back to article Archos 101 8GB Android tablet

The Archos 101 – that's 'ten-one' – sits at the top of company's range of Android devices that also includes the 43 personal media player, reviewed here. So now, Archos can offer you an Android device with a screen anywhere between 2.8 and 10.1 inches – from a pocket media player to a fully-fledged iPad-esque tablet. Archos …


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  1. Tony Paulazzo

    Nice review

    This was the machine I wanted to get until impatience drove me into the arms of Apple and the iPad, and now I'm just hoping the Notion Ink Adam actually makes it to market (the ipad will do til then), because I do miss the occasional flash vid, but also, I'm using it to read far more books than I thought I would, and whilst the lcd screen is in no way burning my eyes out (I tend to read in bed at night), the pixel qi screen sounds nice (and battery savery).

    It'd be great if you get your hands on a Notion and put it thru' its paces.

    1. M man


      the ad suggested it would fold in three!


      where are the folding pads!!

      they cant be that technically dificuilt.

      a 7" pad with a 12" screen... its all win.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Archos has given with one hand and taken with the other

    "...because there is no rear facing camera."

    To be fair here... Who would want to ever use a thing this big as a camera? don't we all have phones that do the camera thing already..

    Im guessing you could say that its not a phone either.. but same as above...

    1. DrXym

      The CDD needs it

      Archos runs afoul of Google's compatible device document (CDD). In 2.2, there are a lot of things a device MUST implement to be compliant with the CDD - GPS, compass, 3.2mp camera etc. By not including these things, the 101 fails the CDD and therefore doesn't ship with the Marketplace app. That's why it has appslib instead.

      Who can blame Archos for jetissoning these features anyway? This thing is meant to be a media player not a giant phone but the price they pay is no official support by marketplace and that must impact on sales.

      Android 2.3 apparently loosens the CDD up a bit, so perhaps if a firmware update appeared that used 2.3, the device would actually be compatible. I hope that the CDD for Android 3.0 is also more realistic of what tablets should and should not implement. A tablet primarily used for PMP or ereading should not have to be burdened with a bunch of crap which adds to the price of the hardware. I don't suppose the 101 will ever be an Android 3.0 compliant device, but perhaps its successor will be.

      The real thing I see from the Archos 101 is the obvious fact that tablets do not have to be anywhere as expensive as the iPad to be functional. There were so many tablets announced at CES 2011 that there are going to be some very affordable and attractive devices coming this year. I hope Apple is going to discount the iPad (when iPad 2 turns up) otherwise it will get steamrollered otherwise by cheaper competitors.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Ah, ok yes...

        I can see that certain apps require the camera for things like barcode scanning.. obviously not usign it as a camera.. but it would be required for other uses.. I would like to see this tablet with all the features to be cdd'd with gps compass etc it'd be superb.

  3. karolbe

    PDF reader.

    I have an iPad now which basically is used only for browsing web and reading technical PDF books. Does anyone know how Archos 101 will fit as a PDF ebook reader with it's 16:9 screen? I would like to sell iPad (can't stand that crappy iTunes software!) but I am afraid that iPad's screen (4:3) is better for ebook reader.

    1. johnnymotel


      on elreg, I read so many times "" but no-one ever says what is crappy about the software. Have to say I am a user myself so please enlighten me!

      1. DrXym

        iTunes is bloated

        iTunes started off as a neat little music ripper and has slowly, inexorably grown into 78Mb bloater. Quicktime, app store, music, videos, podcasts, firmware updates, sync, all done through a single hulking app. On Windows it also runs like a slug with an awful OS X inspired UI which is struggles to scrolling large lists. It reminds me so much of the AOL client - a monolithic slab of proprietariy crap that you have no choice but to use because its the only conduit to the service.

        The funny part is seeing people stroking their svelte microscopic little devices which they must attach to a computer running this bloater to do anything. Apple might be masters of design but they have a blind spot when it comes to the software their hardware uses to sync.

        Compare and contrast with other media devices which either use MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) or simply appear as a drive to the host computer. Either frees you to use various file management software (usually one will come with the device) or just drag and drop stuff through your desktop.

