On the look out for an Android tab that can match the iPad in terms of size and functionality? We’ve got an unlikely competitor for you in the shape of the Archos 101 XS. No, stay with us on this…

Archos is not a brand name that’s traditionally gone hand-in-hand with the word ‘premium’ – the company’s made a name for itself by hitting the middle of the road and staying there. All well and good for a certain market, but it’s hardly an aspirational approach to business.

But things may now be changing. The newly unveiled Archos 101 XS is a highly impressive machine straight out of left-field, and it could well be the best Android’s got against the iPad.

Meet the 21.5-inch Android uber-tablet

The 10.1-inch 101 SX is pretty, well made and actually thinner than the current iPad by a measure of 1.4mm. It’s powered by am ARM Cortex multi-core A9 processor running at 1.5 GHz, boasts 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, which is upgradable via MicroSD slot.

A 720P front webcam, USB and HDMI slots round things off nicely. Oh, and it’s using an unskinned version of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Schwing.

Coverboard

And then things get really interesting. The Coverboard is a magnetic keyboard case that either sits on top of the screen to protect it, or locks into place to act as a movie stand or full QWERTY keyboard.

When shunted together for travel, the 101 XS and Coverboard are just 1mm thicker than an iPad with Smart Cover – and a full centimetre thinner than the keyboard-sporting Asus Tansformer Prime. That’s impressive. The coverboard takes its power from the tablet, or can be plugged in – at which point it’ll act as a charging dock.

All in all, this is a massively impressive offering from Archos. The 101 XS will be out in mid September, and set you back an iPad-worrying £299.99.

Hot chat, right here!


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