7-inch Archos tablet has Jelly Bean, dual analog sticks

Smartphones and tablets have quickly become preferred platforms for mobile gaming. There’s just one problem: touchscreen controls aren’t the best fit for arcade-style games that require precise input. The fact that one’s hands inevitably obscures part of the screen isn’t all that appealing, either. Archos’ GamePad tablet combats this issue with proper hardware controls, including dual analog sticks and plenty of buttons.

Between those controls sits a 7″ tablet based on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Archos doesn’t name the underlying SoC, but the processor sports dual ARM Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.6GHz. ARM’s Mali 400 MP GPU provides graphics grunt, and I expect it won’t have a problem maintaining smooth frame rates given the display’s relatively low 1024×600 resolution. The screen is apparently capable of displaying 16 million colors, which suggests an IPS panel, and it can track five-finger touch input.

The appropriately named GamePad is 0.6″ thick and weighs 0.7 lbs. It has 8GB of internal storage plus a microSD that can handle SDHC cards up to 32GB. A front-facing camera, Mini HDMI out, and USB port are included, as well.

Although the GamePad appears to be using a relatively unaltered version of Android, Archos loads its own Media Center software onto the device. There’s also a mapping tool that allows touchscreen controls to be ported to the device’s buttons and analog sticks. That’s a particularly important feature given how few Android games have built-in controller support.

The GamePad is now available in Europe for €150, and it’s expected to hit North American shores early next year. A straight exchange rate conversion puts the device’s US price tag below $200.

Comments closed
    • link626
    • 7 years ago

    someone should develop a gamepad that you can plug your tablet into, rather than having chunky controls permanently attached.
    when I’m not playing a game, i can detach the controller and carry around just the tablet

    • Malphas
    • 7 years ago

    I think Google should set a standard for optional physical controls for Android devices, like they used to have the standard capacitive navigation buttons prior to them being shifted on-screen with ICS.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Razer had this idea first, but their prototype looked big, heavy, expensive, and from what I remember, the hardware grossly outclassed both the battery capacity and the games market for a tablet.

    This, on the other hand, is already on my Christmas list.

    • vargis14
    • 7 years ago

    I would grab one of these over a vita anyday!
    For $200 it looks like like the perfect android toy to play with.
    You can probably overclock it also:)

    The resolution is just good enough since it is only a 7″ screen that should let that mali gpu give you fantastic gameplay since it does not have to push way too many unneeded pixels. I just hope it the viewing angles are just good enough you don’t have to stare at it perfectly strait on to enjoy it.

      • albundy
      • 7 years ago

      vita costs the same. gamers would probably go with vita as android lacks good games. gonna be hard to switch from mortal combat, xmen vs capcom, castlevania, etc. what will be even harder is to get these publishers to add android to their list of consoles.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 7 years ago

        The ouya console will probably give the android gaming market a small but meaningful shot in the arm (expect a couple dozen steam indie titles to make it to android).

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      I wouldn’t but if I was a hardcore portable gamer who wanted a specialty gaming device I would consider a second generation one if: 1) the screen resolution is higher. Even 1280×800 would be an improvement enough, I’d still want to use the device for regular tablet stuff too and higher PPI makes reading easier 2) panel is not TN. 3) (not as important, but would be ideal) it’s not a ‘skinned’ Android where you have to depend upon the device maker to roll out updates.

    • indeego
    • 7 years ago

    All sorts of innuendo in the post title. Just thought you might want to know.

      • PenGun
      • 7 years ago

      Hey I’ve been deleted for Sofa King. Testing …

    • maxxcool
    • 7 years ago

    /me wonders if most android games (like the mmo’s) will even use the stick ? on the other hand it would make mame gaming a little easier…

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve got money on the battery life being horrible, they don’t say in the “tech specs” what the rating of it is.

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 7 years ago

    The price puts the $500 Wikipad to shame. Question will be which will have wider and easier compatibility and whether the Wikipad’s better screen and Tegra 3 chipset will make it worth it compared to this *if* you are that desperate for a tablet integrated with a gamepad.

    Also of note is that the Wikipad’s controller is detachable while the Archos is one combined unit.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      The Wikipad is a 10″ tablet so I’d say they really just reflect the broader tablet market.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Archos has a new motto

    “Perfecting the art of having great ideas but crappy technical details”

    Well, all that’s new about it is the motto itself, it’s pretty much been their modus operandi forever.

    • mcnabney
    • 7 years ago

    2010 called and wants their 1024×600 back.

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      With that screen size, it’s more than good enough for me.

        • Farting Bob
        • 7 years ago

        Agreed, on a 7″ tablet thats fine. It may not be perfect, but its not going to ruin the user experience. Now, barely bigger resolutions on 13″ laptops is something to moan about.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          Yeah. 160dpi is plenty. The 110 or so on 13″ laptops with 1366×768 is awful.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            the larger problem is that webpages are designed wider than that. 1366×768 can fit a whole page, 1024×768 can’t. zooming out all the time is a pain.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      You’re getting phone calls from 2010, and you’re wasting this amazing contribution to theoretical physics [i<]here?[/i<]

        • mcnabney
        • 7 years ago

        It wasn’t like it was 2000 calling and I could stop 9/11. I figured warning them about Win8 would be a waste of time.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          You’d be a bad time traveler on a mission…sort of like this guy: [url<]http://xkcd.com/1063/[/url<]

    • brucethemoose
    • 7 years ago

    Load some emulators onto it, and this is mobile gaming gold.

      • kvndoom
      • 7 years ago

      Hells yeah… under $300 and it’s on my short list.

    • brute
    • 7 years ago

    so, what, a gameboy with phone software? who carez

    • chµck
    • 7 years ago

    isn’t sony gonna jump on this?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      You mean because it looks like a PS Vita? With it running Android and having a much bigger screen (and overall size) I would assume nobody would mistake this for a Vita.

    • codedivine
    • 7 years ago

    The SoC is a Rockchip Rk3066 afaik and the GPU is the quad-core variant (i.e Mali 400MP4) clocked at 250MHz. The system looks great but some previews say the panel is a TN panel and the battery life is on the shorter side, but otherwise quite an interesting system for the price.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, the product page does confirm the quad-core Mali 400 variant, and the low price would seem to agree with a Rockchips SoC.

      That is loads of GPU for a 1024×600 display.

    • Meadows
    • 7 years ago

    This is an interesting thing at the right price.

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