There seems to be a bigger push lately from all sorts of OEM’s from start-ups to known tablet markets like Archos, or companies like Nvidia, to release the ideal Android-based console, from prices of $100 to $250. Archos has released a GamePad before with a dual core Cortex A9, but this time it’s coming out with a GamePad 2 with a quad core Cortex A9 chip and other improved specs:
- 7-inch 1280×800 IPS display
- 1.6GHz Quad-core A9 processor
- Quad-core Mali 400 GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 8GB/16GB internal storage, microSD card slot
- Front-facing camera
- 200.5 mm x 154 mm x 9.9 mm (7.9” x 6.0” x 0.39”), 400g
- Android 4.2.2
The form factor is still of a regular 7″ tablet with an HD 1280×800, that has arrows and buttons on the sides, like a gamepad, and that’s how you use it. The price is â‚¬179.99 in Europe and will be $200 in US (sometime in Q4), so it’s not too bad as far as pricing goes.
The main problem with it I’d say that it’s not even the low resolution display, but the fact that for a “gaming device” it’s still coming out with a Cortex A9-based chip, which may have been ok in 2011, and even in 2012, as it arrived in quad core versions, but it was quickly made obsolete by Krait-based and Cortex A15-based processors, that were significantly more advanced, and of course, faster.
At the end of the day you may want to decide between this and Nvidia’s Project SHIELD, which costs $50 more, and while it has a smaller screen, it should have a much better controller, and support many more games, including all the Tegra Zone games, and all the Steam games, through Wi-Fi streaming from your PC.
The SHIELD may be targeted at a more advanced crowd, though, and the Archos GamePad 2 could work for kinds of younger ages, where they can just buy one of these for $200, and play on them. Meanwhile, they can still use them as normal, tablets, too. Archos has never made hugely successful products, but they’ve done pretty well for themselves, and if they are making a second version of the GamePad, I think it was pretty well received by their customers, and the GamePad 2 should be even more successful for them than the first one.