      2. ChrisC Silver badge
        Jobs Horns

        iTunes is one of those Marmite apps... either love it or hate it. As one of those people who fall into the latter category, I think the problems iTunes has are threefold

        Firstly, and for absolutely no reason that anyone has yet managed to figure out, on some PCs iTunes runs like a dog. Who isn't feeling too well. Attempting to drag a sled loaded down with several tons of lead. Up a steep slope. Into a headwind. Meanwhile, on other, apparently identical-spec PCs (and even on PCs who's spec is so utterly crap it's a miracle they can even boot up Windows let alone any apps as well) it runs like a dog. Who wins every race it's entered into. By a country mile. Even into a headwind...

        Secondly, iTunes is one of the least Windows-like app the average Windows user is ever likely to encounter. Apple have made the square root of zero effort to Windowsify the way iTunes looks, feels, behaves and, perhaps most importantly, expects the user to behave. When discussing the pros and cons of iTunes elsewhere, a common trend seems to be that Mac users generally like it partly because it doesn't seem to suffer the same random performance issues noted above for the Windows version, but mostly because it looks and feels like the other apps they're used to. On the other hand, Windows users generally don't like it, partly because of the aforementioned performance issues, but equally because it can be a right pain in the arse to use unless you're willing to forget pretty much everything you've learned about how apps work.

        Thirdly, with every release, the minimum amount of crud required for a successful iTunes installation continues to grow, and grow, and grow. And then expand just a little bit more after you think it's finished and couldn't possibly get any larger. If all I want to do is dump MP3s onto my iPod and update its firmware once in a while, why in blue blazes do I need to have all this extra crap installed either as a requirement or as a "even though you don't really need to install this, we'll just tick the box by default so you end up installing it anyway unless you remember to untick it" annoyance? Bonjour? Sod off.

      3. karolbe


        Why it is crappy? here are some arguments:

        * it does not support Linux

        * it forces you to use some closed protocol for syncing the device, therefore all other apps are hacks or are using iTunes internally (with just different GUI).

        * you can't sync a device with more than one PC

        * it crashes more than an USB Storage disk

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If you mostly want to read PDFs

          I highly recomend a kindle. If web browsing is something you have to have then its not that good, but for reading it beats any LCD hands down. For the price though I would recomend a kindle and a cheep net book.

      4. JEDIDIAH

        Simple and basic things are ignored.

        > on elreg, I read so many times ""

        > but no-one ever says what is crappy about the software.

        Poor options for controlling what gets onto your device. Some basic use cases are just plain ignored. They don't fit into the current interface very well. Plus that interface is something out of the depths of time and looks more like it should be rendered in ANSI or with curses.

        Being able to visually manipulate what's on the device is a much more sophisticated and modern approach.

        The store part is just a mundane webfront with a proprietary wrapper and poor copies of other people's ideas.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE:PDF Reader

      It's fine as a PDF reader, probably better than IPad for A4 format there is just a tiny bit of cliping at the margins when in portrait mode. I use mine for reading PDF's though if you were just using it as a book reader I suspect a dedicated Kindle device might be better.

  4. BorkedAgain
    Thumb Up

    "...the only tablet now on sale that I would actually spend my own hard-earned on."

    Yep, for the first time since these new-gen tablet things started coming out I'm actually quite tempted to tot up my pennies and purchase. I think I may just hang about to see how Honeycomb looks (and costs) before I actually take the plunge, though.

    Not even tempted by the iPad. Have played with colleagues' pads and, while slick, they're awful shallow...

  5. David Hicks

    Finally, something in a decent size!

    All the other android tablets seem to have come out in 'not much bigger than a phone' or 'too big for your pocket but not big enough to be useful' sizes, this one actually looks the right size.

    The camera on the front is perfect because the 'killer app' for these things has got to be video calling via skype or similar.

    That it's missing 3g is no great shame, and the price is significantly less than apple's too. May actually have to look into this...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Really Tempted...

