My first tablet was Google’s very popular Nexus 7. It was the perfect balance between screen real estate, pocketability and power. It was reasonably powerful and while I couldn’t play many games on it it was perfect for checking my feeds, surfing and watching videos. That Nexus 7 is long since retired but I’m still carrying around a 7 inch tablet for the same use case. There is one problem though – it works fine when I’m within wifi but while I could use a mifi a tablet that could have its own 4g connection – and even make phone calls – would be ideal.
Enter the Archos 80b Helium. As the name would suggest the Helium 80b is the second Helium model made by Archos and is a budget 8 inch screen tablet with two sim card slots.
So lets talk specs. The first thing that you see is that 8 inch screen and it’s a 1280 x 800 resolution IPS panel that has decent viewing angles and brightness. Internally there’s a quad-core 1.0GHz and 1GB of Ram – not that powerful compared to many tablets but sufficient for reading, browsing and watching videos. Storage is only available as 16gb but there’s a microSD card slot and Archos are using a third party technology called Fusion. This tricks the OS into thinking the microSD card is actually internal storage – a very economic way of getting extra storage although it is somewhat slower.
The Helium has a couple of cameras – the back camera takes at 2MP and the front camera is .3MP so you can’t get great photos but it works for video calling and taking pictures of signs and menus. Connectivity is well served with 3g and 4g radios covering most of the possible frequencies on mobile phone networks, b, g and n wifi and GPS built in.
Price: ± Currently £96
Delivery cost: 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 Helium is a 8 inch white and brushed metal tablet with mid-size bezels. The controls are all at the top of the tablet with a 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB on the top and the power and volume keys on the top right. The microSD and dual sim card slot can be accessed under a removable cover on the back top.
- Target audience: Those wanting a larger screen to keep connected on the go.
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral white plastic
- Optimized for right handed use with the buttons on the right.
- Indoor and outdoor use, will not withstand inclement weather
Environment & People
At just under £100 the is among the cheapest LTE tablets available with most similar specced tablets costing at between £130 and £200. If you’re looking for a small connected tablet it’s great value.
Product dimensions: 12.2 x 1.0 x 20.6 cm
MicroSD Slot: Yes up to 64Gb
Screen: 8″ diagonal, 1280 x 800 IPS
Operating System: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Processor: Mediatek MT8735P 1GHz
Network: 4G, 3G and Edge
Sim 1x Mini and 1x Micro
Battery: Non-removeable 4200mAh
Charging: MicroUSB 5V 2A
Speaker: Single backward facing
Warranty: 1 Year
To get the most out of a Android tablet you need to have a Google account. Without this the tablet is useable but you cannot access the store, update apps or do a number of other things. A sim with a data contract or pay as you go is a requirement if you want to use the Helium on the go but it is possible to use it as a wifi only device.
The Archos 80b Helium Tablet is an odd device – it’s marketed as a tablet but with it’s mobile connection and ability to make calls is arguably a very large phone. It’s internal specs are reasonable and sufficient for consuming media or reading with the odd slow down but aren’t up to gaming. The 16gb storage is small for storing media files but that’s offset by the Fusion software that lets you trick the OS into thinking the SD card is part of the operating system.
If you’re looking to keep to date with your feeds on a larger screen whilst on the go and watch some TV the Helium will serve you well. Recommended for those users.