If you are looking for a genuine alternative to the iPod brand, then the Archos is the one to choose. This product has several advantages over the iPod, particularly its large, high resolution screen which has surprising quality for a handheld device. It is however, also excellent as an mp3 player, although the sound quality on the integrated speaker could be better. On the Archos, navigation is easy, and the touch screen is also very effective. Its most attractive feature however, is the price, around £170 for the 160GB version, making it greater value than the equivalent iPod.
There are however, two main problems, one its battery life (although a booster pack can be purchased) which only lasts 3 hours or so when watching video. The other issue is the fact that although the Archos boasts WiFi capabilities, the internet browser, as well as other video-playing plug-ins cost around £20 extra, which means to get the most out of this player, further spending is required.
I've had mine for nearly a year now and use it most days on the train. As a video player its almost unbeatable, due to the range of video formats it plays (including MPEG 2, VOB, and transport stream files with the optional Cinema pack) and the quality and resolution of its screen. The battery life is reasonable at around 6 hours for video playback.
As an MP3 player its battery life is limited but does have reasonable sound quality.
Compared to something like an iPod touch it lacks the range of additional applications and games available, but then its much cheaper.
Reliability has been reasonable, but I occasionally have to reboot it and have had to run a chkdsk on it twice (from my PC) after its file system became corrupted. The physical reliability of the machine has been perfect even after knocking about my work bag for a year.
The touch-screen interface is perfectly easy to use, though the touch screen is not as responsive as it could be.
It will be probably not improper to say that when you talk about media players the name of a Sony or an Apple immediately captures your mind. At least it does to me. But not after I saw Archos 605 Wifi. I don't think it lacks behind any of those two if not better (Please keep reading this review, don't take a decision). Archos 605 Wifi is designed for elegance per excellence.
Just have look at the immaculate specification :
Depth: 0.8 inches.
Weight: 9.2 oz
Display: TFT 4.3" (color)
IAR (Image Aspect Ratio): 16:9
Capacity 160 MB (Built in HDD)
Digital Audio file supports: MP3, PCM, WAV, WMA, ADPCM, Protected WMA (DRM)
Digital Audio feature: VBR
Video play back formats. WMV, MP-4, Protected WMV (DRM)
PC Interface : Hi-Speed USB , IEEE 802.11b , IEEE 802.11g
As a video player Archos 605 Wifi is nearly incomparable and way ahead of the pack even if you take into account Creative Zen, Vision W or Cowon A2 for that matter. It probably has got the best video resolution and add to that it's capability to download movies wirelessly and in fact work as a perfect DVR.
Archos 605 Wifi's audio quality can be compared very favorable with any MP3 player of repute. It is equipped with an excellent customizable 5 band equalizer and Bass Boost control which is totally independent. You can grumble that as an audio player it is on the heavier side.
Please note that the sound enhancement applies both to Video and Audio play back. The best part is that it is capable of booting in multiple USB modes, MSC and MTP, helping those interested in pulling media files from both Mac and PC. It works as both, a Windows Media Player device and drag and drop to hard drive.
Now talking about battery life, there is a problem there, since it gives you around four and a half hours of video and just around thirteen hrs for audio file play back. But again 605 Wifi's power demands for the Wifi antenna must be taken into consideration.
But the real expenditure begins now. The Opera Web Browser at $30 dollars is a must to have real feel of the Wifi, then there is no problems with Flash Videos. Another $20 each for formats like H264, MPEG 2/VOB files Get the Archo hardware accessory DVR Station for another $100 which coverts it to a very sophisticated Digital Video Recorder and gets you an excellent home entertainment system. The DVR Station also allows 605 Wifi to display its content on your television using the 605 Wifi's remote control.
The basic price is $299. Do you think that's all to get the best out of Archos 605 Wifi? As I have mentioned above, it boils down to spending $299 plus $30 plus $ 20 plus $100 so how much does real Archos 605 Wifi cost? $449, it not at all cheap as it looked in the beginning ! That's why I said before hand (please read the review don't take a decision). A bit of marketing gimmickry ? I don't know, may be, may not be.
Excellent product but before jumping into it delve a little bit deep inside just not get impressed by tech specs.
(First published at ciao.co.uk under the same user name)