    BUT I want a raw android installation not one filled with Archos crud.. I want one that will get updates when google release them, and not updates that remove everything I have installed...

    I will not be buying this although Im seriously tempted.. Im holding out hope that Google will sell a decent spec'd (like this one) tablet in the same way they sell the nexus phone, direct and unencumbered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Raw Android?

      Does any manufacturer make such a device? My understanding is if you get a Samsung or LG etc you still have to wait for them manufacturer to port the next Android version to your specific hardware. (There is a boot mode for the 101 that allows you to install your own OS but it voids the warrantee) By the way you can remove the "Archos crud", but once you have installed Google marketplace you can't remove the Google crud. I've had 4 firmware updates since November for my 101 and only the update to Froyo required any app re-installs.

  7. Stuart Halliday

    Limited life

    Sounds like a nice tablet. But with only 256MB of RAM it'll never run Android 2.3 properly and with only 1 core it'll never run v3.0.

    The Android OS is still rapidly developing and any Tablet manufacturer needs to reassure their customers that the Tablet will be upgrade for a reasonable amount of time.

    1. ChrisC Silver badge

      3.0 *requires* dual-core?

      When did 3.0 change from being "adds support for dual-core devices, but will still run on single-core devices" to "requires dual-core, don't even think about trying to run it on a single-core or we'll point at you and laugh at your stupidity when your device throws an error screen halfway through the boot process"?

  8. Anton Ivanov
    Thumb Up

    Finally, a tablet I am inclined to like

    Two nagging questions which I would have expected an el-reg review to answer:

    1. It cannot drive an external HDD because? Is it being silly (on marketing grounds) or it needs a power injector?

    2. Archos at least at some point was supporting both Android and Angstrom. Is angstrom supported on this one?

    It is finally a tablet which I am tempted to buy :)

    1. Anonymous Coward


      According to wikipedia (I know, I know), the 101 is on the list of devices being developed for. But the Archos site doesn't mention the 101 explicitly when describing dual OS options.

  9. Danny 14


    Archos are not exactly renowed for releasing bug free products. The are even less renowned for updating older products to fix said bugs. I couldnt find any mention of bugs, are you saying this is a first for archos? You also say "it won't drive an external HDD" do you mean the port is low power and cannot power an external hdd or that external hdd wont work at all? Does the USB port offer enough power to charge a mobile (thinking tethering here)? What multi touch is included with the tablet?

  10. skinner


    What would the score be like with Honeycomb.....? (presuming it will be upgradeable and will run it OK?)

    At £ 270 this sounds like a pretty good price point.

  11. Sampler


    Looking at the tech specs on the Archos site:

    This thing is close to the perfect tablet - just can't see any mention of GPS which would make it great, there's alot of apps using it for more than just sat nav these days - google sky being one.

    Very tempted for the price..

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    One of the things that's kept me off the iPad is the lack of multi-user handling I don't want my guests to pick up the pad from the coffee table and have instant access to my mail.

    It's unclear to me if Android offers anything to accomodate this worry. Can anyone enlighten me?

    1. DrXym

      No it doesn't

      Some email apps might be able to password prompt before fetching email, or you could use the web front ends and remember to sign out but that's the best you could do.

      I'm not aware of any profile switching functionality in Android. It would be a welcome addition if it did appear in 3.0 especially for tablets where people are likely to be using the same device.

  13. spegru
    Thumb Up

    Now that's more like it!

    £270-295: Cheaper than many netbooks!

    I want one!

  14. Robb Dunphy

    Have had one for two months now

    And have to say I love it. Everyone is iPad this that and the other. This is perhaps not as high resolution, but the battery life is astounding, and it's android, it's froyo, and with a bit of tweaking you can get Android 3.0 on it (yay for SDK fun).

  15. Code Monkey
    Thumb Up

    "the only tablet now on sale that I would actually spend my own hard-earned on"

    I'm still not ready to part with my hard-earned on a tablet but this is the most tempting fondle-slab I've seen so far. And unlike almost every other vendor, Archos have been making this sort of thing for years.

