Archos are the one of the Android stalwarts, they’ve been making tablets for years now and now their product range includes a healthy selection of phones too. All different shapes, sizes and colours are available. The Platinum range offers a large screen, quad core experience at a budget price. Archos have sent us the Platinum 52 to have a play with. I’ve spent the last few weeks using it and it’s time for my review, starting as always with the good and bad points.
Good and Bad Points
- Nice feeling in the hand.
- Nice pre-installed Archos Media Playback apps.
- Dual SIM and Micro SD slot.
- Reasonable camera in good light.
- Slow response time on the display makes typing hard.
- Fingerprint magnet display.
- Pre-installed Gameloft games are annoying.
- Lack of internal memory.
Spec wise it’s firmly at the budget end of the scale.
- CPU: Mediatek MT6582 Quad-Core 1.3Ghz.
- GPU: Mali 400MP2.
- RAM: 1GB.
- Internal Storage: 8GB ( 5.52 GB spare out of the box).
- Expandable Storage: Micro SD card up to 64 GB (when formatted to fat32 standard).
- Screen: 5.25 inch, Resolution 1280 x 720 (HD), IPS, 280 PPI.
- Rear Camera: 8MP with Autofocus and flash LED, Video Encoding 1080p.
- Front Camera: 2MP.
- Battery: Removable 1750 mAh Li-Ion.
- Android 4.4 KitKat.
- Dual SIM tray: 1x Nano SIM 1x Micro SIM.
- SIM 1 2G/3G (WCDMA 900/2100 MHz) UMTS / WCDMA / 3G freqs.
- SIM 2 2G (GSM/GPRS/ EDGE 900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM / GPRS / EDGE freqs.
- Dimensions: 150mm x 76.8mm x 8.mm
- Weight: 161g.
The hardware chosen by Archos here has created an issue, a combination of a basic processor and a five point multi touch display means that typing at speed is difficult. Using a Swype style keyboard helps but for those that type two handed you may have to adjust your style.
A few things seem to be a bit awry with the hardware, firstly and most annoyingly the Platinum 52 struggled to keep hold of a signal in weak areas, this was the same for either 3G or WiFi, in areas where my other devices would be getting a decent signal the phone would be struggling to stay connected or just totally disconnected.
The other issue was the display response time, which was rather slow, which on top of the problem typing at speed made it hard to interact with apps. It could be that the display is a 5 point touch display, it could also be the MediaTek Processor and it could just be a slow responding digitizer. It could be all three joining forces, either way it made typing at speed rather difficult.
Here is a shot of how the internal storage looks out of the box.
The Archos Platinum 52 is quite a nice phone to look at and quite a nice phone to hold. The soft touch and partially ribbed back plate help with this.
The front of the phone is dominated by the nice colourful 5.2” IPS display, with the capacitive buttons beneath the display and the microphone. Above the display live the front facing camera, the various sensors and the earpiece. All standard stuff really.
The left hand of the phone doesn’t have any buttons at all, they’ve all chosen to hang out on the right instead, with the volume rocker sitting above the power button. I did at times hit the volume down button when trying to find the power button, I guess the slimline profile buttons and fairly central placement don’t help with that. The bottom right hand corner of the phone has a fingernail notch for removing the backplate.
The bottom of the phone is home to the Micro USB charging socket, which also acts as a USB Host port allowing you to plug in USB OTG peripherals.
The top of the phone is home to the 3.5MM headphone socket.
The back of the phone is removable giving access to the dual SIM slot, the Micro SD slot and also the removable battery. The back of the phone also houses the rear camera, the flash, the speaker, the nice feeling ribs and the Archos logo.
Overall the design is non offensive, it feels nice in the hand thanks to the size and the materials used. The bezels around the display could be a bit smaller and they could have gone with onscreen controls and the phone could then have been a bit smaller, but hey ho.
I’ve made a quick hands on video. Enjoy.
Archos have chosen to use the Google Now launcher on top of Android 4.4.2, they have installed a few handy apps like the Music Player, the Video Player and the File Manager which are all quite handy as they support network sharing so you can stream stuff across your network without a load of hassle.
Archos have made the usual mistake of pre-installing some other stuff, budget phone manufacturers must have some sort of financial agreement with Gameloft as I’m increasingly seeing a selection of their games pre-installled these days. Luckily they are all uninstallable.
The rest of the experience is just pure Android. As to whether this will be updated to Lollipop is another matter, historically Archos have been rather slow updating devices if at all.
Apps are quick to launch and function without any real lag, the launcher is fluid and lag free too. Turning down the animations improves app launching times as you’d imagine, this is just par for the course on a device using a budget MediaTek Quad Core processor.
A few tweaks here and there are welcome, such as the Lockscreen displaying notifications for messaging and phone calls.
Overall the software was quite nice, once I’d removed the pre installed stuff, it felt much like a Nexus 4 with a Micro SD slot and two SIM cards.
Other Notable Stuff
As usual there are a few categories that don’t quite fit into my general categories. Lets take a look
Benchmarks aren’t a definitive way of deciding if a phone is good or bad, for me they just give a general idea of the devices performance.
Antutu – 18081
Quadrant – 6898
3DMark – 2045
The battery on the Archos Platinum 52 isn’t huge at 1750 mAH, under heavy use I got standby time of about 13 hours with 3 hours screen on time. Under light use you can easily get a day and a half of standby time with about 2 hours screen on time. It isn’t amazing and it was probably affected by the 3G radio struggling with a signal all the time.
The cameras on the Platinum 52 are ok, in decent light I got some reasonable shots out of the rear camera and selfies again were ok from the front camera. Low light it all went a bit wrong, with the usual expected noise in all shots.
The front camera isn’t nice, it creates noisy fuzzy shots however I tried.
The speakers, earpiece and headphones are all often overlooked in a device review, the setup on the Archos is a rear mono speaker on the back, a 3.5mm headphone socket on the top and the single microphone near the capacitive buttons. I couldn’t see a secondary microphone anywhere around the frame.
The speaker on the back is ok, it is loud enough to listen to music in a quiet room. As long as you like your music without any trace of bass and really tinny.
Sound quality with headphones in was really good, with a decent pair of headphones and some EQ fiddling I was really enjoying listening to some music.
Call quality was ok, neither I or people I was on the phone complained of any trouble hearing me. It just wasn’t astounding quality, again I felt the struggling radio chip might have played a part here.
Overall the Archos Platinum 52 was a nice looking phone that was let down by some of the hardware choices, the fingerprint covered slightly unresponsive display combined with the MediaTek processor really put a dampener on my enthusiasm.
Some parts of the device were a pleasure though, the suite of Archos apps really shone through and made me remember the Archos of old with it’s fancy tablet media players. In this arrangement though they are ideally suited to filling a memory card with music and films and using the device as a decent media player, the Archos apps even handle network sharing out of the box, meaning I could stream media over my home network without a glitch.
Overall it has however left me intrigued about the higher spec phones from Archos and of course the recently announced Fusion Storage. I for one will be keeping my eye on Archos for their next generation phones.