz on the GPU and the 4460 topping out at 1.5 GHz and 384 MHz, respectively. 

So, if the two OMAP 4 variants ultimately differ by their 25% clock difference, we should see a similar delta in performance. As always, we start with our JavaScript benchmarks to gauge CPU performance. First, SunSpider and its js time trials. 

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark 0.9.1

Our hands-on time with the Motorola Xyboard gave us a hint at what to expect. At 1.2 GHz OMAP 4 provides excellent JavaScript performance. At 1.5 GHz, we have a new king of the hill for this particular benchmark. It's hard to say whether there's some optimization trickery at work here, but browsing performance on these tablets was generally excellent. 

Rightware BrowserMark

Rightware's Browsermark is another js test that paints the same picture. In both of these tests the delta between the Xyboard and the G9 was about 25% so the leads correlate with the clockspeed advantage. The result is, at least in JavaScript performance, we have the world's fastest tablets. 

So how does that old stand-by the SGX 540 fare now that it's been cranked to 384 MHz? We start with GLBenchmark and their off-screen tests, Egypt and Pro. Any test at device resolution would unfairly favor the smaller 80 G9 because of its lower resolution.

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen 720p

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen 720p

Not quite what we expected. Here the G9's fall behind the lower clocked Xyboard by roughly 10%, and certainly don't demonstrate the performance advantage they showed in the JavaScript tests.

BaseMark ES2.0 - Taiji (1024 x 768)

BaseMark ES2.0 - Hover (1024 x 768)

BaseMark's results show much of the same. We didn't record data for the Xyboard, but we did have it for the Galaxy Nexus and its equivalently clocked OMAP 4460. The Nexus bests all but the iPad 2, but the G9's continue to falter by about 10%. 

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Triangle Test (White)

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Triangle Test (Textured, Fragment Lit)

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Fill Test

Even the more purely synthetic tests fail to show the performance advantage that the G9's should have. It's possible that other component selection, particularly memory, could seriously hinder the performance of the GPU in a way that the CPU tests don't suffer from. We weren't able to independently confirm the GPU clock, but were assured by Archos that it is, as advertised, set to 384 MHz. That aside, the G9's GPU performance isn't exactly disappointing. You won't hit the high frame rates you might see from the more powerful Tegra 3 or Apple's A5, but playthroughs of ShadowRun and Dead Space were smooth and glitch free. 
 
So, in the end, performance is a mixed bag. The 1.5 GHz Cortex-A9 cores deliver stellar compute performance, which translates to impressive JavaScript performance. The GPU side of things is less clear, with the tablets being outpaced by lesser clocked peers, but performance still being adequate at these resolutions. So, world's fastest? Maybe. 
 
The Display and Software Battery Life and Conclusion
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  • jjj - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Wish you had the HDD versions too,to see how the perf and battery life are impacted.
    As for the tablet ,too bad the screen is TN.
    Why no wifi tests? And ofc, as always, wish you had better battery life tests and some storage perf testing.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I'm curious how the HDD would perform with an OS like Android. It seems tablet OSs are well optimized for NAND and predictable read/write speeds unlike what you get with hard drives. Reply
  • Souka - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    *sigh*

    fast cpu = good
    poor display and battery life = bad

    too many other options out there for a tablet that misses out on 2 of 3 important factors in a tablet design.

    My $.02
    Reply
  • dkfx77 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Well, in fact the OS doesnt use the HDD. They got a 4GB flash mem for the system. Then the HDD is only used for your files, not for Android.
    So I guess, as far as u dont play a video or listen to mp3 files, it wont affect the battery that much...
    Reply
  • dkfx77 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    It also saves the HDD life expectancy cause you know, not read every 10sec... Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    I worry about our WiFi tests, for a few reasons. First, the objectiveness of our reception tests are marred by the fact that our data is different for each of our testers. We test in our homes, and since we don't all live together in a massive AnandVille campus in North Carolina, that means that each of us would want to test WiFi reception we would each have our own test routine and our own test data. Seeing as how I would be comparing it to just the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, my data wouldn't be all that interesting. I did take the tablets on a walk along side that Galaxy Tab, to see when they'd drop out, and they all dropped out at the same time. Those outdoor shots are actually on my deck, as far from my router as you can get and still be on the property, and all devices acted the same.

    As far as our WiFi throughput tests, that's another of our tests that we're hit or miss on reporting. With an all plastic chassis there should be no issues like the Transformer Prime experienced. And in practice I had no issues using the device on WiFi, though I didn't do any large file downloads. Will remember your note next time, though.

    All that said, what's wrong with our battery life tests?!? They're consistent and getting better! We're working to tweak them so there's less opportunities for browsers to cache the files and bolster their Web Browsing scores. And as for the playback tests, I love watching Quantum of Solace over and over again. Don't you? :)
    Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Trade for Casino Royale. ;) Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    The screen is MVA, Archos used to use TN and I would have rejected them then basically because of that detail. There might exist some good TN-panels but on a tablet I want something with good viewing angles and the Archos screen (don't have one) should do that. More worryingly a TN panel would have washed out in sunlight and not be viewable in strong sunlight outside though. That said I still liked following them because of their long heritage in the PMP/Tablet field. Acer was also someone I did not count when they used TN screens.

    Other tablets that use MVA screens is for example the Motorola Xoom. PVA is used on some of Acer's later models too. You should really do it justice by evaluating the actual use of the display, describing it and give a small representation of how it is to look at subjectively, that it has a weak backlight (or backlight setting) doesn't really say if it is worse then a HTC Flyer screen which is a TN-screen with low (-er) viewing angles and prone to wash out so it would be trouble to use outside in the sun. At least you mentioned it would be pressed and hardly readable or barely in sunlight in the HTC Flyer review.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Also you can get the Archos G9's (both 101 and 80) with 16GB internal storage at least in Europe. Cheaper to get a MicroSD card though. Don't know if they increase the internal app storage with the larger model.

    Also I guess it's good enough that you review the screens and gave a more in depth representation at the display page/section. Calling it TN might have stretch it and gave the wrong impression though. Good to point out that the quality and uniformity seems to be worse on the 80 though. Others have described the screen on the 80 G9 as good or good enough definitively not the worse there is or worse in class and at least have not been bothered (much) by shifting colors with normal viewing angles (say up to 45). The 101 might still be noticeable better though. Nobody expects Archos to have the best screens but adequate is enough.

    As long as their customers is happy with it. Might not have much to put up against newer ICS tablets as far as the 101 is concerned though, but at least it's not running Tegra 2. Then again it's only a speed bump on an older model. It is not price competitive any more.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Sony Mobile is still based in Lund (Sweden, they moved their London head office back to where most of their engineers are) with a few thousand employees there. Their new Japanese CEO will be based in Lund and Tokyo. Good to see it being taken over by the Japanese that might give them better management culture though. The Tablets was a venture from Sony in Japan though, don't not if they will fold it into Sony Mobile. They were really late to get some good or at least decent Android devices out but lately recovered some and has a good mind share in Sweden. Don't know how the other guys in Lund fairs presumably ST-Ericsson (former EMP guys) took a huge hit when Nokia decided they wouldn't release any (more) Symbian or MeeGo products on their chips despite being signed on as an supplier, they even had a MeeGo BSP more or less ready. At least they seem to have entered the Android game now with some customers in China (with their built in TD-SCDMA baseband) plus now on new Sony Mobile phones. It's basically up the Japanese to not force all the mobile professionals (not working on base stations) to go to the Chinese companies which already has a presence here. Some plurality is good and some continuance is good rather then closing shop and reorganizing in other companies which means some stuff would just fall out of history. Reply

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