Back in February, Archos announced three new Platinum tablets that appeared to offer top-shelf specs for wallet-friendly price tags. Sadly, only the two smaller models enjoyed a brief limited release in mostly Middle East regions, until now. The French portable consumer tech manufacturer has spruced up the Elements devices and issued a direct challenge to top-brand tablet makers like Apple and Samsung with the launch of the new Platinum Series tablets. The 116 Platinum of old has been swapped for a 10.1-inch device, which joins a 9.7-inch Retina rival and an 8-inch model. The three Android slates each feature a HD touchscreen, a quad-core processor, powerful graphics, and dual-band Wi-Fi.

Due for release later this month, the Platinum tablets have each been treated to an ARM Cortex A9 quad-core processor running at 1.6 GHz, 8GB of solid state storage (with microSD expansion), and Mali 400 MP4 quad-core graphics. Cable-free connectivity comes in the shape of Bluetooth and dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) Wi-Fi, and Wireless Display technology for mirroring screen content onto compatible big screen TVs. Users who prefer to get physical can do so via the included micro-USB 2.0 and mini-HDMI ports, and 3.5-mm audio jack.

The new tablets all run Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) and are Google-certified for full access to the Play Store. They can handle up to 1080p video playback at 30 frames per second, and the Archos Media Center app is reported capable of playing just about any music or video file format.

"The combination of features and design of the 97b Platinum HD and 101 Platinum tablets will put them in front of the iPad 4 and Galaxy Tab 3's at a better price," company CEO Loic Poirier said in a press statement when introducing the Platinum Series.

The 240 x 184 x 9 mm (9.4 x 7.2 x 0.35 in), 640 g (1.4 lb) Archos 97b Platinum HD is the top dog in the Series, boasting a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536 resolution IPS multi-touch panel and 2 GB of DDR3 system memory. This model has been given 2-megapixel cameras front and back, and packs a 7,600 mAh Li-Pol battery. At the time of writing, Archos is still testing battery life with the production firmware, so we're unable to report expected up time between charges. The 97b carries a recommended retail of US$299.99.

As you might guess from its name, the Archos 101 Platinum features a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 resolution IPS touchscreen. This 262 x 172 x 10 mm (10.3 x 6.7 x 0.39 in), 636 g (1.4 lb) tablet has the same amount of RAM as the 97b, and its rear-facing camera has the same 2 MP resolution. The webcam at the front drops to 0.3 megapixels, however, but the device does gain GPS functionality and a bigger Li-Pol battery (8,000 mAh). The suggested retail is $269.99.

The remaining Platinum family member is the 80b. This 200 x 154 x 9.9 mm (7.8 x 6 x 0.38 in), 440 g (0.97 lb) model has an 8-inch, 1024 x 768 resolution IPS display, 1 GB of RAM, and a 5,000 mAh Li-Pol battery. There's a 0.3-megapixel webcam to the front, and a 2 MP snapper at the back. This tablet has been priced at $199.99.

Product page: Platinum Series

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