Posted by B. Johnson
Okay, I know that most of today’s flagship tablets, even the budget ones like HP Slate7 Extreme, Google Nexus 7 or Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 are perfectly great when it comes to gaming performance.
They handle most of heavy 3D games smoothly and they are running in full graphics of course.
However, I think there are still many other variables that must be taken into account in order to be great and even perfect gaming tablets.
One of them is definitely the support for the real physical gaming controller.
I know that Nvidia has already shown to the world one of its efforts to make the true gaming tablet by releasing the separate gaming controller for its latest Nvidia Shield Tablet.
And I also know that you can pair any 3rd party gaming controller such as: MOGA gaming controller on any Android device through Bluetooth connection.
However, Nvidia and MOGA are actually not the only ones that have a part in changing how we play games with our Android tablets. There’s another one. And that is (you probably already know it) Archos.
Archos through Archos GamePad series wants to make it easier for Android gamers to play games seamlessly without adding another 3rd party gaming controller to complement your tablets.
And it’s shown perfectly by how this company designs this tablet similar just PSP Vita or to be precise, exactly just like PSP Vita.
So today, I think I want to do another comparison review of Archos GamePad 2. But its challenger today is not going to be a similar tablet just like Archos GamePad, in terms of design.
This is why, in this review, I think Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition) could be a perfect contender for Archos GamePad 2, especially given how these 2 tablets are in my opinion, equal when it comes to gaming performance.
Okay then, if you want to know more about how my review goes between these 2 gaming tablets, then without further ado, here’s my comparison between Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Archos GamePad 2.
Read on and enjoy!
On the second-gen Google Nexus 7, the manufacturer of this device (Asus) made some bold choices especially with the selections of hardware that will be equipped inside this device.
And I can see how Google and Asus are working hard to make this tablet the better version of its predecessor.
But did they succeed? Well, the answer can be between yes and slightly no (in my opinion).
Okay, when it comes to performance, of course Google Nexus 7 is so much faster and powerful especially in handling games.
However, the performance difference of this tablet with its predecessor is actually not quite significant.
And that’s shown perfectly by how the second-gen Google Nexus 7 is not perfect enough to be a gaming tablet (but we’ll get more on that later).
And Google indeed answers some of complaints fired by its users for example by adding a rear-facing camera on the second-gen model (which the first-gen variant doesn’t have it).
But then again, the effort of Google and Asus to improve this tablet seems a little bit halfhearted as the camera of this device has nothing to write home about, especially in terms of quality.
But even so, I think Google and Asus did a great job with this second-gen Google Nexus 7.
- It’s now much faster and more powerful (slightly),
- it has a rear-facing camera,
- it comes pre-installed with the newer software
- and its battery life is also magically improved (despite using a smaller battery capacity than on the predecessor).
And that can be clearly seen by the design of this tablet which combines the regular 7-inch Android tablet with physical gaming controller.
But of course, adding gaming controller on the body of Archos GamePad 2 is not the only effort of Archos in order to make this tablet a true gaming device.
There’s more. And one of them is choosing the right hardware, or in this case, CPU and GPU, that later will make sure that the gaming performance of this device is adequate enough to handle some latest heavy 3D games.
But the questions remain. With the great gaming performances found on both of these tablets, which one between Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Archos GamePad 2 that has what it takes to be the best gaming tablet in this review?
Which one between these 2 devices that deserves to be the best tablet in the whole aspect?
Is it worth it to buy any of these devices, especially for gaming?
Well, you’re about to find out the answers of these questions right at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around!
The design of Google Nexus 7 actually doesn’t get any major improvements over predecessor.
It still has the flat trimm all around the side with the same size of bezels, thick on top and bottom and thin on right and left.
Overall, I think the design of this Google’s tablet already looks nice. But in my opinion, I think Google Nexus 10 made by Samsung looks much sexier than this Asus’ made Nexus 7 especially with its curved design.
On the other hand with Google Nexus 7, the design of Archos GamePad 2 is definitely a huge departure from the predecessor.
And the noticeable difference found on the newer model is definitely on the choice of colors.
