Traditionally, we've not had a lot of time for combined personal media players and internet tablets. This is because most of them are just not very good. Cowon's Q5W was hampered by having Windows CE lurking in the background, the Archos' 605 Wi-Fi made rather heavy weather of web navigation, the Archos 705 was just very, very …
My Touch kicks the bucket, I'll give one of these things more serious consideration, I think.
i have a 605 WiFi (40gb) as a cheaper alternative to the 16gb iTouch (highest available at the time) , and generally cant fault the performance, but i think it borders on criminal to sell a PMP which wont play most of your files, then charge you extra for the privilage and then charge you even more to unlock the wifi capability, despite it being WiFi out of the box. (which it is, but only to access their media portal, very poor version of youtube)
thumbs up for the products, but overal thumbs down for the cheeky tactics
Proprietary connectors and plugins that should be included.
just a clarification
The new archos 5 is the best thing ive ever used, the reviewer has obviously done the test before the latest firmware release yesterday. with the latest release they have added Flac and Ogg support also the battery life (from the specs) have been risen to 7hrs video and 22hrs audio (although ive yet to test this).
Its a massive improvement on the 605 (although that was also a excellent machine).
you can get lots more info and support on this little gem here
Other PMPs ..................
Nice review and this is definitely on my 'get the company to buy it for me' list. However, there are a number of much cheaper PMPs on the market which don't seem to get reviewed - how about the Onda VX767 or VX787 to start with?
the latest firmware adds flac and ogg support for free
Looks lovely but...
All the nickel and diming that Archos are famous for means that, yet again, they aren't going to have a penny from me.
Not even including a mains charger with the thing? That's just ridiculous. And mind that you don't lose that proprietary USB connector.
Could have been great, but then it all goes wrong.
Archos software is awful
I've got an Archos 605 (4GB) media player and the software is absolutely terrible. It's very buggy. You wouldn't believe how many times it's been thrown across the room in frustration as a result. The latest version of operating system is slightly better but still a major headache.
I've heard the other 605's are better. In my view the 605 (4GB model), because of the bugs in it, should not even be on the market.
My faith in Archos went through the floor when I encountered the problems the 605 has. Stupid, silly bugs which in my view (having been a software developer for many years) are down to sloppiness.
Even the way the built in keyboard works, changing from uppercase, to lower case, to numbers still doesn't work properly. Ever tried moving files around in the filing system? Forget it man, it's a complete nightmare.
At one point, I seriously considered ditching the model and buying an alternative media player from another company.
The reset button is nearly the most frequently used button on the device.
The software was so bad in fact (in an earlier version) that it was no longer possible to download a new version of operating system, or the same version, to restore it back to the factory defaults. The thing was completely useless and was ready to be returned back to the supplier because there was nothing that could be done to rescue the device. It was only by sheer luck I was able to get it functioning again and I wouldn't be able to repeat the steps!
I have zero confidence in Archos's ability to write software that works reliably.
I hope the Archos 5 is better. But I fear within Archos software development teams is a couldn't care less attitude and it's probably a cultural issue within the organisation. In my view, the Archos 605 was not ready to be released on to the market place.
My recommendation is therefore, that you don't buy the Archos 5 for some length of time and read-up on people's reviews of it and allow it to go through several versions of software updates. I will never trust Archos products again.
And take note peeps, Microsoft aren't providing support for the Opera web browser for Hotmail email, so I can no longer read my emails using my Archos 605..and that is a real pain in the bum.
Have the fixed the problem of the volume being too low? I have an 604 and the volume is laughably low. I have to rip my DVDs and boost the volume by 250% to watch them and drown out the hoi-poli.
Also, proprietary charging/transfer connectors? Please use USB Archos like everyone else!
The required Extras..
Leave a sour taste...
Archos have released new firmware that gives Ogg and FLAC capability :)
I have to say, man that Mini dock is ugly.
More unbiased discussion going on at www.UNofGadgets.com
No buttons=No sale
I bought a 605 recently (£80 for the 4gig version, £50 for a 32gig SDHC card) because I don't want to watch films through a mess of fingerprints. It worked out at half the price of a 5 and the firmware is mature.
@ "Looks lovely but..."
I agree with your sentiments, but I must add another feature they missed out on completely is bluetooth headphones. There are just some places you can't flash a gadget like this without getting mugged for it and wires are such a pain.
Looking Really Good...
Intelligently choosing which formats to support and what extras to supply, and which are unneccesarry and should be offered as purchacable extras, Arcos is obviously aiming at the PMP king, Apple.
For my 605, I just use one of those USB Mains adaptors bought from ebay for about £2.50. Works perfectly. Device is pretty good ( 40gb for £90 in currys sale )
605wifi 160GB is nice, but flawed
Can't replace battery like you could on earlier models.
No AAC/MP4 codec updates so a number of modern encodes don't work
no wmv7/8 support
frequent use of the reset button which needs a actual pin rather than just a fine point pen to reach.
doesn't charge while plugged into USB unless the device is off. Also battery pack/charger things doesn't charge while connected to USB either.
creating playlist on the file system frequently gets lost
battery life is abysmal
The 5 looks nicer, but I'd wait a solid three months for real reviews to come in before taking your wallet for ride.
