Archos is calling the 43 an ‘internet tablet’. We can’t help thinking that’s a rather grandiose description of a smartphone-sized portable with a 4.3in screen.
Semantics aside, the 43 is an Android device with extensive functionality. It comes with 16GB of memory, an HD camera/camcorder (maximum resolution 1280 x 720), and features a suite of apps including web browser and email, music, video and photo applications and an HDMI output for connection to a big screen.
It’s also packing Samba and UPnP protocols, so you can stream music and video from a remote storage device.
We’re primarily concerned with picture and sound quality, but first a word about the Archos’s interface. That word is ‘poor’. Devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S have primed us for an experience as slick and smooth as the Apple system, but the 43’s implementation is coarse and imprecise.
Musically, the Archos doesn’t offend – but music files heard via the supplied headphones are, by the standards of its competitors, short on detail and rather vague. It slaps, rather than punches, and music is short of drive and focus as a result.
Video content fares a little better. Images are bright and reasonably sharp – and the screen is just about big enough to make watching a TV program more of a pleasure than a chore. Overall, though, the Archos 43 is too compromised to recommend.