Archos Gamepad table goes on sale, looks almost too good to be true

Archos Gamepad OfficialRemember the Archos Gamepad? It was announced in August this year, as a challenger to not only the budget 7-inch Android tablets produced by Amazon, Google and many others, but also to the handheld gaming machines sold by Sony and Nintendo. How? It meshes together both worlds by placing a set of physical gaming controls on either side of a 7-inch touchscreen. An October release was given to the Gamepad back then, but the tablet didn’t show up, causing concern it would never become a reality. The wait is over though, as the Gamepad went on sale less than 24-hours ago in the UK and parts of Europe.

Here’s the Gamepad’s specification. The 7-inch screen has a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution — that’s the same as the original Kindle Fire — while it’s powered by a 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor with a quad-core Mali 400 MP graphics processor and 1GB of RAM. There’s 8GB of onboard storage memory too, and room for another 32GB using a microSD card. Bluetooth and GPS are missing though.

There’s no rear camera either, but there is a video-call lens above the screen, plus Wi-Fi, 1080p video support and a mini-HDMI port for sending images to the big screen. In the past, Archos tablets weren’t always Google certified, but the Gamepad comes with not only Google Play installed, but Android 4.1 Jelly Bean too. This means cheap and plentiful games, a considerable advantage over its expensive rivals.

Sold out until Christmas

The gaming controls consist of two analogue thumb sticks, two shoulder buttons and 12 other keys on the front panel. By using a mapping tool, any game with virtual buttons can be adapted for use with the Gamepad, while developers have the chance to add native support for the Gamepad too.

The price for all this on the move gaming goodness? Just £130/$208 from Archos in the UK, the same price as the first Amazon Kindle Fire and £30 less than the basic Nexus 7. It’s also available in other European countries, where it has a price of 150 euros. Although Archos has a U.S. online store and the Gamepad is listed on the site, there’s no option to buy one yet.

It has been popular too, with the initial stock selling out in a few hours according to comments on Archos’ official Facebook page. The Archos Gamepad is expected to be back in stock on December 18, which will cut it very fine if it’s to make it onto Santa’s sleigh this year.