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Archos GamePad 2 review

The GamePad 2 has had a significant makeover, but doesn't justify the price tag

Our Verdict

The GamePad 2 is a vast improvement on the first, but it still doesn't have the blockbusters or price tag to compete with the dedicated handhelds.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Stylish, comfortable design
  • HD IPS screen
  • Plenty of games to choose from Impressive battery

Against

  • Priced too high
  • Tinny speakers
  • Can't cope with more demanding games
  • Button mapping is poor
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These days, Android games are popping up as fast as cheap, third-party Android tablets.

It's a hit and miss marketplace, with many games disappearing deep into the ether after launch and most seeing fewer than 100 downloads. But because of the rapid increase and ease of development, Android games are gradually improving in quality.

The same can be said for tablets and gaming tablets. The Archos GamePad 2, and the arrival of other gaming-specific tablets, is the result of refining the Android gaming experience. Archos has improved on its initial attempt with the GamePad by redesigning the console to look more like a dedicated gaming device, while making sure it also offers most of the standard tablet features.

Gamepad 2

The GamePad 2 now has a sleek, black, matted exterior that the previous version missed and doesn't just look like a d-pad and buttons have been stuck to either side of a tablet.

It also comes with an improved 1280 x 800 screen, 2GB of RAM, a quad-core A9 1.6GHz processor and a quad-core GPU Mali 400 MP4. But then it also comes with a hefty launch price - £179 ($199.99, about AU$330).

Gamepad 2

The GamePad 2 doesn't confidently command that price tag. Issues with lag and multitasking - issues that plagued the previous GamePad - still exist, and there simply aren't enough blockbuster games in the Play Store to justify a launch price that's higher than the PS Vita.

But that's if you compare the GamePad 2 directly with another gaming console. If you include the fact that it's also a tablet then the plus points begin to rack up. Archos makes it clear in its marketing that the GamePad 2 is multifunctional, not just a gaming tablet. Although that is its main focus, it's also a pretty decent Android tablet.

And, if you judge it purely on its ability as a tablet, it fares pretty well. It boasts features that are missing from other high-end 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7, such as a mini HMDI port for PC connectivity and a MicroSD card slot for extra storage. Features that are desperately missing from its tablet rivals.

Gamepad 2

But at its core, the GamePad 2 is a gaming tablet with Android tablet functionality. The hardwired buttons to the design make sure of that. This is perhaps where the Wikipad, a gaming tablet with detachable controls, scores some points ahead of Archos's unit.

Granted, the design is bulky and unattractive but it does have the dual functionality that the GamePad 2 lacks. With this in mind, Archos has taken a bit of a gamble by attempting to take on the handheld gaming market, instead of playing it safe like the Wikipad.

Gamepad

Does it work? Yes and no. It's well designed and comfortable to hold, but the Android market place doesn't have the high-quality games you'll get on a PS Vita or 3DS - and at around the same price, it doesn't really stack up.

If you're looking purely at Android gaming, the GamePad 2 makes perfect sense. If you're looking at the wider handheld market, however, this device isn't going to compete.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Green CompliantYes
Flash Memory Capacity8 GB
Processor ManufacturerRockchip
Graphics Controller ManufacturerARM
Graphics Controller ModelMali 400
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
HDMIYes
Product FamilyThemed
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
Processor ModelRK3188
Operating SystemAndroid 4.2 Jelly Bean
Brand NameArchos
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeCortex A9
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory2 GB
Weight (Approximate)440 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height154.4 mm
Width200.5 mm
Depth9.9 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerArchos Technology
Product ModelGamePad 2
Product NameThemed GamePad 2 Tablet
Product LineThemed
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part Number502465
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.archos.com
Marketing Information

ARCHOS is proud to release its second generation of tablet made for Gamers - the ARCHOS GamePad 2. Taking the gaming tablet concept even further with features such as HD screen, faster processor, greater game compatibility, longer battery-life, the ARCHOS GamePad 2 brings to the Android universe a high-performance gaming-tablet hybrid.

Designed for gaming

With its 7 inch HD IPS Screen, powerful quad-core processor, larger battery and it's completely redesigned buttons and thumbsticks for physical gaming, the ARCHOS GamePad 2 is made with gaming in mind.

Package Contents
  • Themed GamePad 2 Tablet
  • AC Adapter
  • USB Data Cable
  • Documentation
Limited Warranty1 Year