Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition) vs Archos GamePad: Gaming Performance, Benchmarks and Battery Life

Posted by B. Johnson
Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition) vs Archos GamePad: Gaming Performance, Benchmarks and Battery LifeThe very first time Google Nexus 7 got unveiled at Google I/O conference in 2012, one thing that really stole my attention the most from this tablet was definitely its processor.

So as many of you already know, Google Nexus 7 is powered Nvidia’s mobile processor called Tegra 3. And this processor is not just an ordinary processor because Tegra 3 is coupled with a staggering 12-core GeForce ULP GPU.

That’s why any tablet that is running on this processor is undoubtedly really fast and also powerful for handling any graphics-related tasks, including games.

So today, I would like to compare this Google’s tablet against other tablet which I think will also be an equal challenger for Google Nexus 7, especially for gaming.

But the challenger today is not going to be an ordinary tablet because the tablet that I want to pit side-by-side with Google Nexus 7 is actually a real gaming tablet from Archos.

Of course, you probably know it already. Yes – that’s right! It is Archos GamePad.

Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition) vs Archos GamePad benchmarks and gaming performance

So if you want to see how the review between these 2 devices goes, as well as my take on their gaming performances, then without further ado, check this one out, my comparison review between Google Nexus 7 (2012) and Archos GamePad!

Introduction

As the first tablet in Nexus family, I think Google really nailed it when making Google Nexus 7. I mean, even in the first attempt, this Google Nexus 7 tablet already made such a great impression especially in front of tech geeks all across the world.

It’s great for enjoying media contents like books and movies, it has fast and smooth performance, it has an appealing design, it’s solid in battery life and it’s also really powerful when it comes to playing games.

However, as a great and powerful gaming device, there is something missing about this tablet, especially in terms of gaming experience. And is the absence of physical gaming controllers.

I know that you can pair any of Android tablets including Google Nexus 7 with 3rd party gaming controller like MOGA for example so you can play Android games more comfortably.

But this separate gaming controller costs extra money that is not cheap. So this is why Archos GamePad series comes to existence.

Through Archos GamePad series, Archos wants to provide users with more reliable gaming devices on Android platform that are not only capable to play Android games perfectly, but also the ones that can make the gaming experience itself more pleasing and enjoyable for gamers.

Unlike other regular Android tablets out there, Archos GamePad actually falls in totally unique category on tablet market.

This tablet is actually pretty similar, as a matter of fact, almost identical in terms of design concept with Sony PlayStation Vita.

So besides the touch screen input method, this tablet also comes with the physical gaming buttons from analog sticks, D-Pad, regular gaming buttons and even the trigger shoulder buttons.

But the great thing about Archos GamePad is actually not only about its gaming controllers, but also its gaming performance, which we’ll get more on that later.

But the questions remain. With all of the great gaming performances on both tablets, as well as great gaming experience on Archos Gamepad, which one between Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad that deserves to take the crown here as the best gaming tablet in this comparison review?

Which one is the better tablet in the whole aspect?

Is it worth it to buy any of these devices, especially for playing Android games?

If you wanna know the answers of these 3 little questions, be sure to stick around because you're gonna find out more on that right at the end of this review!

Design

As far as the design goes, I’ve got to say that Archos Gamepad really steals my attention here compared to Google Nexus 7.

And that’s obviously because this Archos tablet is equipped with the real actual gaming controllers all over the place, from the front side, the shoulder side and the rear cover as well.

Not to mention, I also like the fact that Archos Gamepad also features the dual-front-firing speaker grilles similar just like the ones found on Nvidia Shield Tablet or HP Slate7 Extreme.

And this totally brings much better and louder sound quality, making the experience of playing games or watching movies on this device more immersive and realistic.

As for Google Nexus 7, I also think that this Google’s tablet also has its own strength when it comes to design and build quality.

I mean, Google Nexus 7 looks appealing but still has its own characteristics compared to other regular 7-inch tablets out there that mostly look really generic.

It may not use the premium aluminum materials just like iPad mini, but in my opinion, the design of Google Nexus 7 still looks nice and premium.

In fact, according to many tech reviewers on YouTube, this tablet feels really comfortable to hold in the hands, mostly thanks to the rubberized matte finish on the rear side.

However, between the 2, I will side on Archos GamePad here clearly because this tablet features physical gaming controllers, while Google Nexus 7 don't.

I also love the dual-front-firing speakers found on the front-side of Archos Gamepad, which can be really important to improve the gaming and movie-watching experiences through great sound quality.

