Battery Life

No mobile device is anything without decent battery life. And with a focus on mobile media consumption you'd hope to get through a few movies before reaching for your cord? So how'd the G9s do?

Web Browsing Battery Life

First, our Web Browsing Battery Life test, which cycles through several web pages consecutively, with the screen set to 200 nits of brightness. Things don't look so good. The 101 fares worse than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 on LTE, while the 80 fares a tick better than that, but a half hour worse than the Motorola Xyboard using its LTE radio. Maybe it'll do better with the WiFi turned off?

Video Playback - H.264 720p Base Profile (No B-Frames)

Sadly, longevity is just not their strong suit. The thickness of the tablet should be able to conceal a beefy battery, but that's not quite up to snuff with the current crop of tablets. How much this is a dealbreaker depends on the usage model. If you consider that there's still time on each of these to watch at least two-thirds of the Lord of The Ring Trilogy before recharging, that's plenty enough for traveling. However, that pretty much precludes using the tablets for much of anything else. It should also be noted, the addition of that 250GB HDD option would sap even more battery life away. 


It’s hard to stratify tablet manufacturers into market categories; they don’t distribute themselves neatly into bargain, mainstream and high-end. Certainly some have cemented their place; you won’t find us arguing that Coby’s products are high-end. And some are trying to be all things to all players (Samsung and Asus come to mind). Even hardware platforms transcend pricing, with the same chipsets being used in bargain and high-end devices. 
This lack of clarity between the high-end and low-end is Archos’s opportunity and its hurdle. With no clear way to stratify based on cost, simply pick a price and offer features of a particular flavor. The 80 and 101 G9 Turbo line are no better or worse than other dual-core Android tablets at being just that, Android tablets. But where they rise above is in targeting the media hungry user that’s not interested in signing up for another movie rental service, and knows their way around an SD card adaptor. Measured against the early class of Tegra 2 tablets, Archos puts up a good fight and hits the right price. Where things start to get fuzzy is when you look at the top of the line 101 G9 Turbo equipped with a 250GB HDD. At $369, this spec is just $30 short of the Transformer Pad 300, whose screen, battery life and performance outpace the G9 in key areas. 

In the end, if you're someone with a huge collection of videos that has been looking for a tablet to compliment their viewing habits, the Archos G9 line is just good enough to be worth your while. But not good enough to be easy to recommend. The build quality and screen aren't as refined as we'd like, and the battery life is crippling for long trips. But with a brave pursuit of performance and an exceptional focus on media consumption, Archos clearly has what it takes to put together a compelling tablet. Early signs point to big things for Archos's next tablet generation. Which isn't too surprising for the company that was in this space before anyone else. 
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  • tayb - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Until I saw the picture on page 2. I just assumed they were comparing the iPad 1 with the Archos tablet. This might be the first time I've seen the Tab from the front. Damn. I get that there are only so many ways to make a tablet but wow those look similar.
  • aliasfox - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    And you wonder why Apple thought there might be a problem. Unless you're able to compare aspect ratios (hard to do unless they're side by side), a Tab is eerily similar to an iPad from the front.
  • Dex1701 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Wait, did they mention that they played Shadowrun on this thing? That's not coming out until next year, is it?
  • hans007 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    i have a g9 80 . the 1GB of ram is all the difference for android tablets.

    my g9 80 is a dual core 1.2 with 512mb ram and 8gb on board.

    and i have a galaxy nexus phone. the phone is smoother in a lot of areas because of not having the need to swap memory in and out.

    1GB of ram vs 512mb of ram, isnt just twice as much. its really 3 times as much for user apps since the OS already takes 200mb or so + the video memory.

    archos should have put 1GB on these from the start, at least they finally are now.
  • shomizu9 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    lol, I don't know why but the Domino's icon made me chuckle. Pizza-eating nerd! (me too)
  • JasonInofuentes - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I actually hate their pizza. But I love watching their app do its thing. Ashley has your order. Mike is preparing your dough. Tom is applying your toppings. Heart.
  • lymang - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    " what we’re hear to discuss today" should be "what we're here to discuss today."
  • g00ey - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    I could easily fit 128GB of audio content into such a device. Not all audio is mp3 and I prefer the lossless flac format so it's about time that one will be able to keep flacs in the media player. Please remind me that this is 2012 and not 2002!!!

    A fair quality HiDef movie takes on average 5GB of storage space. I don't consider keeping about 20 such movies in the device excessive. Sure a standard def movie would do well on a small 8" or 10" screen but who is to say that I don't intend to hook it up to a big screen?

    Android games are getting bigger and bigger. The popular title Modern Combat 3 requires about 1.5GB of storage space. The performance of the chips have surpassed the XBOX and PS2 and we will see a performance comparable to PS3/XBOX360 within the next few generations if we're not there already with the Tegra3. So at the very least we will see DVD sized games on portable devices quite soon and they are likely to grow beyond 15GB within the next 5 years or so.

    So putting it all together, I want to have a good collection of music because I like music. Say I want to travel for a while so a good set of decent movies when I'm bored would be nice. Top that with a bunch of nice games. How much space would I have left for photos and HiDef video clips that I have shot from time to time? And don't say "cloud", that is so over the hill by now and relying on some questionable mobile data connection just doesn't cut it!
  • TimeHunter - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    I had the previous version tablet (until a theft), the 7.0 Internet, with the 250GB HDD in it. I used it primarily for travelling and it lasted quite well, even on longer plane flights. It wouldn't make a transoceanic flight without a booster, but it handled all the transcontinental flights just fine for battery life. Archos did pretty well for patching the version of the OS it released on, but there was no apparent interest, and no communication, on getting it past Gingerbread.

    But, sometimes the latest OS isn't what is needed (gasp!). It actually ran quite well, and was a pleasure in the media department as I could carry my entire large music collection and a good handful of my movie files. The codec support was the best of any device out there, even to date.

    The HDD did make for some lag in the OS and app experience, but that was not unexpected, so it was not disappointing. Once they added support for the EXT3 storage format to support files larger than 4GB, it was really quite awesome.

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