Archos GamePad review: heavy Android gamers will love this tablet

Written by B Johnson June 05, 2014
Archos GamePad Specs
Earlier, there were some Archos tablets that i managed to review on this site. One of them is pretty good for gaming – Archos 101 XS 2 -, while the other one is not that good for gaming (*cough* Archos 101 XS *cough*) given its mediocre gaming performance.

(Archos GamePad Specs)

In fact, there is one Archos tablet – which in my opinion – is just a NO-GO if you’re looking a good gaming tablet, even for your kids. And that was Archos ChildPad, which comes with some low-grade – i mean, really really low-grade – specs and quality (and FYI, it’s even still using that resistive screen dude. Damn!!).

Anyway, after showing you guys 3 of Archos tablets in the past 2 days, now i want to bring up another tablet from the same manufacturer.

I even strongly believe the one i’m about to show you right now could indeed be a good gaming tablet.

As a matter of fact, this tablet could be one of the best gaming tablets you’re gonna find around the market today.

The tablet i’m talking about is Archos GamePad. Well, as the name of this tablet implies, then it’s really easy to guess that Archos GamePad is a gaming tablet.

And that is correct as this tablet is originally intended by the manufacturer as a true gaming tablet.

Archos GamePad benchmarks and gaming performance

The thing that separates this tablet with other regular Android tablets around the market is definitely its design.

Unlike other tablets out there (including iPad) that only have the touch screen on the front, Archos GamePad is interestingly designed by Archos using the same exact concept design of PlayStation Vita.

So there will be the touch screen – which is 7-inches – along with the gaming controller, analogue joysticks, D-Pad and other buttons on the left and right landscape position – all tightly designed into one great gaming device.

This tablet is actually pretty interesting because as we all know already, PlayStation Vita is not using some gigantic display on the front. On the other hand, Archos GamePad is using that awesome huge 7-inch display, just like any other 7-inch Android tablets out there.

And we all know that 7-inch tablets are not that huge and ideal as a portable gaming device given that most of these tablets adopt the 16:9 aspect ratio.

So when used in landscape mode, this tablet still feels small and really comfortable to hold as a gaming device, although much smaller tablet is more recommended as a gaming device.

Well, if you’re interested to know more about this true gaming tablet, then here you go, my personal review of Archos GamePad.

But before go straight to the review, again i just wanna say, if you really like what i’ve been delivering on this website – including this review -, then i would really appreciate it if you could just share this post to your friends or family through Twitter, Facebook or any other social media accounts that you’re joining in.

It would mean a lot to me and this community.

Okay then, enough talking, here you go, my personal review of Archos GamePad.


If you go to the tablet stores or even mobile gadget stores in general near your town, then it’s still rare to see a device that looks just like Archos GamePad.

In fact, there is only one gaming device that has this same concept.

And that is the well-known PlayStation Vita, which is the best gaming handheld on the market to date, thanks to its monster specs and also a huge support from many giant game developers across the world (you can even play the actual Uncharted game on this handheld with the same console quality graphics, as well as other popular console/PC titles).

There is actually one other device with pretty similar concept design just like PlayStation Vita.

Archos GamePad Specs

And that is NVIDIA Project Shield or NVIDIA Shield (Tegra 4), which is a gaming handheld in the shape of “Xbox” controller but it has the separate flippable touch screen.

One of the strongest points of this NVIDIA’s Android gaming device is its ability to stream games right away from your PC to this device – which is awesome -, besides playing Android games.

However, NVIDIA Shield is really different with PlayStation Vita – or Archos GamePad for that matter- because its touch screen is separated with the controller.

On the other hand, Archos GamePad definitely falls in the same category as PlayStation Vita.

It has the touch screen, it has the united gaming controller and it also has that great “gaming” feel and grip on its rear-cover, which is really vital for a gaming handheld, making it comfortable to use for gaming in many many hours.

As a tablet, then Archos GamePad without a doubt will be good on that category.

As a gaming handheld, this Archos tablet will also be great given its design, gaming controller and good gaming feel and grip on its rear-cover, just like PlayStation Vita.

However, as a Android gaming tablet, does Archos GamePad have what it takes to rival other non-gaming tablets like HP Slate 7 Extreme, Tegra Note, Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX 7, LG G Pad 8.3 or even iPad mini 2, especially in gaming performance?

