Everybody is moving to touch screen devices. The market is flooded with touchscreen phones and recently there have been a lot of launches. We already have the Google ASUS Nexus 7 which is selling really well and in Japan, it has even outsold the iPad mini. Thanks to the $199 price tag of Nexus 7, a cheap tablet now doesn’t mean that it has to feel cheap and have mediocre specs. Nexus 7 is pretty much of a high end tablet device and it has set a benchmark for what a reasonably priced tablet should look, feel and function like.
At the CES 2013 which happened recently, we saw a lot of new devices. One of the interesting devices was the ARCHOS GamePad. Archos isn’t an unknown company and we have seen a lot of devices from them. It has been four months since the device was officially announced and the device can be apparently purchased across Europe. Priced at 150 Euros (converts to $194), it is a pretty unusual Android tablet. Yes, it is a touch screen tablet device, but what sets it apart from crop of Android tablets is the fact that it is a gaming tablet with physical controls! It is equipped with 4-way directional pad, a set of action buttons, and dual analog sticks, and is also a fully functional Android tablet device at the same time. That means you have access to the Play Store and you can download gaming apps of your choice. Since most of the games out there are obviously made for an usual Android tablet with no physical gaming keys, this Archos tablet comes with key mapping tool which allows even games that are not optimized for the GamePad to work with its hardware buttons.
It was made clear that the device is heading to the US somewhere in the month of February, and now even the price is revealed. It will be hitting the shelves in the US with a price tag of $169. That’s a pretty reasonable price considering that you are getting a tablet which is powered by dual-core Cortex-A9 processor clocked at 1.6GHz backed up by a quad-core Mali 400 GPU and 1GB of RAM. You also get a front-facing camera, built-in speaker and microphone, 8GB of storage, and a slot for microSD cards. Wi-Fi connectivity is on board, but GPS according to the spec sheet isn’t available. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean comes pre-loaded. The Archos GamePad is 10 millimeters thick and weighs 330 grams.
It’s true that paying a little more will buy you the 16 gig Nexus 7, but then there is no alternative for physical gaming keys which Archos has to offer. Since the GPU is Mali 400, which is also found in several high end devices, the tablet should handle any games well. Even the 1 gig of RAM should be sufficient for gaming needs. Users will have over 1000 well-known titles supported out of the box, which should make this a great device for a gamer.