Pros Smooth recording, album covers, 30 GB of memory.
Cons Real time recording.
Summary As many of you have probably done, I have researched and read the few limited reviews I could find on this item, but finally i purchased it yesterday from the Sharper Image. So far its amazing, I did have the Archos AV420 but returned it because the battery failed on me. The AV500 is truly an amazing machine. The screen is so much sharper than the AV400 that it is indescribable. You can record directly from your DVD player, VCR, Satellite or Cable Box, which I am doing as I type this. I already put about five different cd's on the AV500 from my collection from Windows Media Player, and that took a mere twenty seconds for each cd. Also, the AV500 displays the album cover for each cd. The AV400 did not recognize many of the album covers that the AV500 does. The "TV Pod" is much easier to hook up on your tv than that of the AV400, and it seems that there are many less wires coming out from the pod. The built in speaker is good if your sharing with someone else, but the included earbuds have very good audio quality. In the case comes a user guide, 2 sets of audio and video cables, a USB 2.0 cable and USB host adapter, AC adapter and charger, Stero headphones, the TV cradle and IR emitter cable, Remote control with batteries, and the Protective Case. All in all the AV500 is a must buy for anyone who likes music, photos, and videos. I am in luck too because I am going to Washington in a few days which is an eight hour drive. On average the AV500 probably will have about 4 hours of playback on the battery while on video, and 10 hours of playback for music, but I have yet to test that. I am very happy i purchased the AV500 from The Sharper Image.
P.S. A few of the reasons why I purchased the AV500 30 GB instead of the 100 GB is because it has a removable batter with the 100 GB doesn't, I would never use 100 GB of memory, there is a significant price difference between the two, and also there will be a mini video camera coming for the AV500 soon which I will purchase as soon as it is available. I spent all summer working for the AV500, and so far it has been worth every cent.
Pros Frigging awesome screen, great sound quality (BYO headphones), fits in your business shirt pocket, simple interface, better looking than the other stuff out there, recording functionality
Cons No kickstand, no dock, no stretch zoom, no included remote, no MPG playback, no AC3 sound playback
Summary This thing rocks. I had a PMP-1000 I-station that broke on me twice, but had what I thought was a nice looking screen. It had a touch screen interface but the GUI was terrible.
I heard about the AV500 but thought "nah, I already have a PMP" but I was browsing the shops on a trip to Hong Kong and saw one in the window. I asked the shopowner if I could demo it, and after seeing the screen quality and simple user interface, I decided to purchase it immediately. I would deal with the 'cons' of the device and figure out how to pay for it later.
The device has excellent sound and good Mp4 compatibility. It seems to have ample processing power and the screen is very very bright. It draws eyes when I use riding the train here in Tokyo (they don't sell domestically). I have a 1hr each direction commute, which is perfect to catch a 1 hour TV drama episode each way to and from work. Of course a lot of people have no use for on the go video, but for those of you who are like me, get one and get one now.
Ever since I got this device, my iPod is collecting dust.
One drawback compared to my previous player is that it only plays MP4 type AVI files - it won't play MPEG1, MPEG2, or VOB files. Also it only plays AVI files with MP3 sound codec - videos with sound encoded as AC3 play without sound. I wrote a script that converts the sound and Mpg files so not a big deal except for the wasted time.
Also, the battery doesn't seem to last as long as the one with my old personal video player, but I can still watch about four hours of video on it even at the brightest screen setting.
I really wish it had a stand that would fold out the back for desk use. Also, the headphone cord plugs into the top of the unit instead of the side. I like this better than the right side plug of the AV400 series, which was annoying because my Sony earbuds wrap around my left shoulder, but the top socket means I'm always pushing the cord around to the back of the unit. Also, I was able to make do with the 0.5m length Sony earbud with the left-socket of my old PMP, but with this unit the cord is about 10cm too short, so I had to search for about a month before I found a headphone cord that was the best length (0.7-0.8m seems to be perfect - the typical 1.2m cords are too long).
The unit also includes zoom modes to try to fit non-wide video to the wide format screen, but the only available modes are normal aspect ratio - this means if you don't want black borders down the side of the screen when playing a 4:3 aspect ratio video, you need to choose a mode which crops the top and bottom of the screen. My old player had a convenient 'fit to screen' mode that stretched the source video to match the screen aspect. A choice would be nice.