The 3G version might be interesting with a suitable data plan, but I don't see any reason to upgrade from my 605 WiFi 160Gbyte, which with current firmware (May 2008?) is fine. Unlike iPhone/iTouch the browser works without having to zoom in/out (800x480) and supports Flash9, Java and Many non-605 Opera Widgets.
I like having the buttons. Easy to skip or change track while driving without taking eyes of road.
Very stylish and I would get it if I didn't have a 605WiFi 160G. Can't see any reason to upgrade.
Another missed opportunity from Archos
I own a 605 and I've to say that it constantly frustrates me. Not because the thing is not working as advertised, far from it. The frustration comes from what it could have been and is not. And reading the review I see that they have not learned from their mistakes.
Instead of opening it up, they choose to keep it closed so that they could sell whatever add-ons they think are going to be interesting to the consumer, one that is probably quite frustrated to find that even if their movies are in AVI format, the built-in player cannot play because the sound is in AAC format. Or that, even if the movie is at 800x480 resolution your player cannot play because the image size is "too big"
Sorry, Archos, I refuse to pay extra for playing mainstream media formats on your media player. Besides, it's not a lot of work to "fix" that (just converting to MP3 and transcoding to AVI in xvid+mp3 (not AAC, no) at 640x480 gives me a movie with very good quality in the 605.
And just imagine what could happen if they opened the APIs and HW specs. Being based on Linux means that there could be a thriving community busily porting email clients, VPN connectivity, web browsers, PIMs, VNC clients (come on, there is one even for the HP IPaq!!), games, media players and who knows what else. Not to mention the vertical applications. The Archos would then be the "tablet done right" that lots of people are looking for.
I don't understand Archos's marketing, product positioning or logic. Releasing a media player with crippled format support to have it activated later on a pay for format basis. Including WiFi but making the web browser a separate item to buy. Not encouraging developments by third parties on what seems to be quite capable hardware.
I'll never buy another Archos product.....
...since my son's multimedia jukebox shorted out and nearly caught fire in his pocket. Turned out to be a serious design flaw that caused a component to scratch its way through some insulation until it touched the battery. I made many attempts to contact Archos by email and phone with absolutely no joy and no response. A lot of money, time and effort down the drain.
So combine that experience with the prospect of buying a product that isn't complete until you have bought a lot of 'extras' and you have something not very attractive at all.
just to inform you that we have released an updated firmware that does add support for OGG and FLAC:
And there is no point to drop WMA/WMV to save some quid as M$ is not charging anything for it. That's them clever or evil, you decide :-)
Thanks for that Yann, the firmware update arrived in the 24 hour gap between the review being filed and going live. Sod's law as they say! Thanks also to everyone else who pointed this out.
Re. WMA, I was under the impression that MS does indeed charge a royalty for use of WMA & WMV decoders on devices not already using a licenced version of an MS os.
10 cents a go for WMA by looks of things.
My 705 is lovely, this looks great, but...
I'm me-too-ing two of the usual three gripes:
i) Charging for codecs p*sses me off
ii) Closed UI really p*sses me off since it's presumably there to support (i) and I'd love to tinker.
Charging for optional h/w would be fine, if it weren't that they go OTT with the cost.
So unless they get those two main issues sorted, my 705 is likely to remain my last Archos purchase. Sad, since they make really solid h/w.
Will it blend?
What is the underlying OS? If it's Linux/BSD can I load G++ on it?If not will it run Linux? Can it boot something other than it's installed image?
There are a large number of worrying reports of the paint wearing off on the corners of these things within days of ownership. Also reports of stuck pixels being common.
A PMP that requires the purchase of extra plug-ins to work as a PMP? FAIL!
A PMP that doesn't come with a charger? FAIL!
Archos' reputation for taking the mickey continues and I will continue to ignore the platform. My Nokia N800 meanwhile meets all the criteria.
Archos...a disgrace to technology.
If you want reliabilty DON'T buy an archos, any archos!!!!
I had a 605 for about 4 months until it bricked itself.
Sent it back to archos and after a month, yes a month, it was working again.
The next day I placed it on ebay and sold the fuckin thing, it is now somebody elses headache.
Archos - approach with caution
I have a 605 Wifi (4GB). When I bought it I really wanted to like the product, but little by little Archos managed to chip away at my love, until now I barely use the thing & will never again buy an Archos product.
Briefly: The hardware & especially the software are always in beta & never quite work. Technical support are grossly incompetent & rather rude, eg. send a bug report & get a message back saying 'Yeah, we know' - & they still haven't fixed the bugs. & a few months before shipping a new range, all maintainance of the previous models will cease - learn to love those bugs 'cos you'll be stuck with them for ever.
In my dealings with Archos I was made to feel that I really didn't matter. I realise that to a big, mass-market company individual customers don't count for much, but you never actually tell them that.
I have liked and bought Archos since their Jukebox Recorder 10 days in 2001-ish, but the moment they started charging for plugins and extras (e.g. no mains adapter) was the moment they lost as regular bump of £250 every 18 months from me. FAIL.