Mobile phones seem to be getting significantly cheaper and specs that a year or three ago would have been cutting edge are now on much cheaper devices. There is still often a certain connection between build quality and cost – a more expensive phone will feel more premium even if the specs are nearly the same. When Archos asked if I wanted to look at the Platinum 55 I said sure but expected a middle spec phone that didn’t feel as good as it might – at £80 how good could it be?
It turned out pretty good.
My first impression was the size. The screen is 5.5″ diagonally which is larger than most budget phones and it’s well integrated with small bezels. Start it up and it’s surprisingly snappy and reactive. So where has Archos saved the money? Look carefully and there’s a few things missing – only 8GB of storage, no NFC, no fingerprint reader and no 4G radios. The storage is partially counteracted by the microSD card, the lack of fingerprint reader and NFC is an inconvenience rather than a problem but the lack of 4G is more problematic. It’s been a while since I’ve used a phone without it but it’s not as bad as it looks – it does have HSPCA and I was able to get download speeds approaching 18 Meg/second which should serve most of the users this is aimed at. The phone is a dual sim and has slots for a full-size sim and a nano sim.
The Platinum 55 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and while the initial setup offers to download a number of bloat apps these are optional rather than obligatory. The end result isn’t quite vanilla but is only lightly skinned. The only really significant addition is Archos’s Fusion technology which fools the OS into thinking the microSD card is internal storage allowing more flexibility in its use.
Retailer: Amazon +
Price: ± £80
Paid extras: MicroSD card such as this Kingston 32gb one at £8
Delivery costs: Free Delivery
Ships to: U.K., Europe. U.S., Canada
Archos is a French multinational that started making accessories for the Commodore Amiga and mp3 players in the early 90s. They expanded into personal video players, camcorders and now produce a range of tablets, smartphones and are moving into connected IOT devices.
The Platinum is a fairly simply designed smartphone. The front is Gorilla glass with a speaker at the top centre, a selfie camera left justified and three off-screen buttons at the base. The edge is black plastic with several chrome inserts and the headphone jack at the top and microUSB port at the bottom. The plastic removable back has the centrally positioned camera above the flash and a single speaker at the bottom right. When the plastic back cover is removed the removable battery is exposed and underneath this are two sim slots – one nano and one full size along with a microSD card slot. To access the slots the battery has to be removed.
- Target audience: Second phone or budget phone seekers
- Target age range: Teens, Adults, Older adults
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral,
- Not optimized for left or right-handed use with buttons on both sides
- Indoor and outdoor use, will not withstand inclement weather with no waterproofing
The Platinum is available on Amazon for just under £80 which compares very favourably to other handsets available. The big things missing from the handset are a 4g connection and storage and Archos have managed to make up the storage issue with their fusion drivers. In return for those savings, Archos have put in a very nicely sized and responsive screen which many will prefer to the 4g radio.
In short – good value.
Product dimensions: 15.3 x 7.8 x .8 cm
Item Weight: 161g (including battery, sim and microSD)
Colour: Black and dark navy
Materials: Plastic back, gorilla glass screen
Made in China
Operating System: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Processor: Quad Core 1.2GHz
Network: 3g GSM WCDMA and HSPDA
Display: 5.5″ IPS 1280 x 720 – PPI
Camera:12MP with LED Flash and 2MP Front-facing
Connectivity: MicroUSB 2.0
NFC (Near Field Communication): No
Battery: 2400mAh removable Li-ion Battery
Warranty: 1 Year
To get the most out of an Android phone you need to have a Google account. Without this the phone is usable but you cannot access the store, update apps or do a number of other things. A sim with a data contract is a requirement if you want to use the Platinum on the go but it is possible to use it as a wifi only device.
Before I got my hands on the Platinum 55 I expected a fairly standard lower-cost Android phone. What I found was more interesting – Archos chose to skimp on the radios but instead gave us a large decent screen and a reactive well-designed device. If you’re looking for a larger backup or festival phone or a phone for your kids with a large enough screen to watch videos on it’s a good potential choice. Recommended for those who want screen over performance at a budget.
The review is based on the Archos Platinum 55 Smartphone kindly provided by Archos. Read more about Ergohacks’ eco and access icons used in reviews. This article was first published on 3rd August 2016.