Even with these shortcomings, I still give this unit a "9" mainly because it does what it was designed to do - present excellent quality audio and video with a simple intuitive user interface. That's what really matters, isn't it? I can live with those other shortcomings!
So go ahead - get out there and buy one now! Figure out how to pay for it later!
(Like a previous rater I wouldn't bother with the 100GB model. It would take you weeks or months to watch all the videos).
Pros Beautiful screen. Nice UI. TV recording capabilities.
Cons Case could be better. A few other minor gripes.
Summary To preface, I've loved my 2G iPod since I bought it in 2002. I bought the AV500 after deliberating on whether or not to buy the 5G iPod. After a week of playing with the AV500, I'm more than happy with my decision. Here's the rundown:
- The screen is absolutely gorgeous. Viewing angles are great and the screen is bright enough for daylight viewing. The widescreen aspect is great for watching ripped DVD's. Other devices offer higher screen resolution and color depth, but in my opinion the AV500's specs are perfect for it's screen size. As a result, videos are sharp with good color saturation.
- The AV500's UI is remarkably intuitive considering the robust functionality that the device offers. Menus are easy to navigate and everything is where you would expect it to be in the menu structure. I like the fact that it only takes two button presses to get to the system settings from the main menu. Navigating through music and video is pretty easy, though not quite as easy as with the iPod. If the AV500 had a Sony-esque Jog dial, it would be every bit as easy to navigate as an iPod.
- Bookmarking and on-the-fly playlists. The bookmarking function is great. You can set a bookmark in any audio or video file so that you can return to that point in the file the next time you play it. For some reason, you can only have bookmarks in 16 files at a time, but I really only use 1 or 2 at a time. On-the-fly playlists are great and you can save as many as you like by renaming them right on the player.
- TV recording. This is the calling card of the Archos AV line. I really don't understand why other companies haven't caught up yet. Programming recordings is identical to the process on a VCR. The IR blaster works well. While I can sympathize with people who would like to see this thing work like a Tivo, you have to be realistic. Without a network connection, Tivo-style scheduled recording is next to impossible.
- The battery. So far, great battery life. I haven't thoroughly tested it, but I have watched 2 ripped DVD's and the battery meter still showed 2 of three bars. Music is even better. I've listened to it for 8 straight hours at work, and the battery is still strong enough to watch a video on the way home. The fact that the battery is replacable is a huge positive.
- The integrated speaker is a nice-to-have feature, but it's on the tinny side, and you have to crank the volume up pretty high even to use it in a room by yourself. Sound quality through headphones is excellent and the AV500 offers individual controls for Bass, Treble and Bass Boost as opposed to iPod's presets.
- Having used iTunes for a few years now, I'm not particularly fond of having to use Windows Media Player to sync this thing. Archos includes an iTunes plugin for Apple users, but so far there's not one for Windows. I suppose this is more of a gripe that I have with WMP and not with Archos.
- The few negatives that I have are really, really minor gripes. The first is the case. The case does a decent job of protecting the player, but it's just too small. I can't fit both of the AV500's bottom corners into the case. The headphones sound good and have an inline volume control, but they're awfully uncomfortable compared to my EX71's (still, the AV500 phones are a bit more comfortable than Apple's headphones). Really though, who uses the included headphones for any product these days?
- You can't hear the audio while you fast-forward through a song/audio recording. Although, I rarely need this, it would be nice for audiobooks or podcasts. Seems like Archos could (and should) integrate this into a future firmware update. The bookmarking feature makes it for this in some respects.
- Sometimes the AV500 chooses the wrong display size for my videos. For example, it will sometimes stretch 4:3 TV rips to something like 5:3. This is easily fixed by a menu selection, but preferences aren't saved. The ability to save preferences for each video file would be nice.
- No way that I've found to control my DVD recorder's tuner with the IR blaster. The AV500 includes codes for VCR's, cable boxes, and satellite receivers, but not for DVD recorders. This seems a little odd, considering that most techy types that buy the AV500 are more likely to use a DVD recorder than a VCR.
