The ARCHOS GamePad is a tablet specifically designed for playing games complete with two shoulder buttons, four directional pads and dual joysticks. At first glance, the size of the screen, 7”, might seem too unwieldy for comfortable gaming, however it is ergonomically designed for easy holding.
Users can also easily map out the controls thanks to the GamePad’s game-mapping tool. This tool allows users to set a physical button or slide pad to control any part of the touch screen simply by dragging a virtual button anywhere on the screen and then assigning a physical button press to it. Pressing the physical button will respond in the same way as touching that part of the screen. The tool works with every game though its value will vary for each game, unfortunately. This means that users will most likely have to map out the buttons for each game.
In terms of hardware, the GamePad comes equipped with 1.6 GHz Dual-core ARM Cortex A9, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory and an expandable microSD slot. There’s also an HDMI port for people interested in hooking the GamePad up to their television.
Despite the promise that the GamePad has, there are some serious issues with the tablet. With so much competition in the handheld gaming market, it doesn’t really stand above the crowd. The display has poor viewing angles and a relatively low resolution when compared to other tablets like the Nexus 7 and iPad. Perhaps the biggest issue with the tablet is its poor battery life. Clocking in at a little over 2 hours, it’s difficult to call the GamePad a truly portable gaming device. The final nail in GamePad’s coffin is that some of the more popular Android apps, like Grand Theft Auto, are not compatible with the tablet.
For $180, casual Android gamers can get a better gaming experience on other tablets. For a dedicated, portable gaming device, players can spend a few more dollars and purchase a Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita.
The Good: Affordable price, ergonomic control and HDMI port to hook up to a TV.
The Bad: Poor battery life (only 2 hours of gameplay), poor display resolution, poor viewing angles.