Now Archos GamePad 2 looks more elegant and I think, it has a more sophisticated and modern looking design than its predecessor, which looks like some kind of retro Gameboy.
But Archos GamePad 2 totally looks far different with its sibling. As a matter of fact, I think PSP Vita now has a new contender here.
Between the 2, I think both devices look great with their designs.
They look unique (especially Archos GamePad 2) and I think it’s pretty easy to identify both tablets even before the screen is turned on.
So good for them!
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|Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition)||Archos GamePad 2|
|4G LTE |
Released 2013, July
Weight 290 g (Wi-Fi), 299 g (LTE) (10.55 oz)
7.0 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen,
1200 x 1920 pixels, (~323 ppi pixel density), 16M colors
Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait Qualcomm Snapdragon S4Pro Chipset
Adreno 320 GPU
2 GB RAM
Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v5.0 (Lollipop)
5 MP rear-facing camera, 2592 ? 1944 pixels, autofocus
1.2 MP front-facing camera
No Memory Card slot
16/32 GB Internal storage
microUSB v2.0 (SlimPort)
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Sensors
Non-removable Li-Ion 3950 mAh battery
|7-inch 1280 x 800 pixels IPS capacitive display|
Rockchip RK 3188 1.6GHz Quad-core A9 Processor •
Quad-core GPU Mali 400 MP4
Android 4.2, "Jelly Bean"
micro SD up to 64GB formatted to FAT32
0.3MP Front-facing camera
NO rear-facing camera
USB 2.0: Mobile Transfer Protocol
Dual band WiFi
- Two analogue thumb-sticks
- Directional pad
- 6 front facing buttons
- 4 shoulder buttons
- Built-in stereo speakers
HDMI output (Mini HDMI / HDMI cable sold separately)
5000mAh Li-poly battery
On the sector of hardware, I think Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad 2 are both equal, especially for playing games.
However, in some other departments, we can see how these 2 tablets have their own strengths and weaknesses against each other.
First of all, let me start with Archos GamePad 2. Okay, this tablet is a true gaming tablet, mostly thanks to its physical gaming controller, which Google Nexus 7 doesn’t have it.
And then, if we move to the area of performance, this Archos’ tablet is also equipped with some elements that Google’s tablet is undoubtedly lacking, like the microSD card slot and a huge 5000mAh battery.
However, Google Nexus 7 also looks really shiny with its spec sheet, and even shinier compared to Archos GamePad 2.
It features a full HD screen, while Archos GamePad 2 still stands in 720p territory. And then, Google’s tablet also has a 5MP rear-facing camera, which Archos’ tablet doesn’t have it.
Last but not least, there are some other parts that make Archos GamePad 2 look inferior here, like LTE connectivity, not to mention, its processor and GPU can be considered as slightly more powerful than the ones found inside Archos GamePad 2.
But then again, Archos’ device has the actual physical gaming controller, while Google’s tablet doesn’t have it.
And this is really vital especially for a gaming tablet because it’s not a secret anymore that playing games with virtual on-screen buttons are just pain in the ass, especially when our fingers are sweaty (especially on the thumbs' areas).
No doubt about that.
So I think, the weaknesses found on Archos GamePad 2; like the absence of rear-camera, the lower-720p screen resolution and slightly less powerful processor and GPU; they all have been ‘fixed’ by the availability of physical gaming controller on this device.
Between the 2, I think both tablets are great when it comes to hardware. Okay, they may have some weaknesses here and there on some sectors.
But if pitted side-by-side on the same table, both Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad 2 are still on the same level overall.
As mentioned above, in terms of display, Archos GamePad 2 definitely comes second here when compared to Google Nexus 7.
And that’s clearly because it’s only sporting the 720p HD resolution on its 7-inch display, as opposed to the 1080p full HD resolution on the same screen size of Google Nexus 7.
So as far as the screen sharpness is concerned, of course Google Nexus 7 definitely has the edge here compared to Archos’ gaming tablet.
But it’s not just on paper, but also in the real world quality, as seen on many video reviews that I’ve seen across YouTube (PhoneArena and MKBHD)
But even so, having the 720p resolution on a small 7-inch display actually already delivers an eye-pleasing experience for most of users of this tablet.
