While Apple, Samsung, Creative and the like squabble over the mass market for MP3 players, Cowon and Archos have become engaged in a fight for the premium end of the market. The latest shot in this battle is from Archos: the fifth-generation 705 Wi-Fi. On introduction to the 705 your first thought will almost certainly be 'wow, …
"Creative and the like squabble over the mass market for MP3 players"
Do a bit of research mate before you knock out generic nonesense!
Creative own the only company that has made a chip capable of doing 720P HD output from 1watt of power and you think they arent interested in this market?
I have the similar but more portable 800x480 4.3" Archos 605WiFi
The Internet is MUCH better than Safari or Opera on the E65 phone. Phone displays are just too small.
But all these Archos are useless for DVR. They only record at 640x480
As PMP (video) and Web-Browers, great. I hope the rumour of Real Player or equivalent is true.
Unlike other PMP it will play 720x576 files as is. Though re-encoding to DivX is recommended to fit 2 to 3 times as many as straight DVD (which needs a plug in).
Indeed these are not DVRs.
50% a little harsh?
The buying optional extras thing is a huge source of contention on most Archos forums, I agree. But there's no questioning its capabilities. I use the 605 WiFI (much smaller but same video resolution) and it's awesome. You failed to mention things like that with the (optional extra, of course) battery dock you can extend the battery life whilst supplying a USB port which allows you to plug your digital camera in to it and transfer files on the move without the need for a computer. This is a huge + in my book... (although another quirk about the Archos models... without one of the three possible docks, you can only charge from USB [not mains] which takes a wee while.)
The Opera browser is actually very good but it uses Flash Lite and it's only Flash Lite 1 (or 2), or rather, the version that doesn't support Flash 8/9 content. So most of YouTube and others are out.
In fact, the more I write this the more I think 50% was fair! Archos do do a good job with regular firmware updates to fix the bugs and add new features (assuming your model is flavour of the day.)
Assuming you don't need the 7" screen, then the 605 is cheaper, more portable and just as capable. It's cheaper than e.g., iPod Touch and has way more features.
Why mention this does not match the 1280x720 resolution of the Cowon A3, when in the Cowon A3 review, you say it has a 800x480 panel that just supports up to 1280x720?
So 480 native? But does (720p)"HD" ? Riiiiiiiight...
"Navigation around the 705 is pretty straightforward"
"The icons are not that intuitive"
lol, make your mind up...!
As far as I'm concerned, all of those chargeable extras should be standard out of the box. I'm sure it will do a very nice job, but I agree it needs marking harshly for being a con artist
One problem with the screen..
....that put me off the 705 was that it's only 262k colours, where as the 605 which I got instead, with the same resolution is 16million and makes quite a difference. Plus the 705 is really too big for travelling on buses/trains or walking.
Also, it supports WMP for synching out of the box so you don't have to drag'n'drop, but drag'n'drop is usually better as you can use other applications to manage your collection.
I just wish it could internally resize video that's too large, within reason, rather than rejecting it.
Oh and I agree with the double tap nonsense - I wish they'd add an option to set it to single tap.
Closed Linux OS = Bad. Nokia's Open Linux = Better
The makers of the Archos have given the device a closed version of linux. You can not develop applications for it, so you simply won't find any of the common applications you would expect ... unless Archos makes it and slaps a price tag on it.
The Nokia N810 is far more flexible. the Maemo OS is open, hundreds of applications are available from people around the world for free ... although admittedly many of them should NOT be coding ... but if you don't like it, you can build something yourself, unlike with the Archos.
... For example, Mobipocket ... not available for either device. But thanks to the open source Garnet Virtual Machine, with some effort you can run Mobipocket for Palm on your Nokia N810, while the Archos owners keep begging Mobipocket for a version ... that Mobipocket can't make due to the closed Archos system.
The Nokia N810 has similar battery life, a good screen if smaller, is much lighter and comfortably fits in a coat pocket.