This month Archos announced the release of a new low-cost Android tablet. Archos has been developing a new Elements range of affordable tablets and the first to come to the market is the Archos 97 Carbon.
Designed to be an inexpensive Android tablet and retailing at a price of $250 you may be surprised to learn that the 97 Carbon runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. There are other budget tablets with ICS I hear you say, including one released in China costing less than $100 but the 97 Carbon is comparatively larger with a 9.7 inch screen (the clue is in the name) as opposed to 7 inches.
The 9.7 inch screen of the Archos 97 Carbon has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels and is enhanced with In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology which improves the vibrancy of colours and contrast and allows for better viewing at different angles.
In terms of its appearance the Archos 97 Carbon is pretty smart with its brushed aluminium finish. It has a profile of 0.45 inches so is less slim-line than the new iPad which is 0.37 inches thick but at the same time the 97 Carbon is less weighty, weighing 1.36 pounds as opposed to the 1.44 pounds of the iPad.
The 97 Carbon is powered by a 1GHz single-core processor with 1GB RAM. This is where Archos have had to reduce their costs. By comparison the Archos 101 g9, a 10 inch Android tablet running ICS, has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, but you need to part with in the region of $390 dollars to get your hands on one of those.
The 97 Carbon has an in-built storage capacity of 16GB but does have the ability to expand on that via a microSD card. In addition to a microSD card slot, the Archos 97 Carbon has a USB port and a mini-HDMI out port. This is a useful feature if you want to plug your tablet into a High Definition TV to view your videos or play games. The Archos 97 Carbon has the additional feature of being equipped with a front facing camera and a camera on the back.
Perhaps you are hoping to sell your old mobile and buy an Android tablet and the price is more important to you than the processor speed. If that is the case the Archos 97 Carbon with ICS could be an option for you. However, with cost in mind it could be worth waiting a little while longer before making your decision. Archos have confirmed that they will be releasing more tablets in the Elements range – an 8 inch model and a 7 inch device. Assuming these tablets will be cheaper it will be interesting to see what they serve up. Alternatively, if you are not concerned about screen size the new Google Nexus 7 could be an attractive alternative. True, it is smaller than the Archos 97 Carbon, but it has Android’s newest 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system and all the extra features that affords.