  16. Dabooka

    Looks rather tempting that....

    can't justify an iPad, but do love using them. Anyone any experience with the old tethering deal, do networks mug you or is it taken as part of your data package? I got a shock once after hooking my w810i up to laptop to see if it would work!

    1. Andrew 66


      I use my Archos 101 with my Android phone using the FroYo built-in WiFi hotspot app and Vodafone either don't care or don't notice. It just comes out of my mobile internet allowance on my price plan.

      Doesn't mean I'm not thinking about getting a Mobile WiFi device from them though, I get through an awful lot of data...

  17. DrXym

    A sign of things to come.

    If Archos can toss out a very functional tablet for about 3/5 the price of an iPad, you can bet others will too. The pity is that by excluding some esoteric features like GPS, compass etc. Archos ran afoul of the compatible device requirements in Android and therefore lacks the marketplace app. I hope Android 3.0 loosens up requirements so Archos can be welcomed into the fold.

    That aside, it demonstrates what will happen this year. A veritable tidal wave of tablets to meet all budgets and feature requirements. Apple is going to find itself with a diminishing share of the market and more rapidly than it happened for phones too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That Archos could put GPS and a compass into thier devices. I'd pay $20 more for the option...

      (and usb charging is a must)

      1. DrXym

        Yeah they could

        But why should they? An Archos is meant to be a PMP not a giant phone. Same goes for the B&N Nook which is trying to be an ereader. In the future there may even be android tablets which are bolted to kitchen worktops, fridges or in picture frames, or in set top boxes and which therefore never move and don't need GPS (which they can't reach anyway because they're indoors).

        I believe the CDD for android 3.0 should set some profiles and make reasonable requirements for different categories of device which don't shut them out of Marketplace for no good reason.

  18. whats the point of kenny lynch?
    Thumb Up

    pretty good..

    although still loving my advent vega....and it's £249...these 10" tablets are great and much better value than the ipad.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Re-charge is from the mains adapter only

    That seems a bit short sighted when it has a micro USB and every* mobile phone/device now uses MicroUSB for charging, when travelling I would prefer not to have to carry multiple chargers... shame :( otherwise if this had GPS and vanilla android I'd order one now.

    *excluding iPhads.

    1. Andrew 66

      No MicroUSB Charging

      I'll give you that it can be a bit annoying, but then the battery on the Archos lasts easily for a whole day anyway.

      I use mine in conjunction with my phone and the amount of strain the Archos takes of my phone's battery almost doubles it's life, with the Archos able to pull a 10-hour day if you don't go overboard.

    2. Rob
      Thumb Up

      Problem solved...

      ... get a powermonkey then you have a charger for pretty much any electronic device you happen to have with you and some emergency charge should you need it plus you can use it in any country.

      Mine lives in a bag with all my camera kit and portable PMP.

  20. paradyne

    Had one for 6 weeks..

    1) The case is made with a new plastic coated metal process, so it's tougher than it looks but still really light.

    2) Archos have added very little 'crud', they have put a pretty good video and music player, the other bundled apps are optional to install.

    3) It can use a keyring bluetooth gps device, but if you really want a giant navigator you'll need to tether to your phone for data access (perhaps not if you buy some navigation software that stored map data locally).

    4) Archos have released firmware about once a month, and have an option to open it up to running fully custom firmware.

    5) PDF files work great! As do Word files, Kindle books, MKV files etc. etc.

    6) The screen viewing angle isn't fantastic, but it's not unusable by any means.

    7) I've compared it to a friends Advent Vega, the Vega is a bit smoother scrolling but has same screen, is larger, is 50% heavier. I'll stick with my 101 for now thanks.

    8) has any other tablet got a flip out stand? It's very, very useful!

    1. A 3


      I've also had one since November and agree with the above points. Other things to add...

      1) No USB charging, but the power adapter comes with 3 clip on plugs meaning it is really easy to use in UK, Europe and US.

      2) The power plug into the device is far too long and acts as bit of a leaver making it easy to damage when plugged in. I damaged mine because of this and have to wiggle it about to get a connection now. A shorter right angled plug would have been a better design.