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


At a glance, Archos GamePad actually looks just like any other regular Android tablets out there.

However, if you look a little bit closer, then you’ll know that this Archos tablet interestingly has some analogue joysticks and buttons on the left and right landscape areas.

This is actually pretty interesting to see because there is no other Android tablets that have this same concept design just like Archos GamePad.

Archos GamePad Review and Gaming Performance
The Real Gaming Tablet?

Archos GamePad Review and Gaming Performance
Great Gaming Fell and Grip

Even though all regular tablets can be transformed into a gaming handheld, using separate third-party controller, they’re probably not gonna have the same feel of gaming handheld just like PlayStation Vita or this Archos GamePad.

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  • 7-inch IPS capacitive display 1024 x 600 pixels
  • Weight: 330g (11.6 oz)
  • 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor
  • Mali-400 MP4 quad-core GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Android 4.1 OS Jelly Bean
  • 3D OpenGL (ES 2.0)
  • 8GB Internal storage
  • MicroSD external storage for up to 32GB
  • Front-facing camera
  • Wi-Fi
  • USB 2.0
  • Mini HDMI
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Analog thumb sticks
  • G-sensor
  • Built-in microphone
  • non-removable Lithium Polymer battery
Given that Archos Gamepad is released as a gaming tablet, then it should have some powerful hardware to support its gaming performance.

Thankfully, this tablet is all prepared for that matter.

Archos Gamepad is packing a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 clocked at 1.6GHz per core, 1GB of RAM and Mali 400 MP4 GPU, which is pretty reliable and adequate especially for gaming or graphics-related tasks.

The good thing about this tablet is, Archos Gamepad still uses the low-resolution 1024x600 pixel display, unlike its sequel with an HD 1280x800 pixel display.

So having a lower-resolution display means its dual-core CPU and Mali 400 MP4 GPU won’t have too much trouble executing low number of pixels in smooth performance, thus delivering a decent gaming performance overall.

So when playing graphically demanding games like N.O.V.A 3, Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 4, Dead Trigger 2 or GTA Vice City, there will be no significant lags and frame drops especially in the gameplay.

And that’s a huge plus point because users can have a great gaming experience on Archos Gamepad.

User Interface and Features

Actually, there is not much difference found on the UI of this tablet, compared to other regular Android tablets out there.

Archos Gamepad still has the same standard layout of Android stock UI – with those same homescreen, widgets, navigation buttons, drop-down notification & setting windows – and it even still has the same exact app drawer.

So if you’re already a big fan of Android stock UI, then you will feel at home when using this tablet.


In terms of performance, then Archos Gamepad no doubt will be great in that department.

Thanks to its 1.6GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 1GB of RAM and Mali 400 MP4 GPU, all the basic tasks on this tablet can be executed perfectly in smooth steady performance.

Not to mention, given its low-resolution 1024x600 display, then it will also help a lot in making this tablet run much even faster, especially compared to the next-gen model with its medium 1280x800 pixel display.

So for doing basic tasks like watching videos, reading books, browsing the web, using live wallpaper or even playing games, this tablet is more than capable to deliver its best performance to the users, even when multitasking many apps at once, thanks to its 1GB of RAM.

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Talking about the gaming performance of Archos Gamepad, i think it’s pretty similar with the next-gen Archos Gamepad 2, given that they both share the same Mali 400 MP4 GPU.

However, the gaming performance of Archos Gamepad is probably a bit better because this tablet is only using a low-resolution display.

And i’ve already seen a lot of 720p-display or higher-resolution-display tablets perform poorly when playing games, like Asus MemoPad 7 HD, HP Slate 6 Voice Tab and even iPad mini 2 with Retina Display.

In fact, one reader of this website – which also is an iPad mini 2 user – told me that the gaming performance of iPad mini 2 was not that great compared to the old-gen iPad mini 1, especially when playing graphically demanding games like GTA San Andreas, etc).

Whereas, tablets like Asus MemoPad 7HD or iPad mini 2 with Retina Display are packing some great hardware specs, with Asus’s tablet using the Mediatek quad-core MT8125 processor, while Apple’s tablet rocking the 64-bit A7 chip.

