Okay, here we go. Prepare for a novel.
First thing I noticed upon turning it on, is you have to hold the power button for 3-5 seconds in order for it to register as being changed from on to off and vice versa. Not a problem actually. I think I may like this, as it wont be so easy to turn off by mistake. Plus in order to turn the device off after holding the button (its actually more of a switch), you then have to confirm on the screen, yes or no. So this might be a good thing. It's defiantly not a bad thing, its just new to me.
The first thing I did after going through the setup screens was to turn on WiFi. It works good once connected to an actual router/network. It doesn't not however auto connect. You have to manually tell it to connect. It does not also allow Ad-hoc out of the box. This is something I will need to use a work around later, as I will need to use my phone as my hot spot quite often. I will not doc it for this, since it is actually geared for home use, and you would not need this option for home use only.
Video quality actually amazed me. It was much sharper than I expected. It is also crystal clear. Looking at the screen head on does have a little glare (might just be due to a new screen) and seems overly bright. But if you tilt it just a little, it looks just as good as my 46" LED LCD Samsung TV. The angle of the kickstand is set at the perfect viewing angle.
The sound quality is sub par. Its perfectly fine for movies and videos. However, music sounds like its muffled. Probably due to cheap speakers. You would assume they would have put decent speakers in the device since it is a home tablet being marketed for multimedia. Not a deal breaker for me, but might be for those who want to use it for what it is intended.
Storage and File sharing.
Connecting to a PC was as you would expect. Quick and painless. However, transferring files to the SD card did not work. Files did not show up. I then reconnected and transferred the files to the devices main storage, and they showed up. But only after 2 full minutes of waiting for them to show up. Maybe this was the case with the SD card. I will have to try that again soon.
The web browser is a little slow. Not sure if this is due to the wifi not being the best of quality, or if its the actually program. Sites do not load slow, but some sites with seem to lag however. Its not a problem, but if you are used to a super fast connection, you will notice it right a way. It is 10X faster than my WM phone howerver (can not wait until that contract is up to change it to an android phone). The browser has no browser bar or functions. Its just point and go, and a back button. I love using it for what I need so far. I specifically wanted this to be able to use full web, like login to control panels, access billing software online, use ssh/ftp and so on. So far I have tested everything but ssh/ftp and it works far better than I could have hoped. This has me longing for the new 101 even more now.
The on screen keyboard is okay. I will say so far is the thing I am not a big fan of. It works. And is responsive if you do not try to type too fast. However, there is no feedback. I love my HTC and my old blackberry because when you pushed a button on the screen it felt like you pushed a real button, and it clicked. I was able to find were to add the click option in, but it still feels like I am just touching the screen. I will get used to this, but I would prefer the other. It could also stand to be a little bigger. The buttons are a fair size in width, but not very tall. They are the exact size of my finger tips, so if I don't push the button center, it delays trying to gauge what button I am pushing. This is fine however, but it does cause a slight slow down. I might also buy a blue tooth mini keyboard for when I need to do a lot of typing with it.
The screen, and the touching of it!
The response is not always the greatest. Some times it will over respond and open something you didn't intend when trying to drag. Other times you will click something and it doesn't respond. Also when trying to drag sot scroll sometimes I will touch and drag the entire screen and it wont move, or it will only move a few inches. Others I touch and barley move and it scrolls all the way to the end. I am not sure why kind of screen this is, but it needs to be improved. This is actually a deal break and a big issue. As this is the devices main input, and actually the only input option. I am sure this can be corrected, so I will have to look into this.
There is also no accelerometer (not sure if that is the right term), so you can only view the screen one way. No changing from landscape to portrait by turning the device. You can however change this in the settings if you need to manually. Not a fan of not having this option, but then again this is only a 7" tab.
Pre loaded Apps.
Aldiko - This is the eReader program. It comes with "The art of War" and "The Invisible Man" free. Clicking on a book takes about 10 seconds to load the book. It auto changes from landscape to portrait, and back again when closing the reader. The screen becomes very (overly) bright when using this app, and I have not found the settings to change this as of yet. I hope there is one, or this app is not usable. The white pages are so bright it hurts to read a full page.
Deezer - Online radio? Didn't want to sign up, and probably wont use it.
eBuddy - A great all in one messaging device. I like this because I use Trillian on my laptop and desktop at home. Both of these allow me to use on program for AIM/MSN/Yahoo/Google Talk and anything else I want.
Appslib - And now the thing that people complain about the most, not having the true Google Android store. Since I myself have never used this, as I have yet to own a true android phone, I do not know what I am missing. And the Appslib looks almost exactly like the AT&T apps store. It also appears to work the same. So since I have been stuck with AT&T for about 8 years, I am very used to this and have no problem with this store. Also everything is free, there are no paid apps. Also, it crashed on me a few times while browsing the available apps, so it does not seem to be all that stable.Odds and Ends.
The back of the Archos 7 Home Tablet is an odd glossy tin sheet. And it holds finger prints and smudges like a badge of honor. If you leave your finger in one spot for too long it almost looks like the heat from your finger turns it a light burnt brown color. This is easily removed by cleaning with a cloth. But its one of those annoying visual things.
Now I need to look and skim for apps, and hopefully find everything I need. Not sure if I want to get to that first, or start looking into using a custom rom to gain ad-hoc, as that is something that will be a must have for me. I guess I have some other threads to read tonight or in the next couple of days. I will also have to check into upgrading to 2.1 if that is possible.
Overall I like it, and will get good use out of it once fully tweaked. That is until the 101 comes out. I will then probably sell this and buy that one.
I would say I give it a 7/10 out of the box. If I am able to do everything to it that I want, I would say an 8.5/10. For those that would buy it to use it as intended, meaning mainly for the multimedia purposes I would say its a 6.5/10. The killer on that is the music software and the speakers.
That's enough for tonight, off to figure out the hacks and ad-hoc setup