Archos Gamepad 2 review: a gaming dedicated tablet for heavy gamers

Written by B Johnson June 07, 2014
Archos Gamepad 2 Specs
Just a while ago, i’ve already showed you one Archos tablet which i thought could be a good gaming tablet. In fact, it is a great gaming tablet.

(Archos Gamepad 2 Specs)

That tablet was Archos Gamepad, which actually is a normal 7-inch Android tablet, just like any other Android tablets you see around the market today, but one thing that makes this Archos Gamepad so special compared to counterparts is definitely its design.

Using the same design concept of PlayStation Vita, Archos Gamepad is made by Archos similar just like that Sony’s gaming handheld - with the 7-inch touch screen on the front, accompanied with the physical gaming controller on the left and right, as well as the analogue joysticks, D-Pad, regular gaming buttons and that gaming “feel” and “grip” on the rear-cover – all united into one portable gaming device.

Archos Gamepad 2 benchmarks and gaming performance
For me personally, i think Archos Gamepad is actually pretty unique (but not that unique given that Sony already uses this design concept on PlayStation Vita), especially around tablet market because until today (if i’m not mistaken), i believe there is no other tablets that have the same exact design just like Archos Gamepad.

And that’s bad because there will be no significant improvements made in this tablet category (Android gaming handheld-tablet) in the near future.

I really hope more and more tablet manufacturers will be brave enough to jump to the same bandwagon as Archos to release the similar devices just like Archos Gamepad.

I think that would be cool to see tablets like HP Slate 7 Extreme or NVIDIA Tegra Note with the same physical gaming controller.

I mean, Tegra 4 processor – which is a beast for gaming – plus the actual gaming controller (as well as their stylus), that would be a perfect match.

So users can have more reliable tablet that is able to embrace many types of users, from note-tablet-users, gaming-tablet-users and even tablet users general.

Okay, enough talking!

Anyway, besides Archos Gamepad, interestingly, Archos still has another card under its sleeve.

And this one is actually the sequel model of Archos Gamepad, called Archos Gamepad 2 (duh!).

And as the next-gen model, then it’s really obvious that this sequel will bring some bumped up specs here and there under the hood. However, the most prominent change made by Archos on this second-gen model is definitely its design.

Compared to the predecessor model with its uninspiring design, Archos Gamepad 2 now has more matured - if you would - and more sophisticated design.

I personally think Archos Gamepad 2 has more gaming feel and look than the previous-gen model.

However, they both are still the same exact looking tablets – with the same 7-inch touch screen, united gaming controller and gaming grip on the rear-cover -, which are some of key ingredients of a great gaming handheld.

Okay then, if you’re interested to get to know more about this gaming handheld, then don’t be hesitant to check out my personal review of Archos Gamepad 2 in the following below.

But before heading straight to the review, i just want to say that, if you feel that this review is really helpful and worth sharing, then it would mean a lot to me and this community if you could spend just few seconds to share this article to your friends or family by using the social media icons around this page (Twitter, Facebook, Google +).

I would really appreciate it a lot.


The first-gen Archos Gamepad, according to my personal review, is definitely one of the best gaming tablets around.

In fact, given its design, dedicated gaming controller and gaming “feel and experience”, i have no doubt to say that this tablet is probably the best gaming tablet around the market to date.

I know that – in terms of performance, then Archos Gamepad without a doubt will be blown out of the water by the other 7-inch rivals across the market, like Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire 7 HDX, HP Slate 7 Extreme, NVIDIA Tegra Note, LG G Pad 8.3 or iPad mini 2.

Archos Gamepad 2 Specs

However, the thing that makes Archos Gamepad the true winner in gaming-tablet category is definitely its dedicated gaming controller of course.

Let’s face the fact here – playing games with on-screen virtual buttons can be really painful, right?.

I even heard many times that most users don’t really like playing some serious hardcore games like Modern Combat 4, Dead Trigger 2, N.O.V.A 3 or GTA games using the touch screen because the on-screen virtual buttons are not so comfortable to press, with many of them usually pressing the wrong buttons or the wrong areas of the buttons especially when looking seriously at the gameplay screen – and the buttons of some games are really tiny (*cough* GTA III *cough*).

So Archos Gamepad definitely more than deserves to grab the crown in this tablet category.

After releasing the Archos Gamepad, apparently Archos has no plan to stop this tablet series as this manufacturer decides to release the sequel model - Archos Gamepad 2.

As the next-gen model, then it’s so obvious that Archos will bump up some of the sectors on the predecessor.

