Archos 101 XS review

5 Sep 2012

A keen price and plenty of power, but the poor integrated keyboard and plasticky build taint the experience

Price when reviewed: 
300inc VAT
Buy it now for 
4

The tablet market is full of insipid also-rans, so it’s refreshing to see Archos trying something different with the 101 XS. It's a 10.1in laptop/tablet hybrid, but instead of a locking and hinging dock, like the one on the Asus Transformer Pad 300, the 101 XS's 5mm-thick “coverboard” is held to the front of the tablet with magnets.

To open it and start typing, you twist the two parts apart, fold out a stand in the keyboard base and drop the tablet in a shallow slot, where a couple of smaller magnets – and an electronic connection – hook the two halves together.

Archos 101 XS

It’s a neat idea, but there are limitations. There are no rubber feet on the base, which means the tablet has an irritating tendency to slide around your desk while you're working, and scuffs appear on its aluminium base plate in no time at all.

The keyboard itself isn’t the finest we’ve used either: the keys are too small, have hardly any travel and, unless you prod them with reasonable force, they occasionally fail to register a key press. Compared to the £385 Asus Transformer Pad 300, which has a thicker, sturdier base and larger, more responsive keys, typing on this tablet is slow and ponderous.

Fortunately, although it’s still a touch plasticky, the tablet feels more sturdy and there’s one benefit to having such a thin, flimsy coverboard: weight. With the keyboard clipped to the tablet, the whole shebang weighs a mere 800g, and measures 13mm thick – significantly lighter and slimmer than the 1.1kg, 19mm thick Asus.

Detail

Price ex VAT £250
Price inc VAT £300
Overall rating 4
Performance 5
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 5

Physical

Dimensions 273 x 8 x 170mm (WDH)
Weight 800g

Display

Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Display type TFT LCD
Panel technology MVA

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1.5GHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 1.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 1.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? no
Built-in flash type N/A
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Accessories supplied Detachable keyboard dock
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 4

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£195