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The Archos Family Pad: Can a tablet be too big?

The Archos Family Pad is a 13.3-inch Android tablet.

I'll let that sink in for a minute.

For sake of comparison, Apple's iPad has a 9.7-inch screen. The Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ has an 8.9-inch screen. The Family Pad: 13.3 inches. That's the same size as a lot of laptop screens.

Which begs the question: Can a tablet be too big? It depends on how you use it.

The Family Pad obviously isn't intended for things like reading books, as it's too heavy and unwieldy to hold for long periods. (Indeed, you really need two hands if you want to hold it at all.)

On the other hand, when propped on a table or countertop using the included stand, or just propped in your lap while you're watching TVs, the possibilities really open up.

Games, movies, Skype video calls, Web browsing--these kinds of activities get even better on that big, beautiful screen.

In fact, Archos actually touts the fact that families can kind of gather around the tablet to play games, even it means multiple players having their fingers on the screen simultaneously. (It's a 10-point multitouch display.)

Sounds pretty cool, though I have a hard time envisioning more than two head-to-head players.

In my time with the Family Pad, I found it really enjoyable as a couch companion. However, a couple things marred the experience.

First, it relies on a proprietary AC charger; most Android tablets use a standard microUSB connector.

Second, it's very slow to charge; it can literally take almost a full day to recharge the tablet.

It's easier to overlook such hassles when you consider the price tag: an impossibly low $299.99. There are many 10-inch tablets that sell for that price, let alone ones this huge.

Alas, you'll have to wait a bit before getting your hands on one: the Family Pad doesn't go on sale until later this month, and Archos doesn't even have a product page up on its site yet.

In the meantime, hit the comments and let me know if you think this sounds too big to be of practical use--or just right for around the house.


Veteran technology writer Rick Broida is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC World and Wired.

(Source: Savings.com)

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