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Hands on: Archos' FamilyPad tablet, Gen 10 convertibles

updated 01:50 pm EST, Wed January 9, 2013

Family-sized tablet lacks pixels, hopes to pack fun

Electronista is still here amid the backpacks and foot traffic at the Consumer Electronics Show, checking out the newest and most untouched in, well, consumer electronics. We stopped by Archos' booth yesterday to check out the Gamepad, and we also took a bit of time to go hands-on with their 13.3-inch FamilyPad, an oversized device whose name explicitly describes its purpose: it's for the family. Along with the FamilyPad, Archos had their keyboard-enabled Gen 10 devices on display, and we were pleasantly surprised by what we found there.

The FamilyPad is something of a hulking beast of a device, meant as it is to gather the whole family for game playing and such. It's got a 13.3-inch 1280x800 screen with 10-point multitouch support, a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, and the same quad-core GPU that can be found in the Gamepad. It's also got two microUSB ports, an HDMI out, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio out. Inside, it's got 8GB of storage, though users can expand that to 64GB with a microSD card.

The FamilyPad seems like it can serve as a solid family entertainment device. It's not something you're going to be holding in your hands very often, though. It's heavy enough that you'll appreciate the stand Archos ships with the device after about ten seconds of holding it up. Its internals should be more than powerful enough to run any multiplayer software you can find, and it's not too hard to imagine quite a few wholesome and entertaining nights spent basking in its warm glow.

The Gen 10 devices, on the other hand, are for the productive individual. They combine a high-grade plastic, paper-thin stainless steel backing, and hardware keyboard to make what our Archos rep told us was the thinnest 10-inch tablet on the market in the case of the Gen 10 101XS. The Gen 10 80 is much the same device, except in an 8-inch form factor. Both devices pack a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, a quad-core GPU, and 1GB of RAM. They also both run Android 4.1. The 101XS has a 1280x800 display, while the Gen 10 80 has a 1024x768 display.

Both tablets are quite capable of running Android. We weren't blown away by their speed, but they seemed like very solid devices in terms of specs. What we were impressed by was the build quality. The Gen 10 series' bodies are composed of plastic and stainless steel, as we said before, but they've got a very solid feel to them, with a reassuring heft that belies their thinness. The mechanism that allows them to dock with the included keyboard is also quite novel. The keyboards don't have a battery to supply power to the devices, as is the case with other convertible units such as Asus' Transformer line, but they do have microUSB inputs, allowing users to charge the devices while using them in keyboard mode.

As with the Gamepad, we're looking forward to taking a closer look at the Gamepad to see how it stacks up against other productivity-oriented tablet form factors. The Gen 10 80 is available for $199 with the keyboard included, and the Gen 10 101XS retails for $299 with the keyboard. The FamilyPad will be available in February of this year for $299.

by MacNN Staff



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