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Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition)Archos GamePad
Released in July 2012
7.0 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, (~216 ppi pixel density)
1.2 MP front-facing camera
Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
ULP GeForce GPU
1GB RAM
Android OS 4.1 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to 4.4.2 Android KitKat
8/16GB/32GB Internal
No microSD card slot
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth
NFC
USB
Infrared
GPS
No GPRS
No EDGE
No Radio
No Java
Non-removable Li-Ion 4325 mAh battery
Dimensions: 4.6" x 9.0" x 0.6"
Weight: 330g (11.6 oz)
Display: 7-inch IPS (1024 x 600) capacitive
OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
CPU: 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 (dual-core)
GPU: Mali-400 MP4 (quad-core)
3D OpenGL (ES 2.0)
1GB of RAM
Internal storage: 8GB
MicroSD external storage (Up to 32GB)
Front-facing camera
Video playback: Up to 1080p @ 30 fps
Wi-Fi
Connections: USB 2.0, Mini HDMI
3.5mm audio port
Analog thumb sticks
G-sensor
Built-in microphone
Internal: Lithium Polymer battery (non-removable)

Being a tablet that is heavily promoted by Google as a gaming tablet, of course Google Nexus 7 should have the sufficient power to handle heavy games, right?

The good thing is, you totally got it here on Google Nexus 7 as this tablet is powered by Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, which is aggressively marketed by Nvidia as a gaming processor.

The Tegra 3 processor found inside Google Nexus 7 is a quad-core CPU, coupled with a staggering 12-core GeForce ULP GPU.

Not to mention, 1GB of RAM is provided to ensure its smooth and lag-free performance, especially for playing games and multitasking.

However, besides having powerful CPU and GPU, there are still some great goodies to appreciate on Google Nexus 7, like its 7-inch display with 720p HD resolution, appealing design, 1.2MP front-facing camera, 4325mAh battery, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (upgradeable to Android 4.4.2 KitKat) and some other standard features like NFC, Infrared, GPS and more.

Unfortunately though, there’s no microSD card slot found on Google Nexus 7. So if you pick up the basic 8GB of model (out of 16 and 32GB models), you must be willing to delete your existing media files or games whenever you’re running out of storage space.

Meanwhile, on Archos Gamepad, you will surely get a much bigger storage as this tablet is equipped with microSD card slot for up to 32GB to accompany its 8GB of internal storage.

Compared to Google Nexus 7, however, Archos Gamepad can be considered as a lower-end model here especially because it comes with a lower-resolution display (1024x600 pixels) than the one found on Google Nexus 7 (1280x800 pixels).

But in terms of performance, Archos Gamepad still looks pretty shiny thanks to the dual-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 and Mali 400 GPU, which both surely have no problem to handle many heavy games perfectly.

Not to mention, it also has 1GB of RAM. And I believe it’s still more than enough to handle heavy games especially because it comes with almost stock Android OS, which doesn't consume a lot of memory (RAM).

Unfortunately, just like Google Nexus 7, this Archos tablet has no rear-facing camera. So if you’re really into photography, you might want to switch to other tablets.

Overall, I think Archos Gamepad and Google Nexus 7 are still pretty good tablets, but of course in the price range around $130 to $200.

They may not have a rear facing camera, but with their awesome gaming performances, you can play many 3D Android games on any of these devices.

Screen

Of course, Google Nexus 7 looks really superior with its sharper 720p resolution on its 7-inch display, as opposed to the lower-resolution 1024x600 pixels found on the 7-inch screen of Archos Gamepad.

So when it comes to screen sharpness, there’s no single doubt that Google Nexus 7 is the clear winner here compared to Archos tablet.

And the screen of Google Nexus 7 also looks really nice especially for enjoying media entertainment contents, as told by many reviews on YouTube (PhoneArena, MKBHD, theVerge).

So this tablet can be a really ideal device to read books, watch movies, browse the web and of course, play games.

But even so, despite having lower resolution display than Google Nexus 7, there’s actually great thing of using this lower-resolution display on Archos Gamepad. And that is its efficiency with the use of battery life.

So Archos Gamepad is powered by a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor with the clock speed of 1.6GHz, which on paper, is definitely not as powerful as the Tegra 3 quad-core processor found inside Google Nexus 7.

However, by using a lower-resolution display, not only does this tablet have fast and smooth performance, but this also helps this tablet to last longer because its processor and GPU is not tasked to execute a lot of pixels on its screen.

