Tablet Gaming Reaches A New Level With The Archos GamePad, Now Available In Europe

Tablet gaming is evolving at an incredible pace. We can now play titles on our iPads and Android-powered slates that have graphics and gameplay that rival their console counterparts — and at a fraction of the cost. But I’ve always felt there’s one thing missing, and that’s physical controls.

The Archos GamePad solves that. It’s an Android tablet, on sale now in Europe, that boasts physical buttons and joysticks to provide you with an enhanced gaming experience on the go.

Without a physical controller, certain titles and genres just don’t work well. Take platform games, for instance — when you need to be fast to make that jump or dodge that enemy, virtual buttons that you cannot feel can often let you down. Then there’s first-person shooters, which can be painful with virtual analog sticks.

That’s not the case with the GamePad. Alongside its 7-inch 1024×600 display, you’ll find a real d-pad, real buttons, and two real analog sticks. And that’s to Archos’s “revolutionary” button-mapping tool, you can use the controls with games that weren’t designed with physical controls in mind.

“Android device users spend more than 9 hours a month gaming on their devices and yet are not completely satisfied with the touch-screen experience,” says Henri Crohas, Founder and CEO of Archos. “We feel this area of gaming is proven and will continue to grow. With the introduction of the GamePad we are uniquely positioned to feed the demand of gamers who want a better gaming experience on a tablet.”

Inside the GamePad there’s a 1.6GHz dual-core processor combined with a quad-core Mali-400MP GPU. It has 8GB of internal storage that can be expanded via the microSD card slow, and it’s powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It measures 10mm thick, and weights 7 pounds.

It’s not the fastest Android tablet on the market, but it’s not going to break the bank, either. In Europe, the GamePad is on sale for just €150 (approx. $194) — that’s less than a Nexus 7. It’s coming to the United States in early 2013.

Will you be adding a GamePad to your Christmas list?