iPhone Life magazine

Archos 32 Internet Tablet vs iPod

I must say that I was surprised when I received this "tablet" for review. Somehow I was expecting a 7 to 10 inch screen, but instead, this unit is about the size of an iPod touch. In fact, that's the best way to describe it. It's an Android iPod touch.

It's a bit thicker than an iPod with a smaller touch screen at 3.2 inches with a 400 x 240 resolution and 18 bit color depth. I found the on screen keyboard extremely difficult to use because the screen and keys are so small.  It measures approximately 2 1/8 x 4 1/8 x 1/4 inches and weighs a mere 2 1/2 ounces. It has a handsome, sleek, black case.

It runs on Android 2.2 with an 800 MHz processor and sports 8 GB of internal memory with no expansion slots for additional memory. It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but no GPS. You cannot access the battery and replace it yourself. Battery life of course is variable.

On the left side is a volume control rocker switch. Below that is the power switch. On the bottom of the unit there is a mini USB port for syncing and charging. Next to that is a 3.5 earphone jack. The right side and the top has nothing. Below the screen are the usual Android hardware button for back, home, settings, and search. Below that are + and - buttons for yet another sound control.

At first I thought it didn't have a camera because there was no lens on the front and none on the top back. Instead, the lens as at the bottom of the unit on the back. The 5 MPX camera shoots both still and video with support for MPEG-4, MPEG-2, Motion JPEG, WMV, FLV, RM, VOB, RMVB, MPEG-2 PS, VC-1, ASF, MPEG-2 TS, H.264, MKV, MPEG-4 ASP (up to 720p), WMV9 (up to 720p). The audio recorder/player supports MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, AAC+, OGG, FLAC. It has a built-in speaker and microphone. Unfortunately there is no front camera and no flash.

The unit comes loaded with software such as Deezer, Ebuddy, Mewbox, Raging Thunder Lite, Touiteur, Quickpedia. The App Library icon will take you to thousands more apps. It also has a nice photo gallery application.

The best thing about the Archos 32 is the price. The best price I found was about $87, which is a lot better than the iPod. If you want an inexpensive, small, handheld tablet, this could be just the unit for you.

It does, however, have some shortcomings. The screen resolution is not the best. It lacks a front facing camera and flash. It has no expansion slot and therefore somewhat limited memory. But, all these things cost money, and as is, it sells for a great price. 

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