Let me start of this review by saying I know we are very late to the game with this review and by that I mean very very late. The reason that I never reviewed the GamePad 2 before now is that I have never really been interested in gaming on a tablet as I use my console and PC for that but it seems a load of our readers are still interested in this so when I got the chance to review one I decided I would give it a go. I wasn’t holding out much hope for the GamePad 2 if I’m totally honest as the first GamePad was a disaster with it’s horrible screen, slow processing, lack of support for big titles and terrible controls. The reviews published about it really say it all but to everyones surprise the maker went back to the drawing board and released the GamePad 2 which packs fairly decent hardware, a screen with HD Quality (although not full HD 1290×800) and support for publisher GameLoft’s games but with all that said will I like it?? Let’s jump in and have a look.
Size And Build Quality
This is always a good place to start especially when you will be holding it for long spells while gaming. The Archos GamePad 2 is a 7-inch tablet with gaming controls at either side of it making it a little wider. The exact dimensions are 200.5mm x 154mm and 9mm thick. The GamePad 2 has an all plastic construction and weighs in at 400G, the plastic isn’t to terrible but it’s certainly not premium. The plus side is that it is solid and I wouldn’t worry about throwing it in my backpack without a case as it certainly wouldn’t damage easily. Overall the design is decent enough for a tablet of this age but obviously nowadays we are spoiled with premium designs making it hard not to compare to present day offerings.
Specs And Features
The GamePad 2 is powerful enough to run most games and Android JellyBean 4.2.2 without any issues at all with it’s quad-core 1.6GHz A9 processor with Mali 400 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Yes this is still running JellyBean but to be honest it works perfectly on this device but if you need to have the latest version of Android you are better off looking elsewhere. Having multiple apps open on the GamePad 2 is no problem and it powered through everything we demanded of it. Archos include their own video app which I must say was pretty impressive and it played 1080p video from my network drive without so much as a stutter. Obviously you can download apps like MX Player on other android devices but it is nice to have this included as default.
Their are plenty of connections on the GamePad 2 – we obviously have the micro-USB for charging and data transfer but Archos has also included a mini-HDMI port allowing users to connect the GamePad 2 up to the big screen, we also have a micro-SD slot which can take cards up to 64GB and considering the size of some games this will come in very handy if you want to play multiple titles and also allows you to choose the cheaper 8GB version over the more expensive 16GB variant. If you would prefer to game or watch youTube without annoying anyone around you there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The GamePad 2 comes with front facing stereo speakers and they are pretty impressive and make media consumption an absolute pleasure. Powering the GamePad 2 we have a 5000mAh battery that lasts around 7.5 hours which is more than enough as I will assume none games on a tablet for longer than that.
As mentioned above the screen is a 1280 x 800 pixel 7-inch capacitive panel, it is a huge improvement over the original GamePad but if I compare it to other tablets from the same time period it’s nothing special as the original nexus 7 packed a full HD panel and cost the same as the GamePad 2. With that said if you crank the brightness up the experience is still enjoyable and full HD can still be achieved by hooking the GamePad 2 up to an external monitor if you so wish. Overall I was happy enough with the experience but full HD would have been nice but no doubt it would have increased the cost.
Let’s talk about the controls, the buttons on the GamePad 2 are a huge improvement over the original with the d-pad now being a single unit. Having never used the original I can tell just looking at that d-pad that gaming on it would have been nightmare, the new d-pad makes it easier to move around in one smooth movement.
Now let’s look at the two analogue sticks, they are comfortable enough to use for long spells but I would have liked them to stick out a little bit more as I feel that would have helped when playing titles like Modern Combat online but maybe that’s just the competitive player in me. There are two shoulder buttons which if you don’t have long fingers like myself might mean you have to stretch a little to reach but I found the position to be fine.
A great feature of the GamePad 2 is the ability to map controls to your needs using the included Archos Game Mapping software and they even include over 600 pre mapped settings that can easily download. This option is great as it allows you to get the best gaming experience possible although the mapping is a bit complicated if you don’t know what your doing. You could also skip the buttons altogether and just use the touchscreen but then why the hell would you buy this in the first place?
Overall I was happy enough with layout of the controls and after getting used to them I was easily able to enjoy my favourite titles.
Overall I was impressed with the GamePad 2 and what it had to offer although I must be honest and say that if I was in the market now I would probably buy something else and use my Moga Pro controller. Having said that you can pick this up for a steal now from eBay or Amazon so if your looking for a cheap gaming tablet that powers through games like Modern Combat and Asphalt then I would say go for it as you wouldn’t be disappointed. The GamePad 2 is very capable but having waited this long to review it made it hard not to compare it to what’s on offer now. If you haver any questions about the GamePad 2 be sure to leave a comment below or hit us up on our social media channels.
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