As a matter of fact, not only does it get spec upgrades, Archos Gamepad 2 also gets a design overhaul compared to the previous model.

Now the next-gen Archos Gamepad 2 has more matured and more sophisticated-looking design, unlike the predecessor that has some old-school-retro-gaming-handheld design.

And that’s good because, this tablet, i mean gaming tablet – if you would -, will go head-to-head with other gaming handhelds across the same category.

Actually, there’s only one device that has the same concept design of Archos Gamepad 2.

And that is no other than the well-known Sony PlayStation Vita, which also has the standard touch screen plus, the gaming controller area on the left and right sides.

Of course, in terms of specs and gaming performance, without a doubt Sony PlayStation will blow Archos Gamepad 2 out of the water in the speed of light.

And that’s because if you compare the actual games on Sony’s gaming handheld and on Archos Gamepad 2 – which are Android-based games -, then Sony PlayStation Vita is definitely the winner here.

It has the console-quality games (yeah, the real console-quality games with current-gen console-quality graphics), like Uncharted, Need for Speed and many more.

On the other hand, most of Android games are still developing to the much higher level than old-generation console games, like GTA III, GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, Max Payne I and other old-gen console/PC titles.

So it’s still too early to say that Android games have reached that console-quality level. Maybe in the next 1 year, but it’s clearly not now yet.

Therefore, given that this tablet is an Android-based tablet, then it should be positioned as the challenger of other tablets of course, not Sony PlayStation Vita, even though both devices share the same design language.

But the real question is, as an Android gaming tablet, does Archos Gamepad 2 stack up against other regular tablets on the market to date, especially in terms of performance?

Well, we’re about to find out about that in this review.

Anyway, if you like what i’ve delivered to you on this website, including this review, then it would mean a lot to me (and this community as well) if you could just spend few seconds to share this article to your friends or family by using the social media icons around this page.

I would really appreciate it a lot. Thanks.


As i already mentioned above, when it comes to design, then it’s really obvious for us to see that Archos Gamepad 2 definitely uses the same concept design of Sony PlayStation Vita – no doubt about that.

They both have the touch screen, the regular gaming controller on the left and right sides, and the most importantly, they both also have the same feel of gaming handheld and especially grip on the rear-side.

And that’s good because it could enrich the Android device ecosystem – that mostly are just regular Android tablets with standard touch screen design - and hopefully could create a new market for this Android-based gaming handheld in the near future.

Archos Gamepad 2 Review and Gaming Performance
The Real Gaming Tablet?

Archos Gamepad 2 Review and Gaming Performance
Regular Android tablet with Gaming Controller
And if this market took off, more tablet manufacturers probably could be interested to deliver the same kind of device just like Archos Gamepad 2 to the market.

So it would be interesting to see the next-gen Sony Xperia Tablet Z – with some monster specs – come with the PlayStation-Vita-alike design in the future.

Who knows.

Anyway, talking about the design of Archos Gamepad 2, just like PlayStation Vita, on the front center side (in landscape mode), there is, of course, the 7-inch touch screen sporting the resolution of 1280x800 pixels, which is pretty sharp for a device with 7-inch display.

On the left and the right sides, there are 2 areas for the gaming controller – which blends perfectly with the entire color on the front side -, containing the left and right analogue joysticks, plus some regular gaming buttons like X, Y, B, A on the right, the standard D-Pad on the left, 4 trigger buttons on the top (landscape mode) and 2 other gaming-dedicated buttons on the front.

This actually kind of reminds me with the same button layout of Xbox controller, with the same X, Y, B, A, D-Pad, 2 analogue joysticks and some other similar buttons.

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  • Display IPS 7-inch 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1.6GHz Quad-core Cortex-A9 Processor
  • Mali 400 MP4 Quad-core GPU
  • 8GB/16GB interna storage
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Micro SD card slot for up to 64GB
  • 2GB RAM
  • USB via OTG
  • Dual band WiFi (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth
  • 2 analogue Gaming Controls + thumb-sticks
  • 6 gaming buttons
  • 4 trigger buttons
  • D-Pad
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • G-sensor
  • HDMI output (HDMI/Mini HDMI cable sold separately)
  • Lithium Polymer battery
From the hardware standpoint, Archos Gamepad 2 is still considered as well-armed for that matter.

It has a 7-inch display sporting the 1280x800 pixel resolution, a quad-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 2GB of RAM, Mali 400 MP4 GPU, front-facing camera, no-rear-facing camera, the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot, 8/16GB of internal storage and many other standard goodies of an Android tablet.

