Since the introduction of netbooks, users have been clamoring for a tablet version that's highly portable, yet full-featured and offers exceptional battery life. Archos attempts to fill that gap with the Archos 9 PCtablet. The manufacturer touts this as a portable media player, but the handheld device can be used for so much more.
Users love portable computing devices -- the more portable, the better. Weighing only 1.76 pounds, the Archos 9 falls into the ultra-mobile PC category.
There's much to like about the Achos 9, including the 8.9-inch LED backlit screen, which performs well in most lighting conditions and displays high-definition video beautifully. A slot underneath the unit houses the stylus so it won't get lost, and the thumb-activated mouse is easy to use. There's one USB port, which should be plenty because this isn't intended to be a desktop replacement. And if you rotate the screen, you've got a great e-book reader.
This device really performs well with applications that are designed for pen input and is useful for much more than just daily administrative tasks. It's a niche product that IT could deploy for a single purpose, such as accessing records from a warehouse floor, in a shipping department, or anywhere that signatures may be required.
One of the best features of the Archos 9 is that it runs Windows 7, rather than a customized version of Linux or another operating system. This gives users access to standard Windows applications.
When evaluating the Archos 9 PCtablet, it may be hard not to compare it with other devices such as the Apple iPad. Keep in mind that the Archos 9 is designed to be a full-featured computer that will run any Windows-based application, which means you don't have to purchase all new apps.
The device comes with Windows 7 Starter, which prevents it from being used on a Windows domain. And there were times when the tablet was very slow, as boot times often exceeded three minutes before the computer was usable. The processor is a 1.1 gigahertz Atom, but a newer dual-core Atom running at 1.6GHz would offer a significant performance boost, as would increasing the RAM from 1 gigabyte to 2GB.
That said, this is a lot of computer for the price. It's encouraging to see tablet prices falling while offering more portability than ever before. This device certainly has potential when put to use with the right applications.