Archos is a company known primarily for its range of wallet-friendly tablets, and its first entries into the smartphone market are aimed firmly at the low to mid-end of the spectrum. Though the 35 Carbon, 50 Platinum and 53 Platinum might not stand up to market-leading devices from the likes of HTC, Samsung and Apple, they do boast some nice features for their price category.
Archos claims that the 50 Platinum provides “an experience similar to a Samsung Galaxy S3 for half the price”, but that statement is only half true. The screen is of a comparable size and there's a quad core CPU on board, but everything except the price falls a little short of the competition.
Excepting screen size, the 53 and 50 Platinum have near-identical specs, with 1 GB RAM and 4 GB of internal storage (expandable up to 64 GB via Micro SD). The processor is a 1.2 GHz quad core Qualcomm cortex-A5, and both the 5- and 5.3-inch qHD IPS displays have a fairly lackluster resolution of 960 x 540 (at 220 DPI).
That said, it's important to remember that both the 50 and 53 Platinum are significantly cheaper than the competition, and quad core processors for the respective prices of US$219.99 and $249.99 are not to be sniffed at. The price isn't all that Archos is doing right, with both the larger devices running on stock Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, boasting full access to the Google Play Store, and featuring dual SIM card slots.
Both devices feature an 8 MP rear camera, G-sensor, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and micro USB for charging and syncing. The 50 Platinum comes in at 160.9 grams (5.7 oz) with a thickness of 8.9 mm (0.35 inches), while the 53 Platinum is 189.9 grams (6.7 oz) and measures 9.25 mm (0.36 inches). The 50 and 53 Platinum carry 2000 mAh and 2800 mAh batteries respectively.
The 35 Carbon offers something a little different to its big brothers, and its biggest selling point is the price – $99.99 buys a 1 GHz Qualcomm 7225A Cortex-A5 chip, and 512 MB RAM with 4 GB of expandable storage. Those are reasonably solid specs given the budget price point, but some users are likely to be put off by the 3.5-inch 320 x 480 display, or even the fact that this model runs on Android 4.0.4 (ICS). There are VGA cameras on the front and back, a 1300 mAh battery keeping things running, and the same set of sensors as the 50 and 53.
While none of these devices can hope to compete for the Android smartphone crown, their low price points, vanilla Android build and quad core CPU (on the 50 and 53) means there's a lot to like if you're in the market for a budget smartphone. Be sure to check out the gallery for a closer look at all three models.