Archos 101 g9

The built-in camera is probably the weakest element of the Archos 101 G9. Even in good light levels the quality of the images taken are woeful, and when used in the standard low-lighting of most houses, it's barely usable. In theory you could get by using it for video conferencing, but realistically you'd be better off simply not bothering.

There's no rear-facing camera either, so you can pretty much forget using it to capture memorable moments if you do manage to take it out of the house. Trying to guess what is in the frame without seeing the screen isn't really what we've come to expect from modern technology.

If you're looking for a tablet that can put in a decent turn as a source for your social networking, then there are plenty of better options available - even the iPad 2's camera, which is universally derided for its lighting capturing capabilities, is better than this. And frustrations aside, the quality of photos captured by the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 beats this hands down.

Build quality

Archos 101 g9

There are plenty of plus points with the Archos 101 G9, and the odd negative, but to a certain degree these are all eclipsed by the tablet's chassis. It feels cheap, plasticy and generally not that impressive at all.

While the likes of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer has a solid chassis that feels like it can survive many knocks, this doesn't feel like it'd survive an unprotected trip in a handbag. The back of the unit flexes with even light pressure, while the stand that enables you to watch movies comfortably hands-free, bends worryingly easily.

Archos 101 g9

The power and volume buttons don't have any positive feedback, and both of these are located exactly where you'd naturally want to hold the machine, which means they're prone to accidental pushing.

There aren't a lot of positives to mention for the physical implementation of the 3G dongle, either. The actual unit itself seems badly designed (requiring a side of the dongle to be removed so that it can slide into place). Once installed, this dongle needs to be eased out slightly from the main unit to improve reception as well. Given its location, this is less than ideal, too.

Archos 101 g9

Possibly the most frustrating design choice, though, is that the screen sits behind a slight bezel. This means your finger will keep catching the edge of the screen surround when you're using it. It also looks far shoddier that it should do because of this design choice.

Why Archos felt the need to do it this way round, as opposed to having the glass screen in front of the machine's facia (like nearly every other tablet worth considering), is hard to fathom.

Regardless of what you've paid for your tablet, you don't actually want to it feel cheap. You want it to feel special, but you're not going to be showing off the Archos 101 G9 to anyone - which is a shame, because it is capable.