So as a result, Archos Gamepad is gonna be fast and powerful especially for gaming, but it’s also more efficient with the use of battery.

User Interface

Similar just like the rest of Nexus devices, Google Nexus 7 still keeps the tradition going with the pure stock Android UI without any heavy customizations from the manufacturer, or in this case, Asus, which uses heavily-customized UIs on most of its devices.

The same thing happens on Archos Gamepad as this tablet is also using the standard Android UI just like Google Nexus 7.

So basically, if you’re already familiar with the entire look and features found on standard Android UI, then you will feel at home when using any of these devices.

So there are the standard homescreen, app drawer, notification window, Google pre-loaded apps and many other more.

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Gaming has always been one of the most favorite things to do on any tablets, either powerful or even less powerful ones.

And the great thing is, both Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad are more than capable to accommodate that purpose very well with their hardware specs.

But the question is, which one is more powerful in gaming performance?

Well, in order to get the answer of that question, we need to examine some of the variables that must be taken into account in order to see which one of these devices deserves to be the best gaming tablet in this review.

But let’s start first with Google’s tablet.

The first-gen Google Nexus 7 is powered by Nvidia’s latest and greatest in 2012, Tegra 3 processor, which has 4 cores and a staggering 12-core GeForce ULP GPU.

The processor has the clock speed of 1.2GHz per core, but it is more than sufficient to deliver a fast and lag-free performance especially for basic daily tasks.

Archos Gamepad, on the other hand, is equipped with a dual-core ARM-based Cortex A9 processor clocked at 1.6GHz per core, which doesn’t seem so powerful compared to Tegra 3 processor inside Google Nexus 7 that has 4 cores.

It goes the same with its Mali-400 MP4 GPU of Archos Gamepad which is definitely on the same level of graphical performance on the 12-core GPU inside Google Nexus 7.

However, in the real world performance, both of these tablets are actually pretty equal when it comes to gaming.

And that’s shown perfectly when these 2 tablets are thrown with some of the most graphically-demanding games on Android.

Google Nexus 7, as I’ve already seen on YouTube, has all the capability to ‘execute’ many heavy 3D games from Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, Dead Trigger, Need for Speed Most Wanted, HORN, GTA Vice City, ShadowGun Deadzone to even Asphalt 8: Airborne.

And all of these games run perfectly even in full highest graphics.

However, Asphalt 8: Airborne doesn’t play very smooth on this device, although it’s still playable in full graphics. Sadly, GTA San Andreas runs really slow when set in highest graphics on Google Nexus 7.

But well, I’m not really surprised about that because this GTA San Andreas also runs extremely laggy even on the second-gen Google Nexus 7 (which comes with a more powerful GPU).

So if you are a huge fan of this GTA San Andreas and wanting to play it on the first-gen Google Nexus 7, well, you must be willing to set this game in medium or even low graphics in order to play it in smooth performance without any lag on this device.

Meanwhile, Archos GamePad, despite not being as popular as Google Nexus 7 on tablet market, this tablet amazingly is also impressive just like Google’s tablet in gaming performance.

And I think that is so weird because Archos Gamepad, the first-generation, is only powered by an older-gen Mali-400 MP4 GPU, as opposed to Google Nexus 7 that is armed with Tegra 3 processor, which is a newer-gen processor and heavily promoted by Nvidia as gaming processor.

But then again, I’m honestly not really shocked to see the superiority of Archos GamePad in gaming performance here because I’ve already seen a lot how devices with Mali-400 MP4 GPU are mostly great for playing heavy games.

Besides Asphalt 8: Airborne, there are tons of other heavy 3D games that also work perfectly and smoothly on Archos GamePad, even in full graphics.

To name a few, there are: GTA III, The Dark Knight Rises, Dead Trigger and Modern Combat 3. And all of these games not only run smoothly, but they also work perfectly in full graphics.

Unfortunately though, Modern Combat 4 only runs in medium graphics on Archos GamePad. And I also have doubts GTA San Andreas will run smoothly in highest graphics on this tablet.

But even so, I think Archos GamePad is still a pretty good performer here just like Google Nexus 7 in terms of gaming performance.

According to some benchmark tests I’ve stumbled upon around the net, Google Nexus 7 managed to reach 12.703 points on Antutu benchmark.

Meanwhile, one 3D benchmark test called “Epic Citadel” could be played on Google Nexus 7 in 53.6 fps (frame rate per second), which was a pretty good fps score, if not the best.

Sadly, I haven’t managed to find any benchmark tests conducted by Archos GamePad around the net. So I have nothing to share here in this regard.

But if we look at some video reviews showing the gaming performance of this device, then I can rest assure that Archos GamePad is still pretty great for gaming.

And besides, Archos GamePad is equipped with the actual physical gaming controllers, which is something that Google Nexus 7 cannot compete.

And we all know how extremely painful it is to play games on touch screen with virtual on-screen buttons, especially when our fingers get sweaty during the game.

So with the existence of these physical gaming controllers on Archos GamePad, not only is the gaming experience on this tablet more immersive and enjoyable, but they also give gamers a more reliable device to play their favorite games comfortably.

However, despite all of greatness of gaming experience found on Archos Gamepad, there’s still something that holds back this tablet from being a great gaming device.

And that is actually, its gaming performance.

So, okay, Archos GamePad may be capable to run some latest and graphically demanding games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Dead Trigger, GTA III or The Dark Knight Rises, even in full graphics.

However, for other newer games like Modern Combat 4, this tablet sadly ONLY has the power to play this game in medium graphics, not in full graphics, as seen on YouTube.

So there will be no fire effects, smoke effects or reflections on guns found in the full graphics version.

And this really sucks because in my opinion, this is actually the one that really makes Modern Combat 4 really fun to play, an FPS game with gorgeous visual effects and graphics.

Therefore, if you want to get a much better more powerful Archos GamePad tablet, I strongly recommend you to pick up the second-gen version, Archos Gamepad 2, as this model is way more powerful to play games than the predecessor.

But of course, if you’re looking for a more powerful tablet but you’re willing to let the physical gaming controllers go, then you can aim your target at either Nvidia Shield Tablet with Tegra K1, HP Slate7 Extreme, Xiaomi MiPad 7.9, HP Slate8 Pro or Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.

These tablets may not have the physical gaming controllers, but you can literally play any games in smooth lag-free performance on any of these devices.

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. :)

Cameras

In photography department, sadly either Google Nexus 7 (2012) or Archos Gamepad has NO rear-facing camera. So if you’re really into taking photos or recording videos, you might want to go with other tablets.

The good thing though, there’s still front-facing cameras found on both Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad. So you can still count on it whenever you want to take selfies or do video calls with your family.

Battery Life

With a 4325mAh battery inside Google Nexus 7, you can be sure that this tablet is more than capable to accommodate your hobby of watching movies, browsing the net, reading books and even playing games in pretty good long hours.

According to battery benchmark test held by some various tech site, Google Nexus 7 has a really solid 9 hours and 49 minutes of battery life in moderate use.

So you expect to see this tablet last all day long without needing to recharge it during the day. But of course, that only happens in moderate use.

If you are a power user, however, and you usually use a tablet to do some heavy stuff without stopping, for example like playing some heavy games in the row or watching movies in marathon, then its battery life would surely drop drastically to less than 5 hours.

But I think Google Nexus 7 is still a great tablet with impressive battery life especially because it comes with the stock Android OS, which is not power hungry, and it also sports 720p resolution display.

So this really helps a lot in giving much longer and more efficient battery life to this tablet, even in heavy use.

As for Archos GamePad, sadly I haven’t found any battery benchmark test conducted by this tablet. In fact, I don’t know exactly the size (mAh) of battery that is powering this tablet. So to be perfectly honest, I have nothing to share here in this matter.

My Personal Opinions

So to sum up this comparison review, let me start it first with Google Nexus 7.

Okay, this tablet, when it came out the first time in 2012, cost $199 for the basic 8GB model. But I believe you can get it now for a much cheaper price, probably less than $150.

Well, if that’s true that this first-gen Google Nexus 7 now costs below $150 on the market right now, then I don’t think this tablet is a good buy for you, especially if you’re looking for a great gaming device.

This Google Nexus 7 may be capable to play some heavy 3D games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, GTA Vice City, Dead Trigger or Need for Speed Most Wanted all in full highest graphics, however some newest game like GTA San Andreas doesn’t run perfectly on this device.

And this really makes buying Google Nexus 7 not the best decision, especially when knowing that this tablet is plagued with some problems, like low quality internal storage that causes lags to its performance over the time, its low RAM, the absence of rear-facing camera and some other issues.

Not to mention, it also doesn’t have microSD card slot. So you cannot put many of your favorite media contents like games or movies on this device, especially if you got the basic small 8GB model.

On the other hand with Google Nexus 7, if you buy Archos GamePad instead, you can still get some great stuff that cannot be found on Google’s tablet, like of course, the physical gaming controllers that will surely make the gaming experience more immersive and enjoyable.