However, the screen resolution is actually not the only one to blame over the laggy gaming performance of devices.

There are many other sectors that have huge impact regarding this matter, like the optimization of software and hardware, not to mention, the weight of system software on the tablet itself.

For example, TouchWiz UI on Samsung GALAXY is known to have much heavier software and features than the stock Android UI on devices like Google Nexus 5 or Google-edition devices.

So no wonder if the gaming performance of Google Nexus 5 is better than, say, Samsung GALAXY Note 3, even though they both share the same Snapdragon 800, Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB of RAM (Note 3 even has 3GB of RAM by the way), the same full HD 1920x1200 pixel display (amazingly, Google Nexus 5 has much higher ppi pixel density than Note 3).

And it’s proved by how games like GTA San Andreas performs more smoothly in full high graphics on Google Nexus 5 compared the Note 3, which runs pretty laggy.

The good news is, Archos Gamepad only comes pre-installed with the stock Android UI.

So there will be no significant overhaul on the UI of this gaming tablet – compared to other Android tablets with stock UI.

And that means, Archos Gamepad will have great gaming performance – probably better than the sequel -, especially when playing the graphics intense games like Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Dead Trigger 2, GTA Vice City, Need for Speed Most Wanted and many more.

Battery Life

Too bad i found no information about the battery capacity of this tablet.

However, given that Archos Gamepad is originally intended by Archos as a gaming tablet, then it’s so obvious that Archos will put more focus in making its battery last much longer especially for playing games.

So if you’re type of hardcore power gamers, and you’re gonna use this tablet mainly for gaming – like for many many hours without resting the screen at all, then you can expect this tablet to last more than 6 hours in that heavy intense gaming usage.

But if you’re gonna use it for other basic tasks outside playing games, like browsing the web, reading books, watching movies or listening to music, then this tablet probably could last all day long, of course in one full charge.

My Personal Opinions

So my last conclusion about this device is, despite having some lower-grade specs compared to the sequel model, i think Archos Gamepad is still a great gaming tablet to buy, especially if you’re a big fan of tablet gaming.

It has great gaming design and feel, complete set of standard gaming controller, large touch screen (larger than handheld devices like Sony PlayStation Vita or PSP), great gaming performance, a huge database of Android games and the most importantly, this tablet is backed up with a huge gaming ecosystem, with more and more new games coming up in the long future ahead.

So if you’re getting this tablet, then you should have no worry at all regarding its gaming compatibility in the future because – even if most of new games are not well-optimized with its gaming controller -, you can still go back to the old classic virtual on-screen buttons, which is still pretty nice to use.

So most of new games can still be played nicely on this device.

However, it doesn’t mean that all the new games can be played perfectly on this tablet.

Given that this tablet is still packing the powerful-but-outdated Mali 400 MP4 GPU – which is not on par with other today’s mobile graphics chipsets like Adreno 330, Tegra 4/K1 (GeForce ULP GPU/Keppler GPU respectively) or PowerVR G6430 GPU on Apple devices -, then i have doubts Archos Gamepad will still be capable to play the next-gen games – released in 2014, like Modern Combat 5, Asphalt 9, etc – all in smooth performance and in full high graphics.

Not to mention, most of next-gen Android/iOS games will have more detailed graphics and sophisticated visual effects.

So it will be very heavy task for this tablet to deliver its best performance when playing those new games.

So if you’re planning to get Archos Gamepad in the near future – and you happen to be a hardcore tablet gamer who wants to always play the latest Android games in full high graphics -, then you will likely be left disappointed with this tablet.

There probably are many new next-gen games that cannot be played perfectly on this device.

Even so, for other older games released in late 2013 or before that year, then yes – this tablet is more than capable to play them all in smooth performance and in full high graphics (although not all games can be played perfectly on this device).

However, as an Android gaming tablet, i personally think that Archos Gamepad is still a really decent gaming tablet.

It has great gaming design, great gaming performance, complete buttons of a standard gaming controller, a huge database of Android-based games and the most importantly, it still has a bright future ahead, thanks to the growing Android gaming ecosystem.

Anyway, given that the second-gen model of this tablet has already been released, then you might want to pick up Archos Gamepad 2 instead of this first-gen model.
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