At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking we were re-running a review from last year - we originally put the Archos 5 through its paces in October 2008. The addition of two extra words to the end of the name may not sound that exciting initially, but while the Archos 5 Internet Tablet may look very similar to its …
Looks nice, but shame about
the Archos badge.
That means that straight off the bat, you're looking at only 1 year of support for the device, bugs galore (check out the archos fans forum to see how many people have some very serious issues with this device), terrible tech support (I emailed last year about encodes from Handbrake on WinXP and they replied saying they didnt support Mac).
They are a terrible terrible company, who treat the early adopter as unpaid beta-testers, and reward the late comers with downgraded hardware (the Archos 5 got a terrible screen after the early batches).
A few years ago you could rave about Archos, and their quality, but those days are sadly long gone.
Too bad it's from Archos
Like Neil said, you've got a year or until the next generation comes out for support. Archos is well known for abandoning their gear when the next hot thing comes out. Bought an Archos 704 wifi about 6 months before the next generation came out. Once the next gen came out support, updates, improvements were all dropped. All the cool stuff designed for the new toys won't work on the old toys.
This should have been an important part of the review. Companies known for abondoning their customers should not get positive reviews on their toys. Why spend $500 on something that a year from now will be completely forgotten by the manufacturer?
I dont mind if they drop support if the device works properly. However I suffer daily reboots from my 5, there is a known issue with the DVR not recoding sound in sync with the video, the clock doesnt keep time, H264 crashes the device if played for extended periods, and much more. If the 5 had been left in a decently working state, then I'd have no gripes.
The problem is that I bought my 5 at launch - the 1st 3 months had BETA firmwares (they even had the gall to label them beta, despite me being almost £500 out of pocket for the device). I paid for the HD plugin at launch and had to threaten to take them to court as over 6 months later they had still failed to deliver it (trading standards said 6 months couldnt count as "coming soon" if it was already paid for). After the device came out of BETA, its still never worked properly.
Now the Android version seems to be having many many issues - so bad in fact that Amazon even removed it from sale in the US! From dodgy Wifi, poor bluetooth tethering to poor MKV support (sound out of sync if you fast forward) means that current users still have a beta product. In 1 year Archos will leave them high and dry, with a machine that still doesnt do what it should have done **straight out of the box**.
So punters, vote with your wallets and buy something else. If you want a decent media player that can run apps, try a Viliv S5 - a real PC in your pocket. Even if Viliv go belly up, you will still get XP updates for some years!
OI! El Reg!
Contributors have left comments about the review process omitting or overlooking support as part of a purchase.
Perhaps the reviews need to take such onboard starting with a call to Archos asking what kind of support is being laid on.
Couldn't agree more!
Nice little box from a dreadful company. I have an Archos 705 wifi, would NEVER buy another Archos unit again.
shame. could have been a contender
looks like the Nokia Nxxx devices and Viliv MIDs will dominate... at least until the RegPad surfaces (or an I confusing you with a Crunchy alternative!)
Proprietary USB ports and 13 quid to get decent video playback ona device that's for browsing the Interwebs but doesn't have Flash or the basic Google client software that should be baseline for Android. GPS that takes 10 mins to get a lock? Heck my cellphone is locked in seconds every time and (here in the US) if I don't liek 10 bucks a month for Telenav there's always http://waze.com or similar
I'd love to use a device like this as a basis for a "gym buddy" [ http://bit.ly/8QBmC ] or as an Auto PC [ http://bit.ly/3Zjjkv ] but so far everything in this form factor has been long on promise and short on actual delivery.
Unfortunately there have been numerous postings on the gadget forums about the buggyness of these. Constant crashes and reboots and frequent hard resets (i.e. you lose everything) required. Even Amazon pulled the sale of these for a while. That is just unheard of.
Archos has released 4 firmware updates in the short time since release. This not what you need, especially as you lose your apps etc as part of the upgrade process. Their support team is not being very sympathetic either. People are getting emails like "We are working on a fix, wait for the next firmware". No apologies.
The same happened with the 5. It went out very buggy and 8 months later there are still issues that have not been fixed (DVR audio sync, back to back recording, truncated recording, clock drift etc). As Neil says, Archos quickly drop any support for the previous device after the new one is released. You are left with bugs and no hope of a fix.
It is worrying that it is becoming the norm for companies to release beta products and expect the consumer to simply put up with it.
Archos seem to be using their paying customers to try out and debug their Android concept for them. They clearly hope that if it is shiny enough then people will put up with it. Wrong.
Also, these things are in real short supply. Worse still, people with failed units are being told they will have to wait a month for a replacement. Just not good enough.
