• Wednesday, May 14, 2014

      Archos 80 Titanium Review and Specs

      The Archos 80 titanium boasts an 8 inch display with acceptable quality given the price, though lacking some major features like Bluetooth and GPS, the Archos 80 make up for its sturdy built and fluid performance, for more of the Archos 80 titanium please read my full review.

      Archos have been making tablets way before Acer and lenovo released their iconia and ideatab series, though their previous tabs have been festered by bugs, unstable performance and dreadful battery life, archos have come a long way since then, the A80 titanium is an entry level tablet that has a lot to show, and this feisty device proved that being cheap doesn't mean you go plastic all the way, its solid construction and affordable price might make others consider adopting one, but is the archos 80 titanium all looks and no frills? Let's find out.

      At first boot you'll immediately notice the low resolution screen, while viewing some sample photos I can't help but look at the visible pixels from every corners of the picture, zooming doesn't help much either, though to be fair the 8 inch screen has superb viewing angles, tilt it from any directions and you can still see the pictures retain their colors. Archos opted for a 4:3 aspect ratio rather than the omnipresent 16:9 which is a far better screen for watching movies, however, the 4:3's wider screen allows better web browsing and book reading, while the larger real estate gives extra room for swiping and gesture commands, making it easier for your fingers to move around freely, what's more the A80 titanium comes stock with a matte screen protector which did a good job reducing glares and unnecessary reflections thus making the screen still visible outdoors.

      Design wise the A80 titanium is pure goodness, the back is made of an aluminum metal alloy which gives the device a premium feel, though similar in design with the iPad, the A80 tries to be unique in its own way, the soft matte back, the Archos logo and the awkwardly placed buttons on the left side when held in portrait mode are detractions that end their similarities. The "thin is in" persona has put manufacturers under pressure to create a device as thin as it could possibly get, the A80 titanium is a slim tablet by stature with high quality materials built into it, the curvy edges and the soft matte back gives better and more comfortable grip to the hands, so heavy users like me won't have to worry too much about hand sprains, though, using a tablet stand is probably a better option, as this tab is not by all means light.

      Archos is not messing around when it comes to specifications and performance, underneath the hood the A80 titanium is powered by a dual-core processor at 1.6 GHz coupled with a 1gig RAM DDR3 and boasts a quad-core graphics chip for enhanced gaming experience, transitions between homescreen is smooth with no signs of stuttering, and with little to no lags when transitioning from one app to another, you can tell on paper that this device is a serious contender and can stack up to most of its nearest rivals.

      Quadrant Benchmarks results:
      CPU: 7709
      MEM: 4273
      I/O: 6354
      2D: 1042
      3D: 2027
      TOTAL: 4281 "GOOD"

      *AVP extinction runs smooth even if set to the highest graphics settings, though visuals are not that stunning due to the A80's low resolution screen*

      Web browsing using Google chrome is fast and fluid enough, browsing through heavily loaded websites didn't stop the A80 from doing its job well, scrolling and pinching is accurate with almost no noticeable delays, my test showed that even with the music player turned on you can still browse the web with relative ease, notifications aren't a problem as the A80 lets you shift from one app to another as easy as clicking an icon without having to wait too much, even while browsing the web.

      Archos has left jellybean 4.1.1 mainly untouched, no bloat wares and no skinned UI just pure stock android goodness with the exeption of two archos preloaded apps namely, archos music and archos video which I think is a far better alternative than the stock android media player apps. The archos music app has an MP3 player based interface which gives you a lot more ways to navigate, play and manage your music files, while the archos video app is just as similar with some inclusions like online TV and movie subscriptions coming from multiple online providers including archos itself, plus you'll get a wider media and codec support compared with the stock android video player offerings.

      Affordable tablets almost comes natural with terrible cameras, and the archos 80 didn't detract itself from that age old tradition, as the 2mp rear camera takes grainy pictures and even worse it lacks colors and details, but on the bright side it's not very often that we take pictures with our tablets, so most, including me will put those issues aside, the front camera is no different either, though it's still useful for video chatting.

      Battery life has always been the weakest link for Archos devices and the A80 titanium is no exeption, the A80 lasted 4 1\2 hours on video, and will probably last 5 to 5 1/2 hours
      with continuous web browsing, on gaming you'll probably get 3 to 3 1/2 hours tops as games consumes far more battery than usual depending on brightness and graphics settings.

      We really can't argue about what the Archos 80 titanium can bring to the table, though I find it difficult to find a viable reason for Archos not to include Bluetooth and GPS on board for the same price, I've seen cheaper tablets with similar specs with Bluetooth and GPS lining up their arsenals. As a result the Archos 80 titanium may have to excuse itself from pairing up with a Bluetooth keyboard, thus relying solely with the on screen virtual ones.

      PROS: Affordable, fast and fluid performance, capable in gaming, good built quality, excellent viewing angles.

