Archos GamePad

The article will provide a reader with information on Archos GamePad.  Let’s have a look at good and bad aspects of the Archos GamePad.shafkatworkphoto

Good
• Low price
• Decent specifications

Bad
• Poor gaming interface
• Bad screen
• Weak battery life
• Incompatible with some big games
• Like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, the Archos GamePad is an attempt to bolt a proper gaming controller to an Android-based device.
• It’s a 7-inch tablet running Android 4.1 with physical buttons and sticks bolted onto its sides, and boasts a dual-core CPU and quad-core Mali 400 graphics processor. There’s 8GB of internal storage onboard and an expansion slot for a microSD card.

French company Archos has beaten them both to the punch with the GamePad — although as is often the case, being first doesn’t always equal success.  The physical controls are painful to use and don’t offer the kind of precision a user would expect. The LCD screen is cheap and nasty, and the battery life is laughable. Worst of all, the GamePad won’t run some big-name Android titles, including Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series.

The idea of a gaming tablet is certainly very appealing, but we’d advise that a user would wait for other, better examples to come along instead of dropping any hard-earned cash on this. 

If a user would have ever handled an Archos product before, the GamePad won’t hold any genuine surprises. The silver plastic casing is robust enough, but it positively drips with cheapness and is nowhere near as desirable as the iPad mini or Kindle Fire HD.  A user’s eyes will naturally be drawn to the legion of buttons, pads and sticks that festoon the tablet’s bodywork.

The arrangement looks sensible enough, but that D-pad is a real bone of contention — because it’s four separate keys, hitting diagonals is difficult, and performing a single sweeping motion (like a quarter-circle required to perform Ryu’s fireball in Street Fighter II) is nigh-on impossible.  The analogue nubs fare little better. Although they mimic the single nub seen on the PlayStation Portable, the movement is stiff and awkward.

The Archos GamePad’s 7-inch 1,024×600-pixel screen is another crushing disappointment. The 170ppi resolution is distinctly lacking when compared to the likes of the Nexus 7 and iPad mini, and viewing angles are abysmal. Colours also look washed out and drab.

With a dual-core CPU at its heart and the same graphics processor as the Samsung Galaxy S3, a user would expect reasonably decent performance from the Archos GamePad. This is true to a degree, although it naturally can’t compare to the likes of the Nexus 7 when it comes to raw power. The big issue here is that the GamePad doesn’t seem capable of harnessing its strength without throwing a hissy fit every now and then.

The back of the GamePad is shaped to make it comfortable to hold, but lacks a camera.  A user would expect Archos to really hit the nail on the head when it comes to gaming after all, this has been christened the GamePad for a reason. Sadly, the tablet fails to live up to this promise. The controls make playing games frustratingly uncomfortable, and the pre-installed Mapping Tool is a little too unpredictable to rely upon.

Microsoft Surface

The article will provide a reader with information on Microsoft Surface.  shafkats-work-imageAs the only Microsoft-branded Windows RT hardware to launch with the new operating system the tablet serves as ambassador and flagship for the touch-focused, wildly risky Windows grand experiment. The Surface excels thanks to its thoughtful design, sensible implementation of its keyboard accessory, and the innovations brought about by the interface formerly known as “Metro” — chief among them: the gesture-driven menu system, powerful search tool, and incredibly cool and versatile split-screen feature.

The features and aesthetic details that do set it apart are significant, if not immediately apparent. For one, the Surface sports a 10.6-inch screen, which is only about 0.5 inch larger than most full-size, mainstream tablets’ screens and 0.9 inch larger than the iPad’s screen. However, this larger screen affords it a true 16:9 aspect ratio at a screen resolution of 1,366×768 pixels. This aspect ratio matches most movies and TV shows, eliminating the need for black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. While movies shot in Scope (2.35:1) will still display with black bars, they’re not nearly as all-encompassing as when watching the same movies on an iPad with its 4:3 aspect ratio.
Microsoft Surface is the best productivity tablet yet, and it had better be. As the only Microsoft-branded Windows RT hardware to launch with the new operating system (Windows 8 launches this week as well), the tablet serves as ambassador and flagship for the touch-focused, wildly risky Windows grand experiment. The Surface excels thanks to its thoughtful design, sensible implementation of its keyboard accessory, and the innovations brought about by the interface formerly known as “Metro” — chief among them: the gesture-driven menu system, powerful search tool, and incredibly cool and versatile split-screen feature.
The Surface sports a 10.6-inch screen, which is only about 0.5 inch larger than most full-size, mainstream tablets’ screens and 0.9 inch larger than the iPad’s screen. However, this larger screen affords it a true 16:9 aspect ratio at a screen resolution of 1,366×768 pixels. This aspect ratio matches most movies and TV shows, eliminating the need for black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. While movies shot in Scope (2.35:1) will still display with black bars, they’re not nearly as all-encompassing as when watching the same movies on an iPad with its 4:3 aspect ratio.