This is all a real shame. Archos used to be a by word for quality, if expensive, products. Unfortunately they have now blown their reputation out of the window. Now they are just expensive.
That does indeed look like a far better buy.
Agree with others
Agree with others. Archos used to be very good, had the original MP3 player and then the Studio 6GB player back in 2000/2001, had an AV560 and got a 250GB 5 series last year.
Their support is rubbish. You pay for codecs that should be there from the start. You have to pay for any sort of connectivity beyond the basic.
The hardware can be good, as said the 5 series had a change of screen supplier - i.e. cheaper, i.e. bad, but is otherwise okay, it's the firmware that lets it down and their insistence on following the non existent max volume level 'law' - I have to have mine on virtually full volume in order to watch a film - and that's with very sensitive earplugs (UE 5pro)
They lost all my support, I'll be looking elsewhere in the future.
I think the others have said it all
I have an Archos AV500 and was quite pleased with it when i bought it, but the support is completely non existent (and at times non sensical) and the firmware updates dried up even before the newer models appeared on the market.
The company itself seems to sacrifice integrity in order to squeeze every last penny from its customers and then drop them quicker than a hot potato. It's a shame but I will not buy anything from Archos again. I would prefer to find an honest company that I could feel some loyalty towards. I dont think Archos will have much of a future as a company based on the amount of negative feedback they recieve.
Oi! El Reg! Part 2
Perhaps reviews could consider:
Just to add to the consensus that I would never ever buy archos again after my last run in with their support and the ease with which their products break.
Also they don't mention that leaving it in the docking cradle for extended periods, something your liable to do with pvr functionallity, screws the battery
Erm - you say it has the following downsides:
-No Google apps
- The lack of app availability and the pain of manually download spotify,
- Problems scrolling using your finger and the screen feeling plasticy and not as responsive as the iPhones screen (not surprising given the capacitive -v- resistive technologies)
- The pay-for plugin to get all the codec support
- poor sound the bundled headphones
- The short NDrive trial (and problems with a slow fix and iffy directions when they did use it).
and then give it 90%! How does that work? An Android device with no Google apps? That is just ridiculous! Especially with all the other problems being reported. Come on, don't be blinded by shinyness El Reg!
Another 705 WiFi "Never Again" owner
Loved the machine, hate the company. </sigh>
It's not like the old days
I still use an 80GB AV300 - superb interface, bomb-proof hardware. "It Just Works", and has done for years and years.
More recently got an AV700 - grotty interface, temperamental hardware. "It Only Just Works", and doesn't get used at all now.
There will be other Android PMPs.
I have an AV500, really nice unit, never seen any other device (even PC software) that can ffwd/rew through video files as well+quick as this unit can, external recording is nice - but the kicker is the HD in my unit now has a few errors on it and Archos have implimented software locking so I can't replace the drive myself. Physically it's possible to swapt the drive out, which I tried but it just refuses to use the new drive. I tried contacting them through support email wanting to pay them to do the replacement - no answer.
Utter utter bastards.
Never gonna buy Archos stuff again, especially as it seems you have to buy codecs to play back standard video formats and if you want to record from cameras etc. you need to buy a plethora of docks for the damn things.
all negative comments from the same troll
I'm using the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android using the iGo stowaway bluetooth foldable keyboard to write this comment, it works absolutely awesomely and replaces my laptop when output on my 42" HDTV using the HDMI output.
Media playback and Internet Browsing is close to perfect even now with just Android 1.5 firmware, which was only supposed to work for A couple HTC phones. With the updates with Android 1.6 and 2.0, Archos will get all the wvga apps, Google Marketplace and all that so it will rteach closer to perfection.
... what is the screen quality like Nicolas?
Nicolas Charbonnier=charbax owner of archosfans
Don't listen to charbax. He's such a archos fanboi.
He has a site dedicated to being a archos fanboi.
He gets a boner from hearing the word archos.
This guy is a tard and a tool.
He literary responds to each and every archos type review to defend why archos makes such
This Tool went so far as to buy stock in the failing company.
So take charbax comments on archos be reliable with a grain of salt.
He said all the previous models which now has no support were great also.
Beware Nicolas Charbonnier aka Charbax
Nicolas Charbonnier is better known as Charbax, the #1 Archos fanboy who will go on every Archos review and try to tell the world that they will be fixing all of the problems some time soon. His forum is just him cheer leading for Archos. So take his comments with a grain of salt. He's rather like the Microsoft dude in the Apple commercials, promising that the new version of Windows will not have the problems of the last version.