Channel 5

Archos 79 Xenon

Monday 17 February 2014

G-Rating

Rating of 3

The basics

You eyes don’t deceive you: while it might look like an iPad mini and it even has the almost exact same dimensions as Apple’s tiny titan, the Archos 79 Xenon is a similarly-sized Android slate that comes with an Apple-beating price-tag of £169.99. It may be cheaper and it runs Google’s mobile OS, but can this copycat keep up with its inspiration at all? Let’s find out.

Is HTC working on the next Nexus 10?

Read our review of the Nokia Lumia 1520!

The good

Just like the Apple slate that inspired it, Archos has crafted a well constructed tablet that has a solid weight (320g) to it in the hands, and comes complete with thin bezels and firm aluminium shell. It measures up at 8mm deep , making it slightly thicker than Apple’s miniature marvel, but you can still pack it into many aftermarket iPad mini cases - and even the rear camera lens will line up too.

Although Archos has included only Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, instead of the latest and greatest 4.4 KitKat, its installation is as close to stock Android as you can get, making it free for you to customise to your liking with only a few pre-installed Archos apps on board. And as Archos has only armed it with 8GB of storage onboard (thankfully upgradable with a microSD card), we’re happy that it doesn’t come with an excessive amount of bloat, although we do wish it had more storage space to boot.

The 79 Xenon is a speedy slate, thanks to its 1.2GHz A7 quad-core processor, and it zips through apps and makes quick work of some of the more intensive games on the Play store, but it only comes with a modest 1GB of RAM, making multi-tasking rather tedious, especially if you have dozens of apps open. Archos has also armed it with the usual Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS, while woad warriors will be happy to find that it also comes with 3G powers thanks to a mobile data SIM slot, and you can even use it as a phone if you desire, although it’s not 4G capable which may prove to be a shame. You’ll also find built-in speakers and a microphone, along with a standard 3.5mm jack for your headphones.

The bad

The Archos 79 Xenon might look like an iPad mini clone, but it just simply doesn’t match up to the latest premium slate from Apple. The 7.85-inch display packs a modest 1024 x 768 resolution - exactly the same as the first-gen iPad mini, and after being spoiled by the Retina display on Apple’s latest tiny titan, it just doesn’t match up - not to mention the Nexus 7’s 1080p display can be yours for only £30 more. That said, the display does feel spacious when in use, thanks to its 4:3 aspect ratio which has proven to be a winner on Apple’s iPads and makes a change from many 16:10 slates on the market - it makes using the Xenon in portrait mode feel much more reasonable.

Despite its solid aluminium build, the 79 Xenon still feels inferior to Apple’s top-notch slate. The bezels lack the premium finish found on the iPad mini, and the top plastic section on the rear peels off to reveal the microSD and SIM slots - it simply screams cheap, as do the mushy power and volume buttons. There’s also only 8GB of storage onboard, which has been strangely partitioned into two separate instances and leaves you with hardly any room for your apps or media. Luckily, you’re able to slot in your own microSD card up to 64GB, but with barely any storage to begin with, you’ll be forking out more than its £170 price-tag.

Tablet cameras have never been the highlight of any slate, and the trend continues on Archos’ effort: on the back is a lowly two-Megapixel snapper, while you’ll be greeted to a 0.3-Megapixel front-facing camera up front - both produce muddy and unclear images and you won’t want to be sharing them to any of your favourite social networks.

Read our review of the Archos 80 Titanium!

Oh dear - Sony QX10 camera lens now works with your tablet

The bottom line

If you’re looking for Apple styling but with a much lower price-tag, the Archos 79 Xenon could be the slate for you, but for the price, you’d be better served by the higher-res and higher-spec Nexus 7, which is just £30 more and nets you double the storage, a better screen and faster guts under the hood. If you want a true iPad mini, you’ll have to fork out the premium for it. The 79 Xenon is a nice attempt by Archos to imitate Apple’s tiny tablet, but it just doesn’t measure up - and we’d much rather see an original effort rather than a copycat.

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Archos 79 Xenon is tagged with Archos, Android, tablet and Archos 79 Xenon. Select a tag (Archos, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (2)

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fad

expensive! this looks like a very close copy to my TeXet Tm7858-3g (16gb) I bought in Russia last month for 99 English pounds.

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Oscar

Please stop using apple for everything!!! Are you paid by them? It can be reviewed in its own terms... or just compare it with samsung, htc, nexus, etc, plenty to compare. It may be hard for you to believe but many people could not care less for apple products and this kind of review made me give up reading after so many references to a product I don't know and care to know. If it is an android product, what about using other android referents? I doubt I will ever check anything here...

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