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Is Archos' $130 TV Connect too good to be true? Sort of, but its tablets aren't bad
Archos' TV Connect claims to pack a lot of functionality into a tiny 0 box, including access to Android apps and video conferencing, but the final product remains rough around the edges. Meanwhile, Archos' tablets aren't too shabby.
Despite yesterday's wave of 1080p smartphones, Ultra HD televisions and OLED wonders, we came to CES 2013 excited to check out the humble Archos TV Connnect. The Android-powered device offers to turn your "dumb" TV into a smart one and deliver video conferencing for a reasonable $129.99. It also includes access to all of Android's apps, voice recognition, and a controller-driven user interface with a full keyboard, which is supposed to feel more like you're using a tablet than a controller. Unfortunately, our hands-on experience did not live up to our initial expectations.
CES can be a pretty awful place for Wi-Fi - there's something about hundreds of thousands of people packed into a complex, all trying to use their wireless devices on similar radio frequencies. It just doesn't quite work out. And while the TV connect has an Ethernet input, Archos was not set up for hard-wired Internet, so trying to open apps like YouTube and even basic email was pretty much a completely futile effort in our testing. We're not sure if the Wi-Fi issues accounted for the Connect's other issues, but the interface was very user-unfriendly. The Archos controller has a cursor that reacts to the camera in the mounted unit, but moving it felt jerky and unresponsive, as it kept sticking in the middle of the screen and reappearing far away. Hard controls didn't fare much better. The buttons that allow you to zoom as if using fingers on a touch screen were so sensitive that while using the map, we zoomed out far into the netherworld, and had to restart the application.
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