Not to mention, this tablet also comes with the HDMI port. So if you want to play games on your HD TV through this tablet – yes, you can.


Unlike its predecessor, Archos Gamepad 2 now comes with a higher 1280x800 pixel display, as opposed to the lower 1024x600 pixel screen on the first-gen Archos Gamepad.

Unfortunately, Archos doesn’t bump up its GPU.

Similar just like the old-gen model, Archos Gamepad 2 still inherits the same exact Mali 400 MP4 GPU.

Don’t get me wrong with this – i know that Mali 400 MP4 GPU is a reliable and powerful mobile graphics card, not to mention, adequate for this HD screen – no doubt about that.

And in fact, Samsung still trusts Mali 400 MP4 as the GPU inside the latest Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 8-inches.

However, having a higher resolution display but with the same GPU means that it will suffer some lags and frame drops, especially when playing some heavy graphically demanding games.

And it’s proved when this tablet runs Modern Combat 4 and Asphalt 8, and these 2 don’t perform well in full high graphics – with lags and frame drops in the gameplay and loading screen, although not that significantly.

But thankfully, Archos still brings a bumped up CPU on this second-gen model.

Unlike the dual-core CPU on the predecessor, now Archos Gamepad 2 is packing a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, clocked at 1.6GHz, as opposed to the dual-core 1.6GHz CPU on the previous model.

So this probably could help a lot in its performance with increased resolution and especially when running graphics-related tasks.

User Interface and Features

Similar just like other regular Android tablets out there, Archos Gamepad 2 interestingly still has the same standard Android stock UI, with the default homescreen that you can fill with widgets.

It also still inherits the same navigation buttons, drop-down notification & setting window and even the same exact app drawer.

If you already love the classic Android stock UI, then you will feel at home when using this tablet. So there will be no design overhaul on its UI.

It’s still the same UI just like other Android tablets out there, of course the ones with the stock UI.

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As a gaming handheld, then Archos Gamepad 2 without a doubt is a pretty neat device.

It has a large display (larger than on Sony’s gaming handheld), standard physical buttons of regular gaming controller, it has a nice feel and good grip of a gaming handheld and the most importantly, it’s backed by a lot of Android game developers – that regularly make games for Android platform -, with more and more latest games coming up for years to come.

However, given that this tablet is not packing some monster specs – compared to other regular tablets out there -, then i have doubts Archos Gamepad 2 will have such a long term future in its gaming compatibility given that most of games in the future will have more detailed graphics and sophisticated visual effects, thus requiring much higher-level of hardware specs.

I mean, if this tablet is powered by Adreno 330 GPU, Tegra K1 or PowerVR G6430 GPU, then i can see this tablet still capable to handle most of the latest games in the future.

Unfortunately, even though Mali 400 MP4 GPU inside this tablet is still a reliable and powerful mobile graphics card, it’s already considered as outdated for today’s standards.

It may be still capable to handle newer games like Modern Combat 5 or the next Need for Speed game, but i just have many doubts its Mali 400 MP4 GPU will still be capable to run the real next-gen mobile games in 2014.

Anyway, talking about the gaming performance of Archos Gamepad 2, this gaming tablet is pretty good for that matter.

I’ve already seen this tablet capable to handle most of latest games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4, FIFA 2014, Dead Trigger 2 and Dungeon Hunter III (II or III if i’m not mistaken), all in full high graphics and most of them are running smoothly on this device.

However, even though all of these games are running smoothly and in full high graphics, there are still some bit of lags and frame drops on games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, but not that significant.

Meanwhile, as for Modern Combat 4 – this game definitely will run in full high graphics on Archos Gamepad 2 with all complete visual effects like sun glare, fire effect, smoke effect, reflection on weapons/guns and many more.

Unfortunately, this game is not running so smoothly on this tablet.

So its gaming performance is definitely below the 25 fps, given that all the visual effects and all detailed graphics are deployed together in this game.

I believe its Mali 400 MP4 GPU is the one to blame.

As i’ve mentioned above, even though Mali 400 GPU is a reliable and powerful mobile GPU, it’s still not on par with the latest-gen mobile graphics card like Tegra 4 (72-core GeForce ULP GPU), iPad’s PowerVR G6430 or Adreno 330 GPU on Snapdragon 800.

So i still have doubts this tablet can have a long future ahead, especially in its gaming compatibility.

This tablet may still be capable to run the latest graphically demanding games like Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Need for Speed Most Wanted, GTA Vice City, N.O.V.A 3, Dead Trigger 2 – all in full high graphics -, but i don’t think this Archos Gamepad 2 is still capable to run the future games - released in 2014 – in full high graphics anymore.

The good thing is, Archos Gamepad 2 is still a pretty decent gaming tablet because there are still many many older Android games - released before 2013 - that can be played perfectly on this device, plus in full high graphics, like Modern Combat (1, 2 and 3), Need for Speed (Undercover, Shift), Dead Trigger 1, ShadowGun (1 and Deadzone), N.O.V.A (1, 2), Asphalt (5, 6, 7), Gangstar (Miami Vindication, Rio, Vegas), GTA (III, Vice City) and many other more – which is a LOT.

Therefore, if you’re planning to buy this gaming tablet, you’ll still have a huge collection of Android games that you would like to play on this true Android gaming tablet.

And if you’re not a big fan of on-screen virtual buttons, then you will feel at home when playing your favorite games on this device.

So yeah, Archos Gamepad 2 is a pretty good gaming tablet.

In fact – put its gaming performance aside -, Archos Gamepad 2 is still a great gaming tablet on the market to date, thanks to its gaming-handheld design and physical gaming controller.

Not to mention, a huge database of Android games and apps that you can play on this device.

Battery Life

Given that Archos Gamepad 2 is originally intended by Archos as a true gaming tablet, then its battery life is definitely the sector that the manufacturer puts its priority on.

So if you are a hardcore tablet gamer and a power user as well, then you should have no worry about its battery life.

Archos Gamepad 2 will definitely provide you many many hours for heavy intense gaming usage.

So if you’re gonna use this tablet mostly for gaming in marathon – i mean, like for many many hours without resting the screen at all -, then you can expect this tablet to last in more than 5/7 hours of heavy intense gaming.

And that’s not so surprising because battery life is one of the most important things that gaming tablets should have, besides great gaming performance.

And given that playing games is the top battery life drainer on all tablets – and Archos Gamepad 2 already has a great battery life for gaming -, then for doing some other basic tasks (outside playing games), then this tablet could probably last all day or more than 1 day in one full charge, of course if you’re not using it intensively for gaming.

My Personal Opinions

So my final conclusion of this gaming tablet is, i think Archos Gamepad 2 is definitely a great gaming tablet.

It’s probably the best on the market because it has all complete elements of a great gaming handheld, like:
  • the built-in controller - along with the complete physical buttons of a standard gaming controller -,
  • large touch screen,
  • great gaming feel, grip and design,
  • a huge database of Android games
  • and the most importantly, a pretty good gaming performance, with games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4 and Dead Trigger 2 running in full high graphics (with complete visual effects).
And it’s easy to guess that this tablet will also be capable to play most of the older games released in 2013 or before that year.

However, i’m not really sure if all Android games are already well-optimized with the gaming controller of this Archos Gamepad 2.

So if there are games that don’t work with the controller, then you must go back to the past and play them with the on-screen virtual touch screen buttons (and that sucks i know).

So if you’re currently looking for a true Android tablet, then Archos Gamepad 2 is still a pretty good choice for you.

Actually, if i’m not mistaken, there is still no other tablet that has all the complete elements of a gaming tablet just like what Archos Gamepad 2 has to offer, although you can still buy separate third-party gaming controller and attach it with your own regular Android tablet – which is not such a bad idea.

However, in gaming performance, Archos Gamepad 2 is still not that great compared to its rivals, especially the flagship ones.

I mean, if you happen to have some separate third-party controller for your tablet, then you can just buy tablets like Google Nexus 7 (2013), Kindle Fire HDX 7, iPad mini 2, HP Slate 7 Extreme, NVIDIA Tegra Note or LG G Pad 8.3.

And their gaming performance – without any single doubt – will blow Archos Gamepad 2 out of the water in the speed of light.

And that’s proved by some benchmark tests of Archos Gamepad 2 i’ve already seen on YouTube videos, as this tablet has some mediocre results here and there in many tests.

Even so, i personally think Archos Gamepad 2 is still a pretty neat choice for you especially if you’re looking for a true gaming tablet with a true gaming feel and built-in physical controller.

Besides, given that this tablet is released by Archos as a gaming tablet, then its battery life could probably be better than most of Android tablets out there.

So in conclusion, even though this gaming tablet is still not on par with many high-end tablets on the market to date – in terms of gaming performance -, but you'll make no mistake when getting this tablet. Archos Gamepad 2 is still a solid Android gaming tablet.

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