      CONS: Low battery life, poor camera, no bluetooth and GPS, no USB charging support.


      DISPLAY: 8 inch IPS LCD (1024 x 768) 160 ppi, multi-touch

      CPU: Cortex A9 1.6 Ghz dual-core

      MEMORY: 1GB RAM/8 GB internal storage, expandable via micro sd card 64GB max

      GPU: MALI 400 quad-core GPU

      OS: android 4.1.1 jellybean

      CAMERA: 2MP rear, 0.3 VGA front

      CONNECTIVITY: WIFI b/g/n, Micro USB 2.0, mass storage device, USB host, HDMI

      BATTERY: 4400 Mah

      OTHERS: gyroscope

      Wednesday, May 7, 2014

      Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite review

      The Samsung Galaxy tab 3 lite is a scaled down version of the tab 3, Samsung has made it a little less powerful than its other tab 3 siblings, but on the bright side taking away some of the goodies also mean making the device a little less expensive or should I say a lot more affordable, despite the cut down in components the tab 3 lite still delivers a solid performance.

      The first thing you’ll notice on the device is the lack of a front VGA camera, Samsung’s deliberate move to break the tradition for the Galaxy tab 7.0 series to create a more desirable price point, obviously that is what Samsung aims for with the tab 3 lite. The lack of a front camera may not be a hindrance to some but on the other hand avid skype users and selfie addicts will have something to complain about, however the absence of the front camera is the only downside you’ll get on this tab because what’s left will absolutely blow your mind.

      The device features a 7 inch TFT LCD display with 1024 x 600 resolution at 170 ppi, you may notice that the 170 ppi ratio seemed a bit underwhelming for a 7 inch tablet but magically, the screen holds its own, pictures appear sharp and vibrant with rich colors and good contrast something you’d rarely see on a screen with this resolution more so, in an affordable tablet, kudos to Samsung for a job well done! and as far as responsiveness goes, the Tab 3 lite is by far one of the best out there, it's somewhat comparable to Apple products in terms of overall touch response, transitions between homescreen is buttery smooth, on top of that, swiping and gesture commands only require minimal effort and what's even more surprising is how fast it opens an app, yet, all those nitty-gritties don't end there, as the tab 3 lite will also provide you with a fairly good viewing angles.

      The tab 3 lite makes other competition eat dust in terms of web browsing and overall performance, though the lite variant receives the cheapest chipset Samsung has to offer, the Marvell PXA986 chipset with 1.2 ghz dual-core processor is not to be underestimated, for one, opening a web page doesn’t require you to wait a couple of seconds or more than what the other competition currently does (Acer iconia B1), what’s more scrolling and zooming doesn’t show any signs of hideous lags and notably clear is the stable UI, during my short test with the Tab 3 lite I haven’t encountered any irritating hiccups or obscure UI related issues and it proved so, with some heavy apps currently running in the background, The Samsung touch wiz UI really works well on top jellybean 4.1.2, more so, the 1gig RAM helps a lot in giving the device a solid multitasking ability.

      *The Galaxy tab 3 lite is a full 2 seconds faster than the Acer iconia B1 in opening a web page*

      Gaming is probably one of the key selling points of the tab 3 lite, the VIvante GC1000 GPU works well in harmony with the Marvell PXA986 chipset along with a 1Gig RAM, Dead Space and Shadowgun works well on this tab with jaw dropping performance and stunning visuals, though the tiny 8Gig of internal memory will knock gamers off their feet, however, you can always expand it by doing so, with a micro SD card, though it’s known that games tend to work better if installed in the internal memory. That said, the Galaxy tab 3 lite is another reason for gamers to think twice before buying a dedicated portable gaming console, at 7,999 Php you’ll get a dedicated tablet and a capable gaming machine.

      *Another PSVITA and 3DS killer*

      In addition to its already awesome arsenal, the tab 3 lite also features Bluetooth, a 2MP rear camera and a GPS. The tab 3 lite tops the shelves in the affordable price tag category putting the Acer iconia B1 and the Lenovo ideatab A1000 on the bargain table, though, that extra price gives you a faster more reliable experience, and of course a name that’s almost unrivalled in the world of consumer electronics.

      PROS: affordable, compact and easy to hold, very good overall performance.

      CONS: no front camera, plastic construction all the way.


      DISPLAY: TFT LCD 1024 x 600 resolution with 170ppi

      PROCESSOR: Marvell PXA986 chipset 1.2 Ghz dual-core

      GPU: Vivante GC1000

      OS: android 4.1.2, touch wiz UI

      CAMERA: 2MP autofocus rear only

      MEMORY: 1Gb RAM, 8Gb internal memory

      CONNECTIVITY: WIFI b/g/n, Bluetooth, micro USB

      OTHERS: accelerometer, GPS, light sensor

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