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Archos 50 Oxygen + review: Do we like this light-as-air phone?

Archos' latest budget device is light in weight but heavy on quality

Archos has been around for 17 years, but it was only in 2013 that it expanded into the smartphone market, generally hovering around the £100-£150 price bracket. The 50 Oxygen+ is at the top of its list in terms of specs and price, taking it right into Moto G and Asus ZenFone 5 territory. Low-price phones is an increasingly key battleground and manufacturers are having to pull the stops out on all devices, including the bargain basement ones.

The spec sheet on the 50 Oxygen+ is pretty impressive. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat on a nippy 1.4Ghz octa-core Mediatek MT6592 processor. It packs 1280 x 720 pixels into the 5-inch HD screen at 294ppi and the colours are rich and deep, for an enjoyable user experience.

It comes with 1GB RAM and a reasonable 16GB storage, expandable to 64GB via the microSD slot. This is fairly standard for handsets in this price range and the lack of pre-installed bloatware means that well over 12GB of that memory is still available out of the box.

It runs a very vanilla version of Android with little in the way of customisation. The only difference we really noticed was in the camera app that is very limited in terms of additional features, but the swipe method to show the menu is pleasingly innovative.

The Archos has an 8MP rear-facing camera and 5MP on the front. The former is quick to focus and adapts well to various lighting conditions, while the latter doesn’t cope quite so well when the light is bright or dark, although in normal conditions it is a good selfie snapper.

Visually Archos has clearly gone down the route of the iPhone 6, with a black front, grey rear and camera placement in the top corner. It’s a very basic design that looks sleek and it’s smooth enough to feel comfortable in the hand but is also rough enough to provide grip.

Overall we’re going to have to give the Archos 50 Oxygen+ a lot of credit. It is light, looks attractive and doesn’t feel too cheap. The cameras are fairly limited but perform well and we didn’t suffer any grainy images like some budget phones. It’s not particularly fast despite the octa-core processor, but you don’t feel like you’re hanging around. Games and videos all play fine. In the 50 Oxygen+ Archos has created a real contender in the budget mobile market.