We’ve seen plenty of tablets that try to offer bigger screens, more features, and faster processing than other competitors, but the Archos 9 PC tablet just wants to give you your Internet and media in a handy portable form-factor. It may not wow you with impressive specs or slick design, but it delivers on the promise of portability, and is one of the cheaper Windows tablets available today.
The Archos 9, design-wise, is something of a throwback to the old UMPC designs seen a few years ago. The bezel around the 9-inch touchscreen is beefed up on the right and left edges, providing what are effectively handholds on either side of the screen. On these handholds you’ll find physical controls for power, microphone, activating a virtual keyboard, a trackpoint mouse and right and left mouse buttons. You’ll also find an integrated 1.3-Megapixel webcam. On the side is a single USB 2.0 port, and on the back of the chassis is a folding kickstand that props up the tablet for hands-free viewing.
Measuring 5.4 by 10.1 by 0.67 inches (HWD), the Archos 9 isn’t smaller than competing tablets (though it has a smaller 9-inch screen), but it does offer a lighter weight (1 pound) and a lower price tag—you can find the Archos 9 new for under $400. For your money, however, you’ll be getting a resistive touchscreen (instead of capacitive touch), and Wi-Fi, but no options for mobile broadband.
The Archos 9 runs a 32-bit version of Windows 7, with several programs designed around entertainment, like vTuner for internet radio and tv streaming, Microsoft Security Essentials for protection, and Lotus Symphony, an office suite. All of this software is found on the Archos 9’s 32GB solid-state drive (SSD).
The Archos 9 is powered by a 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z515 processor, a three-year old piece of hardware, backed up by 1GB of RAM. Graphics are running on an equally outdated Poulsbo US15W chipset, which offers enough graphics horsepower for browsing the web, not much more demanding than that.
The Archos 9 PC tablet isn’t a new device—it debuted alongside the original iPad—but new units can still be bought, and at deep discount. If you’re in the market for an inexpensive Windows tablet, it’s certainly affordable, but it won’t stack up well against the newer Windows tablets on the market. If affordability takes precedence over ease of use and functionality, however, it may be just the tablet PC you’re looking for.