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For a number of years now I have been using this device in a number of situations, from day to day bus trips listening to music to long distance journeys watching multiple films. Due to the age of this product it is not supported by BBC Iplayer though this is a minor drawback since the product comes with cables that allow the device to record video/audio from a number of sources.
The battery life of this product is incredible, more the devices ability to retain charge over a long period of time - 7 months now. Charging the device has been an difficult process occasionally thanks to the build quality of the supplied international charger; after replacing this with a dedicated UK charger I've never had any problems.
Not only can this product playback video and Mp3 files, it can also display a variety of image formats. Supplied is a usb adapter allowing external devices to be used with the Av500 e.g. memory sticks/memory cards, opening the doors for more storage and ultimately more potential for usage.
Video of a higher resolution can be played on this device, slow down can occur; but for the age of this device this alone is a demonstration of the power that this technology can have.
When my partner and I started travelling to work by train each day we both bought ourselves one of these players to while away the time when we were on the train. This has probably been one of the most worthwhile electrical items we have bought as they are still used every day some two years on!
The player is a great size and has a big enough screen that you don't have to strain your eyes and also fits nicely in my handbag which is not huge. The case is made out of metal and has a good quality feel to it. If you do buy one to use it is well worth investing in a case which not only protects it but also props the player up for if you want to rest it on a table.
The picture quality is excellent, and the screen resembles that of a tv screen and shows a very clear picture, some of the newer models have a more lcd tv appearance and i don't always find these as clear as this one, especially on really sunny days. The sound quality is also excellent although I have found that you do have to use very good (or the ones supplied) headphones in order to get the true benefit, again, compared to the other newer models i find the sound quality better on this one.
Ease of use
This model has a few more buttons than the newer versions and is a little more complex but it doesn't take long to get the hand of it. It has a huge 30 gb harddrive which can accomodate around 25 or more complete seasons of programmes, around 50 films and huge volumes of music. It is very easy to transfer files from the computer to the unit, you simply plug it into the computer and then drag and drop in all the files you want. There are additional plug ins which can be purchased from Archos to support digital formats that are not already recognised by the system but i have not needed to do this yet.
All in all it is a very nice piece of equipment.