It still looks pretty sharp, but of course, the pinch-to-zoom gesture will be used a lot here, especially when reading tiny texts on web pages or in books.
The good thing is, Archos GamePad 2 is only powered a Rockchip RK 3188 quad-core A9 processor, which is adequate only to handle 720p resolution.
So the performance will be fast and smooth, plus the 5000mAh battery inside this tablet could last longer, especially for playing heavy games.
On the software side, both Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad 2 come pre-installed with the stock Android UI, which means, both UIs of these devices will not be inundated with too much unnecessary features that users will not use very often in the long run.
And this is great because it will ensure that both of these tablets can perform seamlessly in buttery smooth performance (because there’s not much going on in the memory/RAM), plus more efficient with the use of battery.
However, as Google’s own tablet, of course Nexus 7 will have a more privilege than Archos GamePad 2, especially when it comes to regular software updates in the future.
So no wonder if Google Nexus 7 became the world’s first tablet shipping with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box.
Meanwhile, Archos GamePad 2 comes second with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
However, as a true dedicated gaming tablet, of course there will be some pre-loaded features found on Archos' device especially gaming-related apps like Game Hub or GameZone app, similar just what Nvidia puts on its Shield Tablet.
But I believe it’s not going to consume a lot of space in its storage or memory.
Between the 2, I think both tablets are equally great on the sector of software. It’s the stock version of Android OS with less-aggressive customizations so it’s not gonna burden a lot any of these devices, especially when they are tasked with so many apps at once.
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So what do we have here? Okay, first, let me begin with the second-gen Google Nexus 7.
This Google’s official tablet is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, coupled with Adreno 320 GPU, while 2GB of RAM is provided to give a huge space of memory for apps and tasks to load in the system.
And this Nexus 7 is also sporting the full HD display, as opposed to 720p display on Archos GamePad 2.
So in the whole performance department, of course Google Nexus 7 is more prominent than Archos’ tablet in this review.
But as far as the gaming performance is concerned, Google Nexus 7 actually falls between ‘good’ and ‘not that good’ areas.
I mean, this Google’s tablet may be capable to deliver the best performance when thrown with some latest heavy games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 5, NOVA 3, GTA Vice City, Dead Trigger 2 or Need for Speed Most Wanted, even in full highest graphics.
Unfortunately, in one video review I’ve seen on YouTube (on Chris Nacca‘Oode’s YouTube channel), Google Nexus 7 really struggles a lot when playing one of the heaviest games on Google Play Store – GTA San Andreas.
This game is really sluggish in performance and pretty much, this game is not playable in full highest graphics, probably below 20 fps/frame per second (if I’m not mistaken).
But the good thing is, this game provides users the options to set the graphics to lower level.
So you’re still able to play this game on Google Nexus 7, even though in low graphics setting.
Meanwhile, as for Archos GamePad 2, this game is actually ‘on the same page’ with Google’s tablet.
I mean – okay, Google Nexus 7 may have the new-gen GPU (Adreno 320) compared to Archos GamePad 2 that is only equipped with Mali-400 MP4 GPU, which has widely used on oldest-gen Android devices.
But impressively, Archos manages to make this Mali-400 MP4 quad-core GPU capable to perform just like some new generation GPUs on other flagship devices.
And that’s shown perfectly when this tablet is tasked to run heavy games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, Need for Speed Most Wanted and Dead Trigger 2.
And not so surprisingly, this Archos’ tablet manages to swallow all of these games without any problem whatsoever.
The games run smoothly and they all are set in full highest graphics. I know this because I’ve already seen it on YouTube.
However, I don’t think Archos GamePad 2 is capable to handle GTA San Andreas smoothly in full highest graphics.
But I’m quite sure that this game can still be played on this device, but only in medium to low graphics setting.
I actually used to see one smartphone from Huawei (Huawei Honor 3X if I’m not mistaken) run this game in medium graphics. This smartphone is also powered by Mali-400 GPU and the game was running smoothly.
Not to mention, it’s also able to perform well when playing Modern Combat 5 in high graphics (not sure if its full graphics or just high graphics setting).
