The latest budget-conscious slate from Archos, dubbed 101 XS 2, looks to take on physical keyboard-toting hybrids such as Microsoft’s Surfaces and the Asus Transformer Pads or Transformer Book.
No matter if you dig Windows RT or not, or if you’re the kind of Android aficionado that can’t even look at the competition without feeling sick, there’s no denying Microsoft’s Surface 2 has the edge over most of its rivals when it comes to productivity.
But not over the Archos 101 XS 2. This fresh Android-operated 10-incher is not only substantially cheaper than the latest Win RT-based Surface, at $280, but it also includes in that price a keyboard cover that can even act as a kickstand. Talk about the best of both worlds.
On the not so bright side of things, as I’m sure you’ve guessed already, the 101 XS 2 doesn’t pack a lot of punch. It does feature 2 GB RAM, which is astounding for its price range, but the 10.1-inch IPS screen is almost cringe worthy, at 1,280 x 800 pixels resolution and 149 ppi pixel density. What is this, Archos, 2011?
Meanwhile, the quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU sounds promising, but since it’s paired with a Mali 400 MP4 GPU, it’s probably a low-cost Rockchip unit that can never play in the same league as NVIDIA’s Tegra 4. Or the Intel Bay Trail chip found inside the Asus Transformer Book T100, for that matter.
Moving on, there’s pre-loaded Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on Archos’ 10-incher, 16 GB of built-in storage, microSD support, dual 2 MP cameras, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and HDMI. Not too shabby, yet the battery life is not rated, which is never a good sign.
Bottom line, when Archos rolls this thing out (i.e. sometime in December), my advice is to go for it provided you can’t afford something like the Transformer Book. In other words, the 101 XS 2 is worth its dough, but not much more.