Pros Video server, video codec variety, picture, improved bowser
Cons Need computer or dock to charge.
Summary I have owned the AV120, AV 500, 604 WiFi, and an IPod. Just got the 605 WiFi and played with it for a couple of days.
I am not an IPod fan, primarily because of the proprietory codecs and the lack of a bookmark feature. But, it is definitely the easiest to use (load music/video and go).
That being said, and despite the fact that I really didn't like the 604, I have been mostly pleased with the 605 wifi.
The browser is better (don't know why Archos didn't upgrade the 604 to provide the same function).
The resolution is better.
The variety of codecs is still excellent.
The ability to stream audio and video through the wifi is still the best feature. (Beware - it will not stream VOBs - the bit rate is too high). Divx video, even at fairly high bit rates (1500 Kb/s), is handled very well (Haven't tried Divx HD).
The need to purchase additional software is fine - it helps to keep cost down. Though I suspect it is very rare that anyone would buy the 605 wifi and not intend to use the browser.
I don't like the fact that as shipped you have to connect it to a computer to charge it. This really limits portability...If you are going to be carrying around a computer, why not just use the computer as your PVP?
You can buy the docking station (okay, adds significant functionallity but not vital so offer it as add on) and take your docking station with you or buy a travel adapter (actually, I can use the USB adapter with my car audio's powered USB).
Finally, they have no satisfactory cases ... wait, they have NO carrying cases. The shipped "case" is just a sleeve.
Archos has a reputation of poor support for their devices. If they choose to actually support their Generation 5 devices with consistent and useful firmware updates as well as accessories this could be a 9. (It could only get a 10 if it worked with 802.11n so that it could stream VOBs).
Pros Bright screen, great video resolution, feature-full (on the surface)
Cons Poor touch interface, hidden/poorly organized features, poor WiFi portal
Summary I bought the 605 WiFi based on the CNET review and after using it for a couple of days, I'm very disappointed in the product.
The main problem (and, in hindsight, an aspect not covered at all by the CNET reviewer) is that the user interface is terrible. Touch buttons are all different sizes. Some functions you can do via touch, some with the dedicated keys, and some with both. You have to double-click in order to select an item with the touch interface, and who would realize you have to click "X" in the corner in order to simply go back a level in the interface? (Windows user would, I suppose.) The options for each app are communicated by tiny indecipherable buttons. And the touch interface itself is not very responsive at times (which, combined with the need to double-click some times, but not others -- makes you never sure if the unit heard you or not). I could go on and on -- have the reviewers never tried an iPhone to see what a real touch interface should work like?
Unit itself has a nice form factor and a beautifully sized screen, but the overall fit and finish is a bit lacking. For example, the dedicated buttons don't have a very nice feel to them (and their poor arrangement is another usability issue).
After using the unit for a day or so, it started trying to get a software update, but if I used the unit, it kept having problems with the WiFi connection dropping. Finally I left it untouched for an afternoon and it succeeded. (In other words, you can't use the product while software is downloading in the background.)
Tried to register for downloading content from the WiFi portal -- it was pretty confusing to get registered, and I think when I finally entered my credit card to start downloading something, something went wrong and I would have had to start over again, so I never bothered.
On the positive side, the screen is very nice and videos look pretty good once you manage to get content onto the device.
As a music player, though, it took way too many taps to get it to play a song. And when I accidentally copied over some songs with DRM (I have subscriptions to Rhapsody and Yahoo music services), it just silently refused to play. There should have been some sort of error dialog at a minimum. Don't know if it's supposed to be Plays4Sure compatible or not...
Overall, this product has great "specs", but in everyday use, the usability is poor.
If all you want to do is copy some video content onto it and watch it on the plane, I suppose it's fine.
But if you expect this product to "just work" and fit seamlessly in your life as a WiFi-enabled portable music and video player, the implementation is half-baked.
Pros Hackable, hi resolution, wifi, sd expandability
Cons no pda features
Summary Makes a great device for videos, supports usb host, has component outputs, everything. period.
Pros Easy to use, Gorgeous screen, Excellent audio, supported audio/video formats
Cons Device freezing 5 times in 2 days, slightly unresponsive touch screen, absolute necessity to buy wall charger, No SDHC support by default
Summary I've been using the device for 2 days and it managed to freeze 5 times, and seriously slowed down a few others. After 24 hours charging on my laptop's USB, the battery is still not considered full by the system; I will test it with a wall charger. The screen is sometimes a bit unresponsive. But all this is nothing compared to the absolute pain in the a** to find a compatible SDHC card to upgrade the 4GB unit.
After searching on internet's forums, I stumbled across a user created list of compatible SD cards with the Archos 605. It seems according to a post, that customer service asserted SDHC is not supported by default, for the High Capacity SD cards to function with the device, it requires a line of code in the firmware FOR EACH BRAND AND MODEL of SDHC. As such, Adata 8Gb class6 will work, but Adata 16Gb Class6 will not, but Integral 16Gb Class4 will... Added to this madness, Archos does not provide a list of compatible SDHC cards, has apparently only tested Sandisk SDHC cards, and yet, still maintains the device is upgradable with SD cards up to 16Gb... This behaviour is intolerable. How can you say to support SD upgrade up to 16Gb and not be compatible with ALL SDHC cards? Why screwing up people that buy your device by making them buy memory cards that won't work?
This device has the potential to be the King of PVP's, a few serious firmware updates should do the trick.
As a music player, sound is perfect, but would have liked some more visual customization during playback.
If your emphasis is on video don't hesitate to buy the 605 but with a 40Gig hard drive or more. It's a tad heavier, but you'll avoid the hassle of upgrading with unsupported SDHC cards.
Pros Multi format support (With Extra Plug-Ins), good looking display with great resolution, steady construction, easy to use.
Cons EVERYTHING IS AN OPTIONAL EXTRA! Meaning you will end up paying a lot more after you buy the device! Additional plug-ins go start at $19.99. Accessories are even more expensive, to have a fully operational Archos you will end up paying around $500!
Summary It is a really flexible device, its got really nice features (Cost Extra), so I recommend you do a really good research and see how much you will need to spend for it to do what you want, other that that, I have no complains! So be ready to pend some bucks on this device if you want it to do what Archos says it can do. Read the * next to each feature!