"The Perfect Internet Device for the brave"3.5 starson by Serge81
Pros: Fast web browser, plays tons of video formats, android
Cons: battery life is too short, takes forever to charge, will freeze sometimes.
Summary: So after scouring the internet for reviews of this product and even taking CNETS reviewinto consideration, I decided to buy the Archos 5 Android with 160 gig HDD. As soon as I got it, I updated the firmware. I tried charging it via USB connected to a pc but it took forever to charge. I have heard it takes more than 4 hours to fully charge the device while connected to the pc via USB. Is this archos fault? not really, