With the boom of tablets and hand held devices, it was not going to be long before someone joined the two together, and Archos have done just that twice. The first interaction of the Gamepad was a bit rough around the edges, but the new version of the GamePad, GamePad 2 (clever name), is a powerhouse for mobile gaming on the Android platform.
For most gamers there are two very important things when they’re buying gaming hardware, one is the graphics power which the Gamepad 2 is packing very well. It has a Quad-core GPU Mali 400 MP4, this will eat any type of 3D and 2D game you care to play on it. It will also mean that you can play at a very nice resolution all on a 7“ screen running at 1280 x 800. The next is the processor, and you’re not let down in this area either. The Gamepad 2 is packing a Quad-core A9 processor running at 1.6GHz, it’s also got 2 GB of RAM which will be enough for any mobile gamer.
With mobiles, weight and size plays a big role when picking what’s good for you. For me the weight of the Gamepad 2, weighing in at a very nice 400g (0.88 pounds), is great. There are a few problems though, mainly with the size and layout; the Gamepad 2 has a 7 inch screen with the d-pad and two analogue thumb-sticks, 6 front facing buttons and 4 shoulder buttons. It just feels too wide, and after a few hours of playing I started to feel a bit uncomfortable. The analogue thumb-sticks are comparable to the Sony PSP so they’re not that bad at all, but can feel a little small.
The GamePad 2 runs Android’s Jellybean which, I have to say, for me is a great version of the ever growing Android OS. For the most part, it is the stock system but there are a few mods and tweaks in there. One of the biggest is the Gamepad app, which lets you configure the buttons and analogue thumb-stick for games that you download, it is a great app. Other than that the Gamepad 2 can be used as a normal tablet, you can browse the internet, watch YouTube, and do any other tablet type things you want to do with a touch screen that’s big and responsive. It is also easy on the eyes with its brightness and crispness, fonts are easy to read and games look amazing.
Storage wise you will have no problem. There are two versions, an 8GB version and a 16 GB version which can also be expanded up to 64GB with a Micro SD card, which you can add at a later date, so you will have plenty of space for your videos, pictures and games. Talking about videos, games and pictures, the Gamepad 2 also comes with a mini HDMI port, which means you can display your videos and pictures on your big HD TV, which also means you can play your games on a big screen should you so wish. One of the biggest things, after all this, is the battery life which I was very impressed with. I set about using it as I would my phone or my tablet, to play games. I found that I got a good day’s worth of gaming out if it before I needed to charge it again. I also used it as a tablet for general YouTubing, internetting and video playing and I got around 9 /10 hours out of it.
Overall the Gamepad 2 is a great device, and I’d certainly suggest you take a look if you are in the market for a mobile gaming device. There are some possible game-breakers though: one is the size, it is a large device for small hands and even for me it felt a bit big for my hands, and the choice of whether you want a tablet or a gaming device. I understand that some people will say that this is the best of both worlds and while I agree to a point, I just think it needs a few more tweaks to achieve gaming perfection. Maybe the next Gamepad will smooth off those rough edges to make it even better.