Archos 80 Helium 4G: review roundup

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According to figures from research company IDC the demand for tablets in mature markets is slowing down. No wonder then that manufacturers are adding more features in an effort to boost sales.

With faster 4G connectivity becoming more widely available offering download speeds of up to 150Mbps on the move, that seems like an obvious feature to make tablets more attractive. Even so a 4G tablet for under £200, sounds too good to be true, right?

French brand Archos has other ideas with its latest offering, first announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress, now on sale in the UK for just £199. The Archos 80 Helium 4G comes with a 1.2GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, along with 2MP front and 5MP rear cameras. It has an 8-inch 1024 x 768 screen and weighs in at 430 grammes thanks to its aluminium casing, but can it really compete with more expensive alternatives?

The first bad news is that it only runs Android Jelly Bean rather than the latest KitKat. Plus as TechRadar notes, “At 430g the 80 Helium 4G isn’t exactly light, the LG G Pad 8.3weighs in at 338g and the original iPad Minitips the scales at 312g – meaning this could be a bit of a beast to lug around.”

DigitalSpy is concerned about the how heavy the tablet is too, “Weighing in at 430g, the Archos 80 Helium 4G is heavier than most tablets in its size band, with the iPad Mini tipping the scales at 312g.”

As CNET says, “Internal storage is low at 8GB, however, Archos tries to make up for it with a microSD card expansion slot.” It also points out that the Archos, “lacks the premium specs and sleek designs,” of similar models from Lenovo and Samsung.

But of course the Helium is really about 4G. As Android Community says, “The tablet doesn’t offer the fastest of anything under its hood, but what it does offer is one of the lowest priced tablets with 4G connectivity on the market.”

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The £199 price is attractive but, TechRadar points out that you’ll have to factor in the cost of a 4G SIM and tariff too which will push price of ownership up a bit.

Whether the Archos is for you is really down to your priorities. If you want sleek design and the latest technical and OS specs then you’re probably best looking elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you want a low-cost way into high-speed 4G access then the Helium 80 is worth a look.