Archos is digging deeper into the world of Android + touchscreen with its new plus-size tablet, the FamilyPad.
In response to continuing financial difficulties, Archos is searching for ways to redirect ship by expanding its range of touchscreen devices. After its XS tablets (see our 101 XS review), 97 Carbon and 80 Cobalt, the French high-tech firm is launching the FamilyPad, a giant 13.3-inch slate with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
This tablet from the Arnova range is decidedly entry-level, which you can tell from its specs: 1 GHz Cortex A8 ARM processor, 1 GB of RAM and 1280 x 800 resolution. It has a 10-point multitouch capacitive touchscreen and a 2-Megapixel camera sensor on each side.
It has more connectivity than most tablets, with a micro-USB port for transferring files, a mini-HDMI output, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a microSD slot for expanding the 8 GB memory. It has b/g/n Wi-Fi, but there's no mention of Bluetooth anywhere.
The body is 26 cm long and 12.5 cm thick, for a weight of 1.3 kg (that's roughly twice the weight of your average 9-inch tablet). Archos has included a stand so that you can sit the tablet up like a photo frame.
Archos is advertising the tablet as something families can use to play board games on, with 10 hours of battery life during continuous video playback. The Arnova FamilyPad is set for release in December for £274.99.
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HTC and Samsung had their turn, now it's LG that gets the limelight as the company with the all new high-end Android phone.
Google Nexus 4
The LG-built Google Nexus 4 has up-market specs at a competitive SIM-free price: £239 for the 8 GB version and £279 and for the 16 GB. Necessarily, at rates like these the phone is creating buzz and high expectations.
It has a 4.7" IPS Plus screen (LG's own Zerogap technology) with 1280 x 768 resolution, a 1.5 GHz Krait Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, a backlit 8-Megapixel camera sensor and a 2,100 mAh battery.
So, will the Nexus 4 make a good Christmas present? This and more in this week's smartphone review...
> Read the full review: Google Nexus 4
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We're pleased to announce that we're currently in possession of a Fujifilm XF1. Ahead of our full review—which readers are writing in daily to request—here's a sneak peak of how this camera performed in our standard lab tests.
Fujifilm seems to have something of a talent for making cameras that are different. Since launching the "X Series", the firm has outed a compact with a large-format sensor, a retro looking lens-switcher with an original hybrid viewfinder, as well as cameras with mechanical zooms (XS1 and X10).
The XF1 is an expert compact (clickable thumb-wheel, settings wheel around the arrow keys, 2/3" sensor, etc.) that's more compact and more stylish than the X10. It's lined up to rival pocket expert compacts like the Canon S110 and the Sony RX100.
To warrant its "black sheep" status, the XF1 has one rather surprising feature: a retractable mechanical zoom lens that can be pushed back into the camera body when switched off. That way you get the best of both worlds, with a precise and practical-to-use mechanical zoom but also with a very compact camera body (the XF1 is 34 mm thick compared with 49 mm for the Olympus XZ-2, for example). With its original design, it'll definitely be interesting to see how Fuji's lens holds up in practice.
As you can see from the test results in the Face-Off—comparing the Fuji XF1 with the X10 and a few other rivals (Canon S110, Panasonic LX7, Sony RX100 Fuji XZ-2)—the results are actually pretty convincing. At wide-angle, the lens does a perfectly decent job. At telephoto, the XF1 lens holds up very well, shooting images that are particularly even in quality.
However, our test card (pictured above—the top row of shots taken at wide-angle and the bottom row taken at telephoto) shows up a certain level of interference in areas of finer detail, caused by the sensor and the image processing system. This is something that Fujifilm is often criticised for. EXR CMOS sensors are structured so that the photosites are positioned in staggered rows, requiring an extra image processing trick to transform the image back into a series of lines and columns. This makes certain Fuji cameras more susceptible to interference than cameras with standard sensors. To be honest, it's highly unlikely to cause problems in real-life situations (although you may spot some interference with things like roof tiles and railings), but we've rarely seen a test card highlight a technical specification quite so clearly.
Our full review of the Fuji XF1 isn't quite ready yet but, in the meantime, you can get an idea of what's in store from the test shots in our Face-Off.
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