Archos enters budget Android fray with range starting at £80

Archos has detailed its new range of Android smartphones that, while they won't top the spec tables, are hitting the market at a wallet-friendly price point.
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Consumer device maker Archos has unveiled a range of new Android smartphones that will go on sale from the end of May.

The French device manufacturer, perhaps better known for its range of low-cost Android tablets, believes it makes sense to move into smartphones and 'phablet' territory.

"Smartphones and tablets are interrelated markets that have quickly crossed over with the arrival of phablets," Loïc Poirier, chief executive of Archos, said in a statement on Thursday. "It makes sense that this should be our next phase of products as it's a natural fit for our brand and long-term growth plans."

Image: Archos

While the prices and specs of the three handset in the range vary, they do share some common elements, such as all having dual SIM slots, IPS (In-Plane Switching) screens for better viewing angles, and Qualcomm CPUs. They also come with Archos' media centre apps for music and video playback, and use mostly stock versions of Android, meaning it should be easier for the company to roll-out OS updates.

The cheapest device, the Archos 35 Carbon, is priced at £79.99 and has a 3.5-inch 320 x 480 pixels IPS display, a front and rear facing VGA quality camera, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, Wi-Fi and 4GB of internal storage, with support for microSD cards up to 32GB. It runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0).

Next up in the range is the Archos 50 Platinum, priced at £179.99. It comes with a screen size of five inches (960 x 540 pixel resolution), an eight-megapixel camera and a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor.

Internal memory remains the same at 4GB, but it will also support microSD cards up to 64GB. The sensor size of the front facing camera has also been increased over the 35 Carbon to two megapixels. It also runs the more recent Jelly Bean (4.1.2) version of Android, rather than the Ice Cream Sandwich build.

The Archos 53 Platinum is almost identically-specced, but slightly larger and more expensive. For a penny under £200, it packs a 5.3-inch display with the same 960 x 540 pixel resolution, an eight-megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus and the same 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor as the 50 Platinum.

Strangely, internal memory still hasn't been increased for the top of the range, meaning that with just 4GB on offer, the microSD card support is practically a necessity. However, it'll take cards up to 64GB, just like its smaller sibling. It also has the same two-megapixel forward facing camera and Jelly Bean 4.1.2 build of Android on board.

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