All in all, for those that want audio AND video functionality, this is an iPod-beater in my book. The only "advantages" the iPod has over the AV500 are a smaller form-factor and the ease of use of a scrollwheel. As for size, the AV500 is awfully small for a video player with a 4" screen. If fits in my jacket pocket and is as portable as anyone could expect from a device that is dedicated to video, and it's screen kills the iPod as far as viewing videos goes. I have to admit that I was just slighly afraid of experiencing "buyer's remorse" with the purchase of an AV500, but now that I have it, there is no way that I would ever think of returning it (or trading it for a 5G iPod).
Pros tv,dvd,sattelite, cd recording+ beautiful screen+great battery life+drag and drop music
Cons cheap headphones, crappy chassis design, lack of equilizer, bad,bad, video conversion software
Summary I recently purchased the Archos AV500 after many weeks of research and I am extremely pleased with this product. I wrote Archos and suggested that they provide a firmware update to fix the lack of equalizer and the no music while viewing pictures problem. They told me that they would send it to their techs. (whatever). For the most part this device is cool if you are a gadget fiend like myself. Its not really that bulky and the screen kicks zen I mean a**. The only major flaws that I found where the chassis design I mena its 2005 and the device looks like a cassette throwback LOL. I will warn you right now if you buy this product purchase some good headphones cause the ones that they provide suck. They should have given consumers at least an lcd headphone remote combo for the price. Ohh well no sense crying over spilled milk. DOnt buy into the NANO hype or the creative crap. this product is for the educated consumer who pays for quality and not style.
"THE PERFECT DEVICE FOR COMMUTERS WHO DESIRE POCKET SIZED ACTION! BETTER THAN COWN A2!"on by CEOof34th
Pros Beautfil interface. Buttons are fairly easy to use. Newly added fast-foward button. Video playback is great on the tv. Audio quality is superb. Pictures come out looking stunningly crisp & vivid.
Cons Still can't multi-task. No stand to view video hands-free. Same cheap accessories. Pictures have to be in certain resolution to view properly. TV Cradle needs power to record, unlike the AV400 series.
Summary This is my second review of this product...
I have had the Archos AV400, AV700, and PMA400 and this is truly the best one to date.
Audio has definetly stepped up a notch. Audio volume quality is the best, now you actually have a reason to put the speakers in the device on. The only problem I have is that the earphones it comes with doesn't allow you to truly enjoy and appreciate its quality, which is why I bough better ones. The bass is incredible as well.
Video is superb on this. The only problem I have is that the resolution has to be in really good quality (like dvd) in order to watch good quality videos. If not, the resolution is resized to the best possible viewing quality. The best part is the fact that I can always record/download movies on the device, hook it up to the tv and start playing it. Its like renting movies without the pricetag. Plus, you can view your video library by thumbnails.
Windows Media Player 9 allows you to easily sync media on it without much hassle. To sync video on it using WMP9, it may take a while, but its the fastest video transfer I've seen (approx. 5-10 min. for a movie) and WMP9 converts your video and syncs it all in one step. So all you gotta do is drag the video file to the library, sit back, and watch Windows do the rest, great for beginners.
Picture viewing is great, comes out vivid and crisp. The downside is that there's no multi-tasking (viewing photos while listening to music) and the picture has to be a certain resolution in order to view it properly.
In other words, if you have a picture of yourself and put it on the AV500, chances are its not the best resoution, so you'll only see the bottom half appearing on the screen. But this can be easily fixed with paint shop or other programs.
Recording has to be the best feature a PVP can have. It records from your TV/DVD easily. The downside is that the TV Cradle you need to record no longer has its own stand, making it hard for you to place the device while recording. Also you need to hook up the charger to the Cradle in order to record (I guess so it can have power). This was not even a factor for the AV400 series.
With some minor drawbacks that you can either ignore or learn to live with, this device is truly the people's choice. Commuters will find its suprisingly small frame easy to enjoy on the road. This is truly no match for the Cowon A2. Even though the A2 does boast a 10hour battery life, it still is not a replaceable battery and definetly does not have a camera attachment like the AV500, allowing you to record live video from it. Hands down, best PVP. Disagree? Prove me wrong!
Thank you for reading my opinion and if you have any questions/comments please email me at JeffreyG718@yahoo.com