Back when we reviewed the previous version of the Archos 101 G9, we weren't very impressed with its performance. It had some aesthetic flaws, had a poor camera, and was too slow for our taste.
Unfortunately, much of that holds true with the Turbo version, despite its name. Even though it runs Android 4.0 and is available with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, instead of a 1GHz like its predecessor, this tablet still manages to underwhelm. And with a price tag of $390, the device is not worth its trouble.
When held in landscape mode, the Archos 101 G9 Turbo measures 10.86 inches wide, 6.59 inches tall and 0.61 inches thick. Because of its higher memory capacity, this model is heavier than its flash series predecessors, and it weighs a hefty 1.73 pounds. Lugging it around in my backpack wasn't too bothersome, but it got tiring holding the tablet up while snapping self-portraits and playing games for an extended period of time.
On the left side of the device, there is a charging port, a Mini-HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Micro-USB port, and the power/sleep button. The power cord fits very firmly and snugly into the headphone jack. Compounded by the fact that they are also placed near one another, you might plug your charger or headphone into the incorrect port, like how I often did.
On the right side of the Archos is a volume rocker. Because it's flush with the rest of the casing, it is difficult to find. I found the buttons to be unintuitively located, so I had to look for the volume rocker many times when handling the tablet. There were also times when I adjusted the volume without meaning to.
The Archos is made out of a dark gray plastic, and the back is no exception. The back comes with four small rubber pegs on each corner to prevent slipping. There's also a neat, but flimsy, kickstand on the left of the backing that you can pull out for easy movie watching and game playing. Near the center are several small holes for the output speaker. Next to that is the port for the 3G network stick. Since the tablet doesn't come with one, a dummy stick comes in its place for the time being.
The 10.1-inch touch-screen display has a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels, and can run 1080p full-HD video. When I watched preloaded movie trailers, both standard and HD YouTube videos, and played games like Spider-Man HD, the images were crisp and bright. Colors were very vibrant and rich, and the device has a wide viewing angle from all sides. The screen itself is also responsive. There wasn't any lag when it came to pinch-zooming, typing, or when pulling back a slingshot during a round of Angry Birds.
To the left of the display is a camera that's capable of recording 720p video. Unfortunately, there is no rear-facing camera.
One of the most exciting things about the Archos 101 G9 is the fact that it's upgradable, over the air, to Android 4.0, making this one of the few handsets to get a scoop of Ice Cream Sandwich so far. Because it is an Android device, you'll find yourself with a number of standard Google apps, including: Google Books, Plus, Gmail, Search, Latitude, Maps with Navigation, Messenger, Shopper, Music, Talk, YouTube, and the Play Store.
There are a number of task management features such as a calculator, a calendar, a clock, an address book, a sound recorder, and a native music and movie player. Some extra goodies include three game demos (Angry Birds, Asphalt 6 HD, and Spider-Man HD); the Barnes and Noble Nook app; the highly popular note-taking app, Evernote; Movie Studio to edit movies; a photo frame app; a social media reader called Brief Me; a trial version of Picsel Smart Office, which lets you store and access files on DropBox and Google Docs; and a news app called News Republic.
The 720p camera has some photo options as well, like digital zoom, GPS tracking, autofocus, and panorama. You can also choose between two picture sizes (one to 1.3 megapixels); three antibanding options (off, 50Hz, and 60Hz); six color effects (none, mono, sepia, negative, solarize, and aqua); a range of exposure options (from -2 to +2); and five white balance choices (auto, incandescent, daylight, fluorescent, and cloudy).