      3) The plastic tip of the flip out stand (when out) is too brittle. Mine broke when pulling it towards me. The surface it was on, a hotel bed, not exactly heavy duty.

      4) Can plug in a keyboard and mouse if needed, or a USB thumb drive.

      4) Warning: in landscape mode it is just a little bit too wide to comfortably thumb type using the on screen keyboard. On the move twitter users should look at the 7" version.

      Generally for my use case, browsing the web on the Sofa, watching a movie on a plane etc. it works really well.

  21. semprance

    Better than I expected

    I've tried this model and own the 70 which is very similar. It's decent hardware with the exception of the camera. Also the touchscreen can be a little insensitive around the edges but what touchscreen isn't?

    I doubt any of the new range will see Honeycomb though..

  22. Al Taylor

    Power and tethering etc

    I'm assuming the HDD issue is one of power but I didn't have an externally powered HDD to hand to test.

    Hook up a mobile via USB and the phone charges a treat and the USB tethering worked fine with a Motorola Defy and a T-Mobile SIM.

    No GPS.

  23. Mat 3

    I'll keep my Vega thanks

    Having previously bought various PMPS from Archos, IMHO they are always better on paper than in real life. I wish them well now that they've moved into the table arena as their devices are always full of promise - but for me that promise has already been delivered in the form of my Advent Vega (now that it's been custom rom'd of course!).

    I didn't think I'd ever write 'fantastic' and 'DSG' or 'Advent' in the same sentence, but maybe once in a lifetime you can be pleasantly surprised!

  24. handle

    The quick brown fox jumpED

    You haven't tested your 's' softkey.

  25. Sandy Ritchie


    Archos..... *shudders*

    Future updates.... buy the all new (looks just like the last model) Archos 102.

    Dont do it guys, don't but them, don't give the Frenchies the satisfaction of selling more poorly developed un-supported devices.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: meh

      I'm sure Sugar will put you an all-british one together if you ask him really nicely.

      It might have a big keyboard, telephone and a complete absence of aesthic qualities whatsoever mind

      1. DrXym

        Alan Sugar

        Don't forget it will be gunmetal grey with a row of brightly coloured keys.

  26. Wyrdness

    MicroSD only

    So I can't take the SD card out of my digital camera and plug it straight into this for viewing photos. Instant fail. What's wrong with including a full SD card reader?

    1. Andy Barker

      SD / Micro SD

      I use a Micro SD in a SD adapter in my camera for this very reason. Take Micro SD card out of adapter, and plug into variety of devices to upload.

  27. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    Looking good, but

    256MB of installable area is the killer for me. Not really keeping your options open for those that like your apps or want to update in the future.

    Still a good option for people not wanting an iPhad. :)

  28. Anonymous Coward

    @ Wyrdness

    try an SD card USB adapter

    as for apps storage, with Froyo you can move apps to the SD card. Not ideal I grant you if you are regularly swapping cards in and out but at leas it is an option.

  29. pj3090

    Had one for about two months

    For my wife, actually. My goal was to allow her to browse the web, mess around on Facebook, etc on something besides my laptop. So far, so good. My review in a nutshell is that this device won't knock your socks off, but it is a good deal for the price. I did install the Google Apps support (which was simple -- just the same as installing any other APK), and that improves the device's usefulness significantly.

    FWIW, I also had the archos 70 for myself until I cracked the screen (my fault).

    The media player functionality is quite good. We no longer drag out the portable DVD player for long car trips because the kids can watch videos on the archos.

    One quibble might be that none of the apps are designed to take advantage of the larger screen, but in practice this is not that big of a deal. It would be nice to have, but isn't a fatal flaw. Dolphin browser actually works quite nicely on the device -- you can take advantage of the tabs and sidebars. In both devices, you can comfortably browse web sites in landscape mode and view the "real" web site rather than the mobile version.

    Performance is generally pretty good. I suspect that the archos *could* run Honeycomb, but will archos provide the update? (I'm guessing no)

    Between the 101 and the 70, I actually liked the 70 a little better. It was more comfortable to operate for longer period, at least for me, and I didn't mind giving up the extra pixels.

