Archos 101 XS, A decent price for a 10 in tablet

Archos’ speciality these days is the production of budget Android tablets, and the Archos 101 XS – part of its Gen10 XS Series – is well priced for a 10.1in tablet.

You get plenty for your money, as the tablet comes with a keyboard cover in the box. When you need to do some typing, it docks neatly into this, with a small plastic arm to prop it up. When you’re done, the cover snaps magnetically onto the front of the tablet, neatly protecting the screen. It’s an elegant-looking solution.

However, when it comes to build quality, the 101 XS fails to impress. It’s noticeably less robust than the Asus Memo Pad FHD 10. The volume and power buttons in particular feel flimsy, and we’re not surewe’d feel confident putting the bundled keyboard to extended use. Its tiny keys are too light and lacking in feedback to be comfortable for longer typing sessions. We found it frustratingly fiddly.

A far bigger problem for Archos than the keyboard, though, is the 101 XS’s display. The resolution is a bog-standard 800 x 1,280, and quality is well below par. Brightness peaks at only 282cd/m2 and, although the contrast is excellent, the fact it’s anMVA panel means text and  It’s graphics blur noticeably as you swipe and scroll your way around.Worse still, it has a noticeably grainy look to it.

Performance wasn’t very good, either, with below-average scores in our tech tests. Battery life is also unremarkable: it lasted 8hrs 2mins in the looping video test, which is a long way behind the best.

All in all, the 101 XS isn’t bad value for money, especially considering the free keyboard cover. It’s well connected, too, with a microSD slot and a mini-HDMI output. However, plasticky build and a poor screen meanwe’d spend our money elsewhere.