Behind the 50 Platinum's glass front is an IPS panel with qHD resolution (960 x 540 pixels), a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor from Qualcomm and 1 GB of RAM. The processor is based on ARM Cortex A5 architecture, which isn't particularly known for high performance. There's only 4 GB of onboard storage, but there's a microSD slot for more if you have a memory card. The 50 Platinum has an 8-Megapixel camera on the back that films in 720p and a 2-Mpx camera on the front. One standout feature is that it has two SIM card slots, one for both 2G and 3G and the other for 2G only.
The operating system is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Archos hasn't added any software overlay or in-house interface.
The Archos 50 Platinum is expected to go on sale for around £180 SIM-free.
Design & Handling
Not particularly original in design and drawing heavily from Samsung, the 50 Platinum has an all-plastic shell, but it's nonetheless well constructed. The only minor exception might be the volume buttons, which don't feel entirely sturdy. Weighing in at 160 grams, the 50 Platinum isn't exactly feather-weight, but it's reasonable given the size of the phone.
Archos didn't have to make the body quite this wide—it could, for example, have made the bezel surrounding the screen thinner—but as phones with large displays go, this one handles well and fits snugly in your hand. The slick plastic makes it slip a little, but it was never enough to make us drop it.
There's one major problem with the handling: the 50 Platinum heats up considerably any time you ask it to think a little, as well as every time you charge it.
The 5-inch display is made from an IPS panel, which guarantees wide viewing angles. While we're at it, let's get straight to the point: the image rendering is amazing. The average contrast ratio is 1,247:1 and the brightness goes up to 318 cd/m². Those two figures combined make the screen highly legible outdoors in the sunlight.
The colour fidelity isn't perfect, but it definitely has one of the better Delta Es on the market: 4.4. Three and below is considered ideal, so 4.4 isn't far off. And the 7,405 K colour temperature stays relatively stable across the spectrum, which means there aren't major overtones in any particular colour. These are all figures that make a great screen.
The ghosting time is a fairly good 21 ms, although that's far from the near-zero values you get on AMOLED displays. The touch response time is 155 ms, which is in the lower average for smartphones.
There had to be an Achilles' Heel somewhere, and that's the resolution. Using qHD on a 5-inch screen is necessarily less comfortable on the eyes than the more reasonable 1280 x 720 pixels.
Interface & Navigation
As we mentioned before, Archos didn't add its own interface or software overlay, so what you get is "basic" Android, including Google's collection of apps for Gmail, Play Store, Chrome and so on.
Archos Video Player (shown below) and Archos Music are the only real in-house additions on this phone. Both run fluidly and support a wide range of file formats.
Although the processor itself is no bolt of lightning (all the benchmarks show it far behind the top dogs in terms of raw performance), the overall experience when flipping around through the interface is perfectly fine; Android runs fluidly enough for any user. Where you notice the lag is when you start doing more complex activities like playing 3D video games, watching Full HD movies or surfing the web.
Plus, the 4 GB of onboard storage is really limiting (only 2 GB are actually available for storage, as the other two are used by the OS). The only way to save a few movies or big video games on the phone is by deleting other content. And some things just don't save onto a microSD. Archos should have gone with 8 GB like everyone else. It's baffling.
The 50 Platinum is not a mobile for ultra fast web browsing. No matter what browser you use, the online experience gets held back by long, sometimes sluggish loading times. The screen size would normally be great for looking at web pages, but not with this resolution, which is a serious hindrance online.
Archos Video Player offers a wide range of compatibility for movie files. Unfortunately, the resolution strikes again, making Full HD videos unreadable. 960 x 540 pixels isn't the end of the world, but Full HD files are so commonplace that this is really one of the downsides with this handset.
Most apps run fine on the 50 Platinum, but big, recent video games with opulent graphics are entirely unplayable. When you have such a large screen in front of you, it's kind of a drag not to be able to enjoy the full list of apps available on Google Play.
With a big, bright screen, a quad-core processor not known for its power-saving abilities and a 2,000 mAh battery, the 50 Platinum seems doomed from the start. And it is. In the standard app we use to test raw battery life, the 50 Platinum lasted just six hours! Under more 'normal' usage (single- or dual-SIM, the odd phone call or text, web browsing, a game or two, and some multimedia...) it doesn't last close to a day. If you get the 50 Platinum, keep your micro-USB charger handy.
When you hear '8 Megapixels' you tend to think quality photos. But that's not necessarily the case here. Don't get us wrong, it's no train wreck, but you still have to make do with blocked up black, unsubtle contour enhancement, an inability to produce usable photos in low lighting and a flash that washes everything out. When the lighting's great you can get acceptable picture quality with the 50 Platinum, but it never rivals the best in the sector.
- Great screen (excluding the resolution)
- Good media player
- Overall responsiveness
- Obsolete screen resolution
- Short battery life, overheating
- Only 4 GB of storage (2 GB of which are used up by the OS)
- Wi-Fi connecting times
- Mediocre 3D gaming
- Cameras, poor video quality
The Archos 50 Platinum has several things going for it. It's worth a detour for its responsiveness and practically amazing screen quality (although the resolution is necessarily a let-down). But Archos ultimately isn't offering anything its competitors aren't already, and it makes some serious faux-pas with things like the battery life and storage.