Archos 101 XS Android tablet is a transformer in disguise

Archos has announced a new line of tablets aiming to take on the Asus Transformer models and Apple iPad. Launching a new XS line of tablets, the first device launched will be the Archos 101 XS.

We saw the Archos 101 XS teased all the way back in March 2012, and now the French company has delivered on what was previously known as the Archos G10 XS, its gen 10 tablet.

As the name suggests, the Archos 101 XS has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel resolution display and there will be 8 and 9.7-inch XS tablets arriving before the end of 2012 to join the family.

The body is a fusion of plastic and steel, giving a surprisingly good quality finish, but in true Archos fashion, you'll find the gen 10 tablet is well connected too. There's a microSD card slot (up to 64GB), mini HDMI and USB.

Internally you'll find a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 dual-core processor, supported by 1GB of RAM. There's 16GB of internal memory too, so Archos hasn't scrimped on the basics.

The tablet is just 8mm thin, making it one of the slimmest tablets out there, with Archos boasting that it beats the iPad by a whole 1.4mm; the actual measurements are 273 x 170 x 8mm. It weighs 600g.

The Archos 101 XS lands running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with Archos telling us that an upgrade to Jelly Bean would definitely be rolling out OTA around November, if not before. 

Philippe Geldard, web content manager at Archos, pointed out that the there are "no dodgy skins to slow it down or make it look staggeringly ugly", which we're sure will be a welcome relief. Few tablets do get skinned, the big exception being Samsung.

Of course, this being Archos, multimedia performance is key, and the tablet will play just about every video format you can throw at it. We'll be testing out the media credentials when we review the new tablet very shortly, but we expect it to be a strong point. 

Archos has doctored the media players, so you get cover art for videos, as well as integrated network support, letting you stream from your home network or share to a compatible devices.

There is also a free Android app to turn your phone into a remote control for your Archos tablet, so if it's hooked up to your TV, you'll be able to control the tablet and save the need to walk back and forth every time you want to pause.

But wait, there's more. 

The Archos XS line wants to challenge the Asus Transformer and will do so by shipping with a keyboard in the box. The Magnetic Coverboard offers a full keyboard, designed for Android, as well as doubling (or tripling) as a screen cover and keyboard dock.

Using magnets, the Coverboard will stick to the screen with surprising strength. It's only 5mm thick, so in place it swells the XS to an acceptable 13mm. You can then slip it off, dock your tablet and type away.

Thanks to the X-pin connector on the base of the tablet, you'll also be able to dock with the optional Boombox - a 32 Watt speaker dock - or the Cradle, designed to let you hook up the tablet to an audio set-up using the RCA connections.

Both accessories are yet to be finally priced, but we were told around £30 for the Cradle and £100 for the Boombox. 

The Archos 101 XS will cost £299 at launch in the UK ($399 US) and will be hitting stores soon.

Of course, we've been playing with the new tablet, so check out our first impressions and lots of glorious photos of the Archos 10 XS right here.



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