Archos GamePad review
2013 is set to be the year that Android gaming breaks free from smartphones and tablets with Ouya, GameStick and Nvidia Project Shield amongst the Google-powered consoles hoping to challenge the Xbox 360, Sony PS3, Nintendo Wii U and possible next generation offerings from Microsoft and Sony.
Archos GamePad: Build and design
Essentially a 7-inch tablet with physical controls bolted on the GamePad weighs in at 330g which is around 10g lighter than the Nexus 7 Android tablet and with a plastic design doesn’t feel as polished as something like the ASUS built slate but it is lightweight and comfortable enough to play games for a long period of time.
Archos GamePad: Screen
The 7-inch capacitive display is capable of 1024 x 600 resolution which is the same screen quality as the Amazon Kindle Fire which was itself was underwhelming and considering the screen quality of Android tablets this size is disappointing. With 170ppi it lacks real vibrancy and colour for watching videos and browsing but it manages to do a decent job of showing games.
Archos GamePad: Features
Running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean it feels different to what we’ve seen on the Nexus and Samsung devices but perhaps that has something to do with the cheap feel of the hardware and screen. Essentially it has all the same homescreen buttons with added mapping button icon on the bottom launch bar, which is the GamePad’s main special trick.
When you select this, a small menu is brought up on the centre of the screen where you can drag a button, control stick or target stick onto the screen and click on one of the physical buttons to assign to it.
Archos GamePad: Performance
‘Thousands of games compatible thanks to the EXCLUSIVE ARCHOS mapping tool’ is the claim on the box. However, when we tried to download games on Google Play that would benefit greatly from physical controls, like GTA: Vice City and Max Payne we were met with a ‘this game is not compatible message’ which is where the the GamePad begins to unravel.
When we tried swapping the analogue controls for the D-Pad we had real issues simply trying to map them as well. The issues continued to surface as games were constantly freezing or simply not reacting to the mapped controls which began to really test our patience.
To add further insult to injury the GamePad only lasts around three hours on full charge which, compared to other Android tablets, let alone the 3DS and Vita, is pretty underwhelming even for a device that's less than £150.
Archos GamePad: Verdict
The Archos GamePad had so much going for it. The affordable price, a design well suited for handheld gaming and great TV mode support but there are just too many issues with it.
The game compatibility issues along with the manic mapping situation for many games and some awful analogue sticks means it’s a major let down overall. We posed the question as to whether it was a PS Vita or 3DS challenger and we can emphatically say that ithe answer is a big ‘no’ for the Archos GamePad.
Archos GamePad review
Archos GamePad reviewT3
The Archos GamePad is a 7-inch Android handheld console that holds a lot of promise. Is it a decent affordable alternative to the PS Vita?
Best Smartphones: Reviews
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review
Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 the best phablet yet?
HTC One review
The HTC One is the brand's new flagship Android phone
Samsung Galaxy S4 review
The Samsung Galaxy S IV is stuffed with features but should you buy it?
iPhone 5 review
The Apple iPhone 5 thinner, lighter and faster than its predecessors
Google Nexus 5 review
Can the Google Nexus 5 trump the excellent Nexus 4?
LG G2 review
Is the G2 the best Android smartphone around?
Nokia Lumia 1020 review
Is the Nokia Lumia 1020's 41-megapixels enough to tempt you to Windows Phone?
Sony Xperia Z review
The Sony Xperia Z has a massive screen, fast processor and it's even waterproof