1.5 star rating

Archos 9 PCTablet Review

Pros: Thin sturdy design ; USB port and webcam ; Built-in kickstand ; Decent speakers;
Cons: Poor touchscreen ; Frustrating typing experience ; Short battery life ; Sluggish performance ; Runs hot ; No touch-friendly software;
The Verdict: This slow and touch-unfriendly tablet doesn’t hold a candle to the iPad.



If I were Microsoft, I would politely ask Archos not to sell the Archos 9. This tablet doesn’t just make its creator look bad, it makes Windows 7 look like it doesn’t belong on touch-enabled PCs. Sure, this $549, 8.9-inch tablet has some features the iPad lacks, such as Flash support, a built-in camera, and a USB port. But its resistive touchscreen is frustrating to use (at least without the flimsy stylus); the device runs hot; and it’s slow—like takes-a-few-seconds-to-pull-up-the-volume-controls slow. Archos recently upgraded the processor on its slate, but that’s not nearly enough to rescue this dud.

Article Continued Below


The Archos 9 really isn’t that bad before you turn it on. The 1.8-pound device has a sturdy feel yet measures only 0.7 inches thick. Surrounding the display is an attractive brushed metal bezel, and around back you’ll find the stylus slot and a convenient kick stand—a nice touch for when you want to watch online videos or surf the web without holding the device.

On the left front side of the Archos 9 you’ll find a 1.3-megapixel camera, a shortcut button (Ctrl + Alt + Delete by default), and a button to launch Archos’ on-screen keyboard. The left and right buttons are stacked on top of one another beneath these controls. The left side houses the power button and a tiny optical mouse that we found to be sluggish and finicky.

The outer left edge of the Archos 9 has a single USB port and microphone and headphone jacks, while the right edge has a switch for replacing the battery. Rounding out the design is an expansion port for the optional port replicator on the bottom.

Touch Display and Software

Archos 9 PCTabletThis is where things take a turn for the worse. Because the 8.9-inch, 1024 x 600 display uses a resistive panel instead of capacitive, it doesn’t support multitouch gestures (like pinch to zoom). That’s why this tablet runs Windows 7 Starter Edition instead of the more touch-friendly Premium version. Worse, the LCD was woefully inaccurate when registering our finger taps, even after we calibrated the screen. For example, without the stylus it was too difficult to minimize programs. Surfing the web was also an exercise in frustration. Your first instinct is to scroll pages as you would on an iPhone by swiping your finger, but all that does is select text on the page. Instead, we had to use the scroll bar (which is more stylus- than finger-friendly) or resort to the optical mouse (which defeats the purpose of a touchscreen).

Typing was another disheartening experience. Although Archos includes a dedicated button to launch a full-screen keyboard, it had trouble keeping up with our fingers. As a result, we had to type much more slowly and deliberately than we wanted. Plus, the keyboard doesn’t automatically pop up when you click on a text field. You have to manually open and close it when you’re done typing.

Looking for touch-friendly software? Look elsewhere. The Configure Utility is pretty much it. Other bundled software was underwhelming. The only mildly interesting app is vTuner, which we used to stream alternative radio through the Archos 9’s decent twin speakers. It also streams TV, but local-access programs are not our idea of entertainment. You also got Lotus Symphony, but you’ll definitely need to attach a USB keyboard to use the Archos 9 as a productivity device.


Good thing the Archos 9 has a kickstand. After streaming Hulu for 15 minutes at full screen on the Archos 9, the device registered a disturbing 122 degrees on its backside toward the left—where you would hold it. The right back area was a more reasonable 91 degrees.


Archos 9 PCTabletDo you like watching spinning circles? Then you’re going to love using the Archos 9. We didn’t need to see the lowly PCMark Vantage score of 729—about half that of the typical netbook—to know that the 1.2-GHz Intel Atom Z515 processor and measly 1GB of RAM wouldn’t be able to keep up with Windows 7 Starter. There was noticeable lag when opening and closing applications, and moving around web pages was sluggish. The Archos 9 particularly struggled on Flash sites like Hulu. Playback was decent once episodes started (not at full screen), but moving up and down the page with anything going on in the background brought things almost to a halt.

The 4,200-rpm, 60GB hard drive on the Archos 9 represents yet another bottleneck. Its transfer time of 6.7 MBps is nearly a full 10 MBps behind the netbook category average, and the 1:20 boot time is 20 seconds slower than the average netbook. To be fair, this device is a tablet and not a netbook, but if Apple can supply faster solid state memory for $50 less on the iPad, then users should expect snappier performance for more money elsewhere.

Surprisingly, the Archos 9 handled Skype video calls fairly well, and we could easily make out the other caller. They said we sounded good and that colors were accurate, but that the picture was dark and muddy.

Battery Life and Wireless

Although the Archos 9 is highly mobile, it doesn’t last very long on a charge. On the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous surfing over Wi-Fi), the tablet mustered only 4 hours and 1 minute of runtime. That’s 1:42 less than the typical netbook and a full 6 hours behind what the Apple iPad promises. At least the lithium polymer battery is removable.

The 802.11g Broadcom Wi-Fi adapter inside the Archos 9 delivered respectable throughput of 19.7 Mbps and 14 Mbps from 15 and 50 feet away from our router, respectively. Web pages loaded fairly quickly; for example, we loaded a New York Times article in under 6 seconds. At one point, however, the wireless adapter just stopped working.


The Archos 9 isn’t really a tablet. It’s just a cheaper version of an ultra-mobile PC, a category that died long ago. If you like the idea of owning a tablet that supports Flash and takes advantage of Windows 7’s touch capabilities, wait for the HP Slate. We know you—and Archos—can do better than this.

Tags: Archos 9 PCTablet, Archos 9 MiniPC Tablet, Archos 9, Archos, tablet, MIDs, reviews

The central processor unit, or CPU, is the brain of your device.
1.2-Ghz Intel Atom Z515
The amount of memory our reviewed configuration comes with.
RAM Included
The maximum amount of RAM supported
RAM Upgradeable
Storage Drive Size60GB
Storage Drive Type
Display Size8.9
Display Resolution1024x600
Graphics ChipIntel Poulsbo US15W
Graphics Memory
Has BluetoothYes
OSWindows 7 Starter (32-bit)
PortsEthernet; Headphone; Mic
USB Ports1
Warranty / SupportOne-year basic limited with one-year mail-in service/24/7 toll-free phone
Size10.1 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
Weight1.8 pounds
Mark Spoonauer, Editor-in-Chief
Mark Spoonauer, Editor-in-Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, Editor-in-Chief on
Twitter Google+
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options