Then there’s the Surface’s beveled back, which contributes to its sleek, somewhat industrial-looking metallic aesthetic. It looks practical without being cold, and just feels like a high-quality device that Microsoft cut few corners to make.  The entire chassis is surrounded by a full magnesium (VaporMg, pronounced “Vapor Mag”) outer casing that’s supposedly both scratch- and wear-resistant; however, scratches are already beginning to appear on my unit. In the top middle of the front bezel, next to an ambient light sensor, is the front-facing 720p-capable camera. Several inches below that on the bottom of the bezel sits the Windows home touch sensor, which takes user back to the Start screen or to the last app a user had open if use is already at the Start screen.

Along the right edge, from the top, are a speaker grille, a Micro-HDMI port, a full USB 2.0 port, and the power port, which magnetically attaches the power cable. At the far right of the top edge is a lone power/sleep button. The left edge features an additional speaker grille, a headphone jack, and a satisfyingly tactile and clicky volume rocker. Seated toward the bottom of the left edge is an inch-long groove that allows user to easily pull out the built-in kickstand and prop the tablet up.

The microSD port, located under the kickstand, can be accessed, in a somewhat awkward fashion, once the stand is engaged. On the bottom edge is another array of magnets where the Touch and Type Cover keyboards connect.
The Surface houses a 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU as its brains and comes in both 32GB and 64GB varieties. Its microSD card slot supports up to 128GB cards, and the tablet includes 2GB of RAM. It has 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth 4.0, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a built-in compass, but no GPS.

Google Nexus

Google Nexus is running on the latest version of Google’s operating system, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The interface is basically the same as earlier versions of Jelly Bean, but it brings new features including settings shortcuts in the notifications bar, turn by turn GPS navigation, and various other tweaks.shafkatworkphoto

The most important change is to the camera software. Photo Sphere allows you to take full 360-degree images to either swipe around on your phone, Street View-style, or view as one wide panorama on your computer. Built-in editing software lets you turn this into a cool ‘tiny planet’ picture, as well as add numerous filters and effects tweaks to any of your pictures.

 The Nexus 4 outstrips the Galaxy S3 in power and screen resolution, and is less than half the price. Add on to that the great updates to Android Jelly Bean and the amazing photo features on board, the Nexus 4.

Design and build quality
The front of the Nexus 4 is made up of a single piece of glass stretching right up to the edges. It’s not interrupted by physical buttons or fancy company logos it’s an unusually minimal design.  The back panel has been given a shimmering effect. In the right light, it appears as though it’s made of tiny sequins. It’s very subtle, but it’s not at all unpleasant.

It measures 134mm long and 69mm wide a very similar size to the Galaxy S3. At 9.1mm thick though, it’s a tad chubbier than the S3 and considerably fatter than the iPhone 5′s 7.6mm. It’s chunky, but far from cumbersome.  It might look smart from a distance, but get it in your hand and it suffers in comparison to more expensive phones. The casing feels a little on the plasticky side and it doesn’t have the same solid feel as its plutocratic rivals.

• Android phones typically offer either dull specs and an affordable price, or high-performance components and a price tag suitable only for oil barons. With the Nexus 4, Google and LG have smashed that tradition to pieces.
• It packs in a ferocious quad-core processor, a whopping 2GB of RAM, a glorious 4.7-inch display and the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software, which boasts some really cool new features.
• The Nexus 4 isn’t particularly remarkable to look at. It’s perfectly inoffensive, sure, but it’s hardly pushing any boundaries in terms of cutting-edge design. The front is dominated by a single piece of glass while the back, also glass, has a subtle sparkly effect. In between is curved matte plastic.
• Turn it on, though, and its screen jumps out at the user.  Measuring a spacious 4.7 inches, it’s wonderfully bright and bold. Images and videos look great on screen and fine text is kept sharp thanks to the high resolution.
• Inside the phone is a 1.5GHz quad-core processor along with 2GB of RAM. Those specs are more impressive than even the Samsung Galaxy S3 and are typically reserved for top of the range mobiles.

Good
• Bargain-basement price
• Superb performance
• Excellent high-definition screen
• Latest version of Android Jelly Bean
• Great new camera functions
Bad
• No expandable memory
• Battery isn’t removable
• No 4G