  30. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    "Multi-user" and SD card issue

    To lock up your Android, other than just leaving it locked by PIN, squiggle, or other means, one approach is to look for a "parental control" product, designed to limit the device user's access to certain operations or content. Apparently in fact there is a program called simply "Android Parental Control", but I haven't tried it. It may allow you to lend your device to a friend - or to a child - without giving them the keys to the car. Separately, I hear that a lot of people like to let their very young children play with some of the games.

    Re the SD card, microSD is identical to SD but with a smaller card and connector, and if your other device takes mini SD or full size SD then you can use a large-size SD sleeve that a micro SD or mini SD card fits into. They're often sold with the micro SD card. Pay attention also to the difference between formats such as SD (up to 1 GB, or 2 GB cards but they do not work in every SD device), and SD HC (larger than 2 GB), and others. You can put an SD card into an SD HC device, but not the other way around.

    Another catch is that some phones need to be pretty much taken apart in order to insert a card deep inside, it doesn't just slot in the side, it goes behind the battery or something. You probably won't need a screwdriver, but maybe a knife. Before buying, read a thorough review, or download the product manual to see t!where the card goes, and what type is supported.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have the previous gen Archos9 and 5 IMT

    Their model 5 IMT which is a 5" pmp was pretty bad out of the box, many firmware's later and it's good, love having a portable 500gig mp3 and VOB player.

    I picked up their Archos9 in Nov10, it's a 9" Win7 tablet.......that didn't get much/any press. I picked it up on a closeout (sub $500 Cdn) and think it's a good bang for the buck....with the added benefit/drawback that it's Windoze.

  32. Andy J Poulton
    Thumb Up

    Keep taking the Tablets

    I've had my 101 for about 3 weeks now. It took a lot of choosing, Not. I looked at the competition, Toshiba Folio - looked good, withdrawn from sale the day before the money was to be spent [a close shave], Viewsonic and others and the 101 looked to beat all comers [with the exception of the Advent Vega].

    However, a morbid distrust of anything to do with DSG [and 0 availability] made the decision easy. Battery life is great, MicroSD is fine by me, I can swap cards with my phone and with an adapter I can use the same memory in my laptop and netbook - although the netbook is fast becoming redundant.

    A full USB port enables me to use a compact external keyboard when flying my desk and the on-screen keyboard is adequate when out and about.

    Now that I've rooted my Hero I can tether my 101 to my phone for genuine Martini web access [anytime, anyplace anywhere] and a simple micro USB lead means the phone does not go flat during the day.

    It synchronizes with MS Exchange so I have my diary and email with me [and the diary is so much easier to use on a decent sized screen that i may downgrade my phone to a simple candybar as long as it will tether - 101 and phone = as much mobile productivity as I need]

    A mini HDMI port also means I can use the Archos as a media player, wireless streaming content from my office PC to household TV

    There was an app in Archos's own App Store to install the Android Marketplace

    The only thing I don't really like is the lack of a rear facing camera - it's a bitch using the front facing camera to read QR codes. Oh, and the mini USB port is different to everything else that I have that uses mini USB so I'll have to be careful not to loose the cable and when the Mini USB port is in use - you cant swap out the Micro SD card.

    These are really minor gripes for a device that is as capable as it is

    And what is the name for an Android "fanbois" because that's what i am? Droidians?

    1. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up


      Screw it. I know where my next bonus is going... ;)

    2. Geoff Thompson
      Thumb Up

      Spot on

      Only had mine for a day, but agree so far. Firmware update from 1 Feb, market place loaded, flash 10.1, maps etc. etc. iPlayer fine. Skype OK. Played on my TV last night. It works fine on bambuser too. Did two live test broadcasts. I'm happy.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    I'd wait 12 months

    There is going to be a raft of droid honeycomb slates arriving soon and price competition will see some better specified kit at a for less money

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why microSD...

    ...when you have all that space for cheaper/larger capacity standard size SD cards?

    They put a full size USB port on there so why not a full size SD card reader - or two for that matter.

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