ARCHOS has just announced the Gen10 XS, an Android Tablet that very much stands out amongst most other Android Tablets. That is because the Gen10 XS comes with a detachable keyboard. This concept is hardly new, after all, the Asus Transformer Pad has been touting a complimenting keyboard for a while now. Also, Lenovo’s upcoming Tablet 2 and Microsoft’s Surface RT also sport similar form-factors. That said, the Archos Gen10 XS, is trying to one up them by offering an affordable alternative Tablet with keyboard for Android.
With its white accents, and thin stainless steel material, the Gen10 XS is a lot more exciting looking than your typical black slate. That said, its design certainly looks to us a lot like the just announced Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. It also reminds us of the now elderly HTC Flyer, albeit significantly thinner. This tablet weighs only 21 ounces and measures 0.31 inches thin, which is quite petite considering that it packs in a 10.1″ display
The Gen10 XS comes with a Coverboard, which is essentially a magnetic keyboard that works to protect the tablet’s display. The Coverboard itself measures just 0.2″, so it won’t add much thickness to the rather svelte Gen10 XS. As a matter of fact, when together, they measure just .51″ thick. The Coverboard keyboard features a kickstand for propping up the tablet while it’s docked. The magnetic docking system used by the Coverboard to hold the tablet easily attaches to the Gen10 XS without much effort. That said, the kickstand does seem a bit flimsy.The keyboard also features chicklet-style keys that are both spacious and responsive, with great tactile feedback. The Coverboard has also been smartly designed with a DC in so that it can simultaneously charge the Gen10 XS while its docked.
Some might lament the fact that the Gen10 XS doesn’t come with a rear-facing camera, but we don’t miss it at all. How many people really use their tablets to take pictures that often? On the other hand, having a front facing camera is essential for video calls, and ARCHOS has included just that. In any case, ARCHOS decided not to include a rear facing camera in order to keep the cost of the tablet down, and we think that that was a smart move. The system also comes with a microSD slot and a Mini HDMI port.
The 10.1″ 16:9 display on the Gen10 XS sports pretty good viewing angles and a healthy 1280 x 800 resolution resolution. Colors aren’t too bad either. Unfortunately, the display looks like its more on the low quality end, and seems to be a PenTile-like display. As a result, the display looks a bit pixelated and grainy, especially when there is a lot of white or light colors on the screen. Fortunately these artifacts won’t bother the typical user.
ARCHOS has also included some important apps with the tablet, like OfficeSuite Pro 6, which a $14.99 value. ARCHOS also bundled the tablet with some of their media apps, like the ARCHOS Remote Control App and the ARCHOS Media Center app. The Media Center app comes with a wide support for many video codecs, and it sports a neat video carousel style user interface that is a lot nicer looking than many other media players you’ll find on Android.
The Gen10 XS is powered by a 1.5 GHz smart multi-core processor and 1GB of RAM, that is complimented by 16GB Flash Memory. The 1.5GHz processor is a OMAP 4470 CPU with a PowerVR SGX544 graphics card.
In AnTuTu, the device earned a score of benchmarks AnTuTu 7004. In comparison, the Nexus 7 earned a score of 15901. In Quadrant, the device earned a score of 3550, making it slower than the Asus Transformer Prime TF201 which earned 4000. Overall, the tablet is hardly a performance blazer, but the Gen10XS performs well.
The Gen10 XS comes running Android 4.0 and ARCHOS is promising that an upgrade to Android 4.1 AKA Jelly Bean will be available in Q4.
Overall, although not quite a premium product, the design of the ARCHOS Gen10 XS is pretty nice and its performance will suffice for most users. Android purists will appreciate that ARCHOS hasn’t mucked around with the Android 4.0 user interface.
We’re also not bothered much by the lack of a front facing camera. That said, we’re quite disappointed with the Gen10 XS’s display. While we weren’t expecting a retina display at this price point, the display on the Gen10 XS is subpar for its price point. Regardless, since its Coverboard form-factor offers quite a good value for $399, we can see the Gen10 XS especially appealing to the education segment.
The Gen10 XS is the first of ARCHOS’ XS Tablet line, with the ARCHOS 97 XS and ARCHOS 80 XS tablets slated to be released sometime in Q3 or Q4 of 2012. Meanwhile The Gen10 XS will go on sale in the U.S. in November for $399, but it will go on sale in Europe next month. A 32GB model will not be available.
The Good: Clever Coverboard design with magnetic kickstand is neat and convenient, it’s quite thin, comes with useful full version productivity and media apps, offers pretty much a pure Android experience, offers an improved battery life over its predecessor the G9
The Bad: Display is really disappointing, not the fastest tablet around, some wont like that there is no rear-facing camera, at about 6 hours with use – battery life could still be better