£130 Archos GamePad gaming tablet: Worth a revisit?

Both Amazon and Archos are selling the GamePad, a 7in gaming tablet launched late last year by the French company, for £129.99 with free delivery. That is actually not a bad price for an Android tablet.

Arguably, the GamePad’s unique selling point is its dedicated gaming controls; crucially though, these are also the main weaknesses of the product as we highlighted in a review of the Gamepad published in January.

The GamePad is powered by a dual-core Rockchip RK3066 clocked at 1.6GHz with 1GB of RAM, 8GB onboard storage, Wi-Fi, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a rear and front facing camera, a microSD card slot, Google Play certification and a 7in 1,024 x 600 pixels capacitive display.

Don’t expect a gaming experience on par with the (much more) expensive Sony PS Vita though. Archos’ own spokesperson acknowledged that the company’s first portable gaming console is work in progress and that a recently rolled-out firmware update should solve a number of nagging issues encountered by early adopters.

If gaming is not what you’re after, then you can always grab a slightly dearer but much more powerful Asus Nexus 7 tablet (for around £159) or an Acer Iconia B1 (for £99).

Below is an update from Archos about the firmware update.

Due to a bug in the firmware the over-the-air update isn’t working correctly on the firmware currently installed. It has to be done manually. It is a download from http://www.archos.com/support/support_tech/updates_fwm.html?country=gb&lang=en (choose gamepad).

Drop the img file onto the root of the gamepad, it’ll notice the update and install. Major changes in this firmware are:

- Multiple button press correction (specifically on directional button diagonals)

- Screen flickering

- Stability and fluidity improvements

- Removes lag problems due to thumbsticks in 3D games

- Correction to speaker management in video chat programs