Archos GamePad – the Android powered handheld console
Back in August we came across an announcement from Archos. The company was showing off a concept of a gaming tablet, which quite frankly looked just like a concept. Although the device was looking great and was unique enough to catch our attention, we shrugged it off as a “possibility”. So imagine our surprise when after only three months the device is on sale in Europe. The device incorporates traditional physical controls on a touch screen tablet. Say what you want about touch screen gaming, the truth is it can never be as responsive as the PC or the consoles. This is what the Archos GamePad is all about. By slapping physical buttons and analogues to the tablet they are trying to mimic the portability of a handheld and play style of a console. The GamePad is trying to bridge the gap between modern mobile gaming and old timey control system. The device itself has a 7-inch screen which comes at a resolution of 1023 x 600 and it is a 5 point capacitive panel. The interesting parts are the 14 physical buttons and dual analogue sticks. Those who fondle in FPS games on their phone/tablet can truly appreciate what the Gamepad is doing for the gaming community. The 10mm (0.3 inch) thin device which weighs at 330g (0.7 lbs) is light and sturdy enough to be a comfortable gaming console. The design is superb in our books which is both thin and have enough weight to it to feel a premium device. The GamePad is powered by a 1.6 GHz Dual-core CPU and Quad-core Mali 400 MP GPU. There is 1GB of ram and 8GB of internal storage memory. The device also has a microSD card slot to expand the memory up to 64GB. Also included is the Game Mapping tool, uniquely designed to work with the GamePad. It basically allows you to map the on screen keys to the physical ones easily, so you can enjoy playing those games which don’t support GamePad too. The gaming tablet is said to have full access to the Google PlayStore. Also the device runs the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It is currently available at 149.99€ in Europe (£129 in UK). And it’s slated for a Q1 2013 release in the North American markets. Every gamer who wants more “control” over his/her Android games should keep an eye out for this one.