So I can assume that the Mali-400 MP4 quad-core GPU inside Archos GamePad 2 is also more than happier to handle games like Modern Combat 5 or GTA San Andreas, although the latter is not going to run in full highest graphics.
Between the 2, I think I have to side on Archos GamePad 2 as the best gaming tablet in this review.
And it’s mostly because this Archos’ tablet is not only powerful in performance, but it’s also equipped with the actual physical gaming controller, while Google Nexus 7 doesn’t have it.
So this really adds a lot of points to Archos GamePad 2 in this comparison review, especially in gaming experience as a whole.
Okay, Google Nexus 7 may have some high-grade hardware (like full HD display and Adreno 320 GPU), but Archos GamePad 2 also has a powerful gaming performance just like Google Nexus 7. Plus, it has physical gaming controller.
So I think it’s really easy to take conclusion that Archos GamePad 2 is a more all-around gaming tablet than Google Nexus 7.
Anyway guys, if you want to know more about their gaming performances, including what games that will run on these tablets, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)
Google Nexus 7 may not be the perfect gaming tablet just like Archos GamePad 2 in this review.
But when it comes to taking photos or recording videos, this tablet is definitely up for that task.
And that’s because it has a 5MP rear-facing camera, coupled with another 1.3MP on the front to do selfies or video calls.
So if you love photography, then you can count on this tablet to accommodate your hobby.
However, it’s worth mentioning that even though Google Nexus 7 is equipped with a 5MP rear camera, there are many video reviews across YouTube that are disappointed by its camera quality.
MKBHD, theVerge and PhoneArena are some of them. According to these reviewers, the camera of Google Nexus 7 leaves a lot to be desired.
This really shows that megapixel count doesn’t have anything to do with picture or video quality.
And we can see how Apple iPad with its 5MP iSight camera is more reliable to take great photos and videos than the 5MP rear-shooter on Nexus 7.
But apart from that, I think we should appreciate what Google and Asus provide on this device. I mean, Archos GamePad 2 doesn’t have a rear-facing camera (only 0.3MP front camera).
So even though the quality is nowhere to be found here on Google Nexus 7, at least it might come in handy in case you forgot to bring your digital camera/smartphone at your disposal.
One of the strongest points on Google Nexus 7 is definitely its battery life.
So Google Nexus 7 is powered by 3950mAh battery, which is smaller than the one found inside the first-gen Google Nexus 7 (4325mAh).
But the thing that really impresses me a lot is, despite using a smaller battery capacity, not to mention, a higher resolution display than predecessor (1080p vs 720p), this Google Nexus 7 is still capable to last really long in mixed usage.
That’s proved by how Google’s tablet is capable to survive around 8 hours and 30 minutes, slightly on the same level as the battery life of Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7.
So kudos to Asus and Google for being able to improve the battery life of this tablet without compromising other important sectors, like display or software!
The display is now much sharper and its UI also has more added features.
Meanwhile, Archos GamePad 2 is also not too shabby at all when it comes to longevity of its battery life.
It’s powered by a huge 5000mAh battery and this is considered as really huge for a 7-inch tablet, especially compared to Google’s tablet that has a tiny little 3950mAh battery inside.
According to what Archos states on its website, this tablet is really strong in terms of battery life.
Even for playing heavy games, there are many hours provided on this tablet for users before it begs to be recharged.
However, according to one review I stumbled upon across the web, I found that the battery life of Archos GamePad 2 was not that great, especially for playing games.
So I’m not sure who’s right and wrong here.
So you better get more information about this matter first before deciding to buy this tablet because battery life is really vital especially for playing games.
I mean, I don’t think you want to buy a gaming tablet that’s not gonna last for more than 3 hours. It’s gonna so frustrating over the time.
My Personal Opinions
So to sum up, between Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad 2, I think both tablets are great. No argue about that.
Google Nexus 7 has:
- an insanely sharp display (1080p),
- a huge 2GB of RAM,
- a rear-facing 5MP camera,
- a new Android software (plus future software updates directly from Google),
- solid build quality, smooth experience,
- fast internet connection (LTE),
- strong battery life
- and the most importantly, great gaming performance (if not the best).
