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Archos Arnova 8 is just one of the crowd

So I got my Arnova 8 Android tablet on Friday. Normally I would have posted about my first impressions, but I couldn’t find the peace and quiet I needed to compose a post. But it turns out that it wasn’t necessary; the Arnova 8 is a rather ordinary tablet with nothing to recommend it.

This tablet was originally designed by Rockchip, the CPU maker. The Archos Arnova brand was only slapped on after the fact. (The same is true for most of Archos' gadgets now.) It’s running Android v2.1 on an 8″ resistive touchscreen with 4GB Flash, a microSD card slot, speakers, microphone,  USB Host, and a g-sensor. It has the 2 speakers on the back, 3 buttons on the upper edge  (power, menu, esc), and the one home button to the right of the screen. All the slots and ports are on the right edge.

It retails for $159 and you can find it at J&R and Amazon.


This tablet has a g-sensor, but it’s been blocked from flipping the screen orientation (in most cases). For example, you can flip the tablet upside down but the screen will not change with you. That’s not such a bad idea; with the hardware button on top I’m not sure you should turn this tablet upside down.

The screen quality ranges from poor to bad for a budget tablet, and there are some serious problems with it. My first reaction to the screen was to send the Arnova 8 back right away; it was horrifyingly bad. The colors looked washed out and everything looked fuzzy.  i swear I could see the individual pixels, and not in a good way. Luckily I wanted to try the hacked firmware, and after I rebooted the new firmware seemed to have fixed a lot of the screen issues. It wasn’t nearly so ugly.

Even with the hacked firmware, the hardware quality of the screen will never be more than so-so. The viewing angles are acceptable but not great, and you need to be in front the device to get a clear picture. But do you want to hear something odd? The on screen keyboard still likes fuzzy and washed out even when it is open on top of a sharp image in the browser. Weird.


This comes with a pretty decent good set of apps, but most (like a browser, email, etc) are just the standard basic ones. It doesn’t matter; the hacked firmware gives you the Android Market so you will be able to get everything from there.


As a Rockchip tablet, this is incredibly disappointing. I have several gadgets made by Rockchip, and this is one of the worse ones. Actually, I’d say that this is the worst; the others were released as ereaders, not media devices.

The video quality would rank at marginal for a budget tablet if this didn’t carry an Archos brand and wasn’t a Rockchip design; my expectations are higher based on their past successes. The AVI video I tested (about 650×350 resolution) lost a fair amount of detail to fuzzy patches. A lot of the color is also washed out.

For a tablet that is pitched as having HD multimedia abilities, that is simply not acceptable.


I ran a 90 minute video and the battery was down to around 70%. I’d estimate that this tablet would play about 5 hours of video, which is pretty close to the 5.5h promised in the spec. Also, I forgot to turn the Wifi off and that might account for the difference.


The general responsiveness was good (for a budget tablet), but I wouldn’t call this a speedy tablet. Due to the disappointing video ability, I didn’t try to push the abilities.

As I’ve said before, this is simply a run of the mill budget tablet. If you buy it, don’t be surprised if it seems underpowered or weak.

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Mike Cane May 2, 2011 um 2:15 pm

>>>That’s not such a bad idea; with the hardware button on top I’m not sure you should turn this tablet upside down.

That’s actually important when you call up a picture and just want to flip the tablet over to show someone in front of you while still holding onto it.

mark von ricahards August 6, 2011 um 6:03 am

Just bought one of these for the kids to use to run an app I have developed. Was very surprised to read your video playback opinion, as I have not experienced this. Indeed, it plays back our own avi files as well as the latest Galaxy Tab 10.1, perhaps not as vibrant in colour, but certainly no artefacts. We even ran them side by side, and the video ran for 40 mins without any hitch.
As a very cheap android tablet (I have four kids under 6) my kids can enjoy some entertainment on long car jourmeys.
Of course the acid test of any device is Angry Birds, and I am very sorry to say it can only just manage to load it, playing it could be a new cure for insomnia!
Pull back, release, make a coffee as the angry bird jerks its way to it’s destination. Gave up after third level.

Nate Hoffelder August 6, 2011 um 4:27 pm

Hi Mark,

The screen on my unit was incredibly disappointing, so it’s not such a surprise that your screen was better. I think i had a defective unit.

Claudiu November 2, 2011 um 8:43 am

It stinks. I changed two tablets in three days. It won’t start from any button. Now it works, now it doesn’t. It probably has a fabrication series malfunction. Don’t buy this kind of device, especially if you are enthusiast about getting a tablet. It will dissappoint you the moment you get at home with it.

Tom rod December 26, 2011 um 12:07 pm

Totally disappointed, waste of money

karen gider February 8, 2012 um 6:16 pm

Love it, brilliant wee tablet for the money…charged overnight I get 9 hours battery life.Downloaded loads of apps with no problems. I would be total Sly lost without it now.:))

Lillian Yost June 12, 2013 um 12:26 am

mine wont come on just keeps blinking on off with the word Arnova on the screen what can I do I just got it last christmas can I get some help thanks Lillian Yost

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