Saturday, April 2, 2011

Archos 101 "Internet Tablet" Review - Android Tablet

The Android tablet by Archos, also known as Archos 101, is a gem in a vastly growing Android Tablet boom. Its sleek style, design, and very competitive features is very much desirable against the Apple iPad. Of course, along with any other product, the Android OS Archos 101 has its flaws. Nonetheless, if you're looking to find a good priced feature-filled Android tablet, the Archos 101 should certainly be considered. With the price tag of under $300 for its 8GB version, it will win the hearts and pockets of many tech junkies. Just be prepared to manually upgrade its stock Android 2.2 OS.


What I really like about the Archos 101 is the sleek design. The frame consist of injection molded plastic as well as stainless steel. As a result, the structure of the device can be created thinner without compromising its integrity. Because of this, the Archos 101 is 0.45" which is 10% thinner than the iPad. In addition, the design does not make it seem like you're buying a second-class electronics made from an inferior manufacturing source. Instead, it gives you the feel of a nicely designed and well built product.

The screen is a high resolution LCD measuring at 10.1" (hence the product name). The tablet also has built in kick-stand for display, as well as an HDMI output for use with HDTV or HD Monitors. With added Bluetooth mouse, keyboard, and HDMI monitor output, it can essentially become a makeshift desktop computer.

The Archos 101 features a single core Arm Cortex A8 1GHz processor. Lacking in relative processing power, many users are still impressed with its responsiveness and ability to smoothly operate apps and functions. Note that Archos specifically designed their products with minimal "Bloatware" which are pre-installed manufacturer software. Archos also designed their tablets to be as customizable as possible. In fact, the company claims to have made it easier for users to dual boot both Android and Linux (although I have not tried this myself)

The Archos 101 also features the expected higher end capabilities. It showcases a webcam, Wireless-N, a small 8GB internal storage, MicroHD slot, and USB port.

Notes/Summarypparently, the Archos 70 is the next available version. However, the Archos 70 sports a smaller 7" screen and a much larger 250GB of storage. Overall, the Archos 101 is a very nice alternative against the iPad. Keep in mind that a lot of Android tablets are truly designed for power users who are willing to make their tablets truly their own. If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, Archos products can truly be a worthy investment of tablets. The Archos 101 also comes in the 16GB version.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S 4G SGHT959V Review - Android (T-Mobile)

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is the newer version of the popular Samsung Vibrant. For the most part, this Android  smartphone is very identical in design and feature to the previous Samsung 3G Vibrant. Some call this the Samsung 4G Vibrant, but should be more appropriately called the Galaxy S 4G. 

Performance Improvements
I own this phone and I can honestly say that it does not lag or perform sluggish whatsoever. It features the 1GHz Hummingbird processor which is capable of handling virtually all tasks, apps, and everyday functions of today's smartphones. It comes with stock Samsung-flavored Android 2.2, not Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Still, I have no complaints about the performance and functionality of the smartphone at all.

The screen is Samsung's signature Super AMOLED high resolution screen. Compared to 90% of mobile devices out there, this screen is extremely clear, responsive, and capable of playing HD quality pre-loaded Inception movie. The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is of course capable of high-speed cellular networks, but its availability is still limited. T-Mobile is the only one in my area capable of 4G, so I'm happy. But remember to always check the availability of 4G networks in the area.

Some of the inherent flaws of the Vibrant is still evident, but overshadowed by its positive attributes. For instance, there are no LED light indicator or LED camera flash. For some users coming from a phone with LED indicators or camera flash, it may be something to get used to-- but for others it may simply be insignificant.

The phone features a front-facing camera, very thin profile, and very light-weight design. It feels quite sturdy and well built. Due to the extremely bright screen and power consumption, battery life is limited. However, I was able to find a nice app in JuiceDefender, which manages my power very well. I have found my battery life increase by 1.5x longevity. The overall design mimics the iPhone quite a bit, with its own Samsung flavor.

The internal memory is a weak point for the smartphone. The smartphone struggles to maintain an arsenal of apps without the use of Apps2SD type of apps. Most popular apps supports SD transfer and installation now. But without a large internal storage, users are largely dependent upon the included 16GB MicroSD.

In essence, the Samsung Galaxy S 4G is a high performing Android smartphone. The screen is definitely nice to look at and its ability to perform lag-less functions is certainly welcomed over lots of sub-average smartphones out there.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Viewsonic G-Tablet Review - Android

Cheap Android tablets do not come easy. It takes a lot of research and reviews to make sure you're not getting a low-performing Android tablet. The Viewsonic G-Tablet was released in December of 2010, and still to this day it is still considered one of the best performing tablets at a very affordable price. The Viewsonic Android tablet competes well even against the highly coveted iPad.

The Viewsonic G-Tablet has an esthetically pleasing design. This Viewsonic tablet measures similarly to the iPad at approximately 0.5" thick. It features a 10.1" LCD display and has a similar black-border trim like that featured on the iPad. The screen is an average quality screen-- certainly not poor, but identical to most Smartphones and Laptop screens.

You're going to get pretty nice hardware for the price. The G-Tablet features a Dual-Core NVIDIA Tegra 2 1Ghz processor, 16GB internal storage (expandable with Micro SD), 512MB DDR, 1080p capable HD playback and output, USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm audio output, Micro SD slot, and HDMI port. The Viewsonic G-Tablet, however, is not a cellular network tablet. It does feature WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR for connectivity.

Here's where things get interesting. The built-in stock OS is a smartphone OS in Google Android 2.2 Froyo. In addition, the OS has Viewsonic-flavored Froyo. A lot of users are not too happy about this as it makes operating sluggish as well as finding problems with the Android App Market. There are custom after-market ROMs or OS modifications that were done by the XDA community that will require some technical skills. After the custom ROM, most users are extremely happy with the results.

This tablet is 4 months old and is still considered top of the line. I know 4 months isn't too long of a period. But in the EXTREMELY fast pace growth of the smartphone and tablet industry, counting months is like counting dog years. This tablet is extremely competitive, low-priced, and Android based. For wireless internet wherever you go, you can simply share your existing smartphone's 3G or 4G internet connection. Save your money by not paying recurring monthly payments for 3G/4G wireless connections.