Update: CNET's full review of the Archos 5 is now available.
I've had my hands on the Archos 5 Android internet tablet for more than seven days now, and to be honest, I'm still not sure what to make of it. What's hanging up the review isn't the price (which starts at $249), or capacity (up to 500GB), or the impressive selection of features; it's the devices spotty performance. So far, some stuff just doesn't work as advertised.
If this were Apple or Microsoft, these performance glitches would probably have me spitting venom right now, but Archos is a relatively small company. Chalk it up to looking out for the little guy, but I'm going to give Archos the benefit of the doubt that many of the issues I'm experiencing will be fixed quickly with firmware updates and swept under the rug. In fact, a firmware update earlier this week (v1.1.01) already addressed a problem I had accessing content from microSD cards. In a perfect world, products wouldn't leave the warehouse half-baked--but every company is guilty of it to some degree.
My contact at Archos says there will be another firmware update available next week. Assuming this next round will iron out the kinks, I'm going to hold off on a formal review until then. Of course, I'm also advising that potential buyers wait until our rated review is up before investing in an Archos 5. Considering that Amazon recently froze sales of the 160GB model of the Archos 5, I think it's safe to assume that I'm not the only one having some issues.
Now, true to the title of this piece, my time with the Archos 5 has had its share of bright spots too. Most notably, its video player is one of the best I've used on any device. Unlike previous versions of Archos PVPs, the Archos 5 ships with all the critical video codecs installed, instead of requiring users to purchase codec plug-ins individually. My HD video podcasts, XviD torrents, AVIs, and WMVs all play flawlessly. Videos look great on it too, with the 4.8-inch 800x480-pixel resolution LCD that gives a rich and razor-sharp picture that holds up well, even in daylight. By extension, photos also look great on the Archos 5--although thumbnail previews and transitions aren't nearly as fast and fluid as on the iPod Touch.
If you ask me, the Archos 5's video player alone is worth the price of the whole device, assuming that digital video is really your cup of tea. Unfortunately, as a company, I think Archos is a little tired of being cast as a portable video player manufacturer. Looking at the packaging for the Archos 5, you'd hardly know the device played videos at all. According to the box, this is an "Internet tablet," a term Archos has whittled down from the "Internet media tablet" we saw last year. The choice of phrasing seems particularly odd considering that the device's media features are stronger than ever. I assume Archos wants people to understand in no uncertain terms that they are in the tablet business, in spite of seven years spent manufacturing media players. … Read more
There's very little that's different between the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 and the DSC-T900. The T90 has a 0.5-inch smaller screen that has a significantly lower resolution (910K to 230K dots). It also doesn't have a stereo mic or have HD output via HDMI, only component. But, that's pretty much where the feature shed ends.
Basic specs for the ultracompact include a 12-megapixel sensor, 4X optical zoom with stabilization, 3.0-inch LCD, and 720p HD movie recording. You also get Sony's intelligent scene recognition, intelligent auto mode, Smile Shutter, and face detection with child and … Read more
After a streak of Wi-Fi portable media players this season, including the Sony X-Series Walkman, iPod Touch, and Zune HD, the Android-based Archos 5 Internet tablet is probably the last major portable media player we'll see before the year's end. It would make for a cute read if I said they've saved the best for last, but after a few days with the Archos 5, I'm still not exactly sure where it ranks among its peers.
CHIBA, Japan--What do President Obama, robots, comic book characters, and solar power have in common?
Not much. However, they were all spotted (in some form or another anyway) at Ceatec 2009, Japan's largest consumer electronics show taking place here this week.
Click the slides below for views from the second day of the expo.
The CNET Prizefight you've been waiting for is here: Zune HD vs. iPod Touch. Just like the Thunderdome (minus Tina Turner and the post-apocalyptic wasteland), two portable media players will enter the ring, but only one may leave.
And for the first time, dear CNET readers, our Prizefight page has been redesigned to allow comments. That's right, now all your catty flames, insightful objections, or outright whining can be preserved forever, right on the Prizefight page. Another upshot of the page redesign: it looks soooo much better than the old version.
Alive 4-ever is a top-down, double-joystick, zombie-themed shooter with strong RPG elements and rich, gritty visuals and sound. The interface will be familiar to fans of other games with twin "virtual joysticks": you push one joystick to move and the other joystick to shoot, and you can tap touch-screen buttons to reload and swap between your one- and two-handed weapons. The display tracks your score, health, ammo, and time elapsed as you traverse dramatically lit, gore-filled levels, gunning down a variety of zombies--from your generic lumbering brain-eaters to speedy zombie dogs and "special" zombies that many … Read more
If the MP3 player market was a fault line, we'd have a boatload of busy seismographs on our hands. Certainly, two of the most exciting releases of the past couple weeks are the new iPod Touch and the Zune HD. Now, if you're curious how the two devices compare with one another, you could always read the deluge of articles available on CNET and around the Web, but we can certainly see how that might be a bit overwhelming. Soon enough, we'll pit the two players head-to-head in a knock-down, drag-out brawl (aka Prizefight). In the meantime, … Read more
A lot of people are betting that 2010 will be the year of the tablet computer.
Of course, we've heard such predictions about tablets before. This time, the reasoning goes, is different, because the devices will have more sophisticated touch screens and consumers are more used to virtual keyboards. Most importantly, Apple just might be jumping into the fray.
Tablets, you may recall, are either laptops with a screen that twists and folds flat and uses a stylus or fingertip for input, or something more like an oversize iPod Touch that's used for tasks like checking e-mail, getting on the Web, and watching videos.
True, market researchers at DisplaySearch predict sales for all touch-screen devices will be growing from $3.5 billion this year to more than $6 billion by 2012. But if 2010 is going be the year of the tablet--meaning regular folks start buying these en masse--someone has to get it right.
So far, we're still waiting.
Toshiba, Archos, Fujitsu, and Lenovo have touch-screen tablets coming our way in the next few months, none of which should revolutionize our already established expectations of tablet PCs.… Read more