Archos 101 XS review
A keen price and plenty of power, but the poor integrated keyboard and plasticky build taint the experience
Review Date: 5 Sep 2012
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £250 (£300 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
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.
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