A Review of the Archos 43 Internet Tablet

Posted by Scott on Apr 3rd, 2011

After blogging that I bought the Archos 43 to replace my Archos 5 IT, I promised to write a short review of the A43. Well, here it is.

First of all, I am much, much happier with Android 2.2. I’ve found it to be an order of magnitude more stable and responsive than 1.6 was on the Archos 5. I don’t have to worry about app compatibility, and the wifi and power management are rock-solid. I still use it primarily for recreational browsing, ebook reading, checking transit arrival times, etc.

I never thought I’d make use of the camera – which definitely isn’t of high quality – but I actually find it kind of fun to take spontaneous photos of places I’m at or meals I’m eating. The slim form factor and 4.3″ screen make it very pocketable, and I find I don’t miss the larger screen of the A5 as much as I thought I would. Archos has been releasing firmware updates every month or so, and I’m glad they are actively supporting this device.

My biggest (and just about only) beef with the Archos 43 is the resistive touchscreen, which is many times worse than the one on the A5. It seems that Archos tried to make the touchscreen as sensitive as possible, but this results in “ghost” presses and scrolling unreliability unless you are very careful to always use the edge of your fingernail (or a PDA stylus).

The behavior when you try to use the pad of your finger is so bad, I uploaded a video of it to demonstrate:

Unfortunately the section of the video where I was scrolling a web page did not come out (too much constrast), but the Screen Test Toolkit demo made the same point.

I’m never buying a tablet with a resistive touchscreen again, that’s for certain. This problem makes it so I can’t hold the tablet in one hand and scroll web pages with my thumb – everything is forced to be a two-handed effort.

Overall I am happier with the A43 but I feel it still has a serious flaw that I have to continually work around.

Usability Guru Jared Spool to Speak at UNH

Posted by Scott on Jan 20th, 2008

Jared Spool, a founder of User Interface Engineering, will be speaking at the University of New Hampshire this coming Thursday, January 24. His topic is “What Makes a Design Seem Intuitive?” Jared is a true guru of usability and this is a rare opportunity to see him present in this area. The meeting is being sponsored by the New Hampshire Usability Professionals Association (UPA). You must RSVP to attend because seats are limited. RSVP to info at nhupa dot org.

CAPTCHA Usability Improves

Posted by Scott on Sep 4th, 2007

I just noticed a major usability improvement regarding the use of CAPTCHA images for login verification. Namely, don’t show one until you’ve received a failed login attempt. NewEgg does this, and a colleague tells me Google has been doing it, too. It makes perfect sense – give your user the benefit of the doubt the first time around, and then enforce use of the CAPTCHA if you suspect you might be the target of a brute-force attack.

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