On the other hand, Archos GamePad 2 may not have the full HD display just like Nexus 7 or a 5MP rear-facing camera, but this Archos’ tablet really excels on some other important sectors.
- It has great design,
- powerful gaming performance,
- microSD card slot, a huge battery,
- 2GB of RAM,
- fast and smooth performance with stock Android UI
- and the most importantly, Archos GamePad 2 is equipped with the real physical gaming controller and microSD card slot, which Google Nexus 7 doesn’t have them.
But at the end of the day, I believe the decision to buy any of these devices will come down to yourself according to your personal preference and needs.
I mean, if you’re looking for a true gaming tablet with the real gaming controller (without buying a separate 3rd party controller like MOGA), then you’re in the right track if you decide to buy Archos GamePad 2.
However, if you don’t mind not having the real gaming controller on your tablet, then Google Nexus 7 is also a great choice, especially in the price range around $229.
But if you ask me, I will strongly recommend you to switch to other options like Nvidia Shield Tablet or Xiaomi MiPad as these 2 tablets are more powerful in gaming performance and they are actually not expensive (Nvidia Shield Tablet = $199 and Xiaomi MIPad = $250).
They're both actually my top recommendations for great gaming tablets in the price range below $250.
Anyway, to wrap up this comparison review, I will try to answer some of the questions I’ve previously asked above. Here you go!
Which one between Google Nexus 7 (2013) and Archos GamePad 2 that has what it takes to be the best gaming tablet in this review?
As mentioned above, I think Archos GamePad 2 is more reliable as a gaming tablet.
And that’s obviously because it has physical gaming controller and it’s also powerful in handling heavy 3D games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3 and many more.
Meanwhile, Google Nexus 7 is also great for playing games as it handles all the aforementioned games above perfectly and of course, in full graphics.
But if compared to Archos GamePad 2, of course this Google’s tablet is not going to be as impressive as Archos’ tablet because playing Android games with on-screen virtual buttons is not really comfortable, especially when our fingers get really sweaty.
Which one between these 2 devices that deserves to be the best tablet in the whole aspect?
I think both Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad 2 are equally great in the whole aspect.
Okay, Google Nexus 7 may have a much sharper display, newer Android software, a rear-facing camera and newer-gen CPU & GPU.
However, Archos GamePad 2 has the physical gaming controller, microSD card slot and huge battery.
So I think they both are on the same level in the whole aspect.
Is it worth it to buy any of these devices, especially for gaming?
I’m gonna say yes, but only if you have limited budget at your disposal (around $229).
And that’s because in the price range around $199 to $250, you can actually get a much better gaming tablet like Nvidia Shield Tablet or Xiaomi MiPad (or even HP Slate7 Extreme or HP Slate8 Pro)
Okay, Xiaomi MiPad and Nvidia Shield Tablet tablet may not have the actual physical gaming controller just like Archos GamePad 2, but with this tablet, you can throw absolutely any games and play them all in perfectly smooth performance.
All thanks to its Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and 192-core Kepler GPU found inside these 2 tablets, which are insanely powerful for gaming.
And besides, Nvidia also releases an official gaming controller for its Shield Tablet. So you can still get the same and even better gaming experience through any of these devices.
Pros and Cons
Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition)
- Good gaming device with solid performance
- Smooth experience with stock vanilla Android OS
- It now has a rear-facing camera (5MP), as opposed to the predecessor that has NO rear camera
- Better looking design
- Sharper and gorgeous full HD display
- Regular software updates from Google
- It's great for its low price point
- Solid battery life
- It's not as powerful as other rivals on low-end tablet market
- NO microSD card slot
- Design is not as premium as other flagship devices like iPad mini or Samsung GALAXY Tab S
Archos GamePad 2
- It has microSD card slot
- Stock Android OS
- Sophisticated looking design
- Great gaming performance
- Made for gaming thanks to its physical gaming controllers
- Huge 5000mAh battery
- NO rear-facing camera
- It's not that powerful compared to other flagship tablets with NO gaming controllers
- Average battery life especially for gaming (according to some reviews)
Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...