And then, it also has microSD card slot for up to 32GB to accompany the small 8GB of internal storage.

So you are able to fill this device with a lot of media contents especially games without worrying about running out of storage space.

Archos Gamepad may not have the rear facing camera (Google Nexus 7 also doesn’t have it by the way), and it also comes with a lower-resolution display than Google’s tablet, but with better gaming experience and performance, as well as bigger storage space, you are definitely on the right track if you pick up this Archos GamePad instead of Google Nexus 7 as your gaming tablet.

But of course, Archos Gamepad is still not the best option here especially if you’re looking for a more reliable gaming tablet in mid-end 7-inch category.

And that’s because there are still many other better and more powerful offerings on the market right now like Nvidia Shield Tablet with Tegra K1, Xiaomi MiPad 7.9, HP Slate7 Extreme, HP Slate8 Pro or Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 that will perfectly accommodate your hobby of playing 3D games.

Besides, you can also switch to Archos GamePad 2 instead. Even though this sequel model still doesn’t have a rear-facing camera, almost everything on this device is so much better than the first-gen Archos GamePad.

I mean, it has a much sharper 720p display, more powerful gaming performance, a more elegant and better looking design, it has a bigger battery and it also supports microSD card for up to 64GB.

So you can get a much bigger storage space for all of your favorite games and your favorite media contents like movies, music or books.

Anyway, to end this review, I’ll try to answer some of the questions I’ve previously asked above.

With all of the great gaming performances on both tablets, as well as great gaming experiences, which one between Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad that deserves to take the crown here as the best gaming tablet in this comparison review?

Between the 2, I think I will go with Archos GamePad. And I think it’s really obvious because first of all, this Archos’ tablet has physical gaming controllers, which is really important to enhance the gaming experience on this device.

And second of all, Archos GamePad is also great when it comes to gaming performance as it handles games like Asphalt 8: Airborne in highest graphics.

However, Google Nexus 7 (2013) is also a great powerful gaming tablet. Even more powerful than Archos GamePad because it comes with a much higher resolution display and it’s also capable to play games like Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Dead Trigger or GTA Vice City in full graphics.

But then again, Google Nexus 7 has no physical gaming controllers nor microSD card slot just like the ones found on Archos GamePad.

So if you decide to pick up the basic 16GB model, there’s not much of storage space available for many of your favorite media contents or games.

Not to mention, playing games on Google Nexus 7 probably can be a butt in the ass because virtual on-screen buttons are harder to control, especially when our fingers get all sweaty during the gameplay.

And this totally ruins the whole experience of playing the games over the time.

Which one is the better tablet in the whole aspect?

In the whole aspect, of course I will side on Google Nexus 7 in this regard. And that’s pretty obvious because this Google’s tablet is better in spec sheet than what Archos GamePad has to offer.

It may not have the physical gaming controllers nor microSD card slot like on Archos GamePad.

However, Google Nexus 7 still has a much sharper 1080p display, bigger 2GB of RAM, more powerful gaming performance, better looking design, longer battery life, newer build of Android OS, a rear-facing 5MP camera and it even has fast 4G LTE data connectivity.

So all of these features totally make up the absence of microSD card slot and physical gaming controllers on Google Nexus 7.

Is it worth it to buy any of these devices, especially for playing Android games?

I’ve gotta say yes. Both Google Nexus 7 and Archos GamePad are great for playing games. Google Nexus 7 has the better gaming performance, while Archos GamePad is also a great gaming device thanks to its physical gaming controllers.

But if you ask me, I would recommend you to switch to other options like Nvidia Shield Tablet with Tegra K1, HP Slate7 Extreme, Xiaomi MiPad 7.9, HP Slate8 Pro, Xiaomi Mi Pad or Archos GamePad 2.

Pros and Cons

Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition)

Pros:
  • Great for playing 3D games
  • Fast and smooth performance
  • Stock Android UI
  • Good battery life
Cons:
  • NO rear-facing camera
  • NO microSD card slot
  • Gaming performance is not that powerful anymore for today’s standards
  • Complaints from Google Nexus 7 users about the problems of its internal storage

Archos Gamepad

Pros:
  • It has microSD card slot for up to 32GB
  • Great for playing games, especially with physical gaming controllers
  • More powerful gaming performance than Google Nexus 7
  • Good for watching movies and enjoying media contents
Cons:
  • Gaming performance is not that powerful compared to the second-gen Archos Gamepad 2


Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...
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