ON first appearances, there can be little doubt as the inspiration for the new tablet from Archos. In terms of dimensions, colour and weight, the 79 is unashamedly aimed at those considering the purchase of an iPad Mini.
Archos 79 Xenon tablet
Offering a device that is near identical in appearance, but with a £80 saving on the Apple product, the French company’s target audience is clear.
A closer inspection of the tablet reveals that it is in fact marginally lighter than the Mini (320g compared to Apple’s 331g) yet slightly thicker (8mm compared to 7.5mm). In each case, the differences are negligible; the Archos slate feels sturdy, well designed, and is easy to grip with one hand.
Android 4.2, 8GB memory
Under the hood, it runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Those pining after 4.4 KitKat may be disappointed, but the OS packs sufficient punch. With a quad-core processor, it handles a range of applications easily, although attempting to open too many at once can lead to some slowdown, revealing the limitations of its 1 gigabyte of RAM.
The in-built storage of 8GB is similarly modest, and anyone considering heavy use would be well-advised to upgrade the memory, even though the specifications and size of the tablet suggest that Archos is aiming for casual customers who use a laptop or desktop as their main computer.
Screen lacks clarity
An array of connectivity options such as wifi and Bluetooth work well and the tablet’s appeal is done no harm by excellent battery life and the inclusion of 3G compatibility, adding to its merits as a compact device that can be easily transported around while on the move.
The question as to whether you should buy it over an iPad Mini is likely to depend on whether you are willing to put up with lesser screen quality. The display of the Archos is capable and holds up well during everyday use, yet lacks the clarity and detail of a Mini (or for that matter, a Nexus 7).