Archos 9 review
This review was posted in a MobileRead forum by sianon for the Archos 9. It has been added to the wiki with permission of the author. It is compared to the unreleased iPad. (some spelling and grammar errors have been corrected.)
For me, my needs for a tablet device are simple. I want a device that is close to the size and weight of an A4 notebook in a solid leather writing compendium. I want the whole screen available to use for handwriting recognition. I want handwriting to instantly and accurately transform to text. I need a device that I can use for case noting at work and taking notes in university lectures.
The Archos 9 is in no way a competitor for the Apple Ipad. The Archos ships with a crippled version of Windows 7 which does not allow any tablet PC functions to work. I took delivery of my several weeks ago and one of the first things I did was upgrade to a higher [better] version of Windows 7. It then took another day to get all of the touch functions working correctly. This is fine if you are technically minded or have people close to you who are.
The Ipad is designed to work out of the box from what I can see.
The Archos 9 is a slow and clumsy machine with a very slow boot time whereas the iPad is pretty much an instant on device. [editor note: Using hibernate should help this]
Yes I can run a range of programs on the Archos which won't work on the Ipad, but there are a range of Apps that will work around these limitations.
The Archos 9 works well as an e-reader and all formats are readable on it. Turn the brightness down low and it really is very comfortable to read for hours on. You can rotate the screen to portrait mode, but this has to be done by going through the control panel and switching to portrait mode. I find reading it in landscape with two pages displayed the most convenient for reading novels.
The Archos 9 is totally pathetic for watching video content on and you cannot watch any iTunes videos at all, way too choppy.
The windows handwriting recognition leaves a lot to be desired, although it is accurate. I really do not like the very small area that is provided to write in.
And the aspect ratio of the Ipad is very much closer to what I want than the Archos 9.
For now, with all it's limitations, I will stick to the Archos 9 (mainly due to my hubby becoming a little inpatient with my Gadget buying addiction) as it does allow me to use handwriting recognition to complete notes, although it could do with massive improvements.
As to the battery life of 5 hours: Swapping the battery in the Archos 9 could not be simpler, it is simply a case of pushing down the release mechanism, battery pops out and replace. Hang on, it would be that easy if replacement batteries were available.
Archos and Apple provide for totally opposite ends of the spectrum, with Archos merely providing the hardware and allowing users to configure to what they want. This leads to a huge frustration in getting the device to do what you want. Whereas Apple provides and easy to use interface with a closed system which will not suit those who want to tinker.
For me to view the Ipad as a must have, it will need to provide a way to view RAW image files from a range of cameras, Solid handwriting recognition (although the write pad looks very good) as well as a very good library app (possibly Calibre) to manage different formatted books, e.g. click on a book and the app will open the correct e-book viewing app. Give me these functions in the form factor of the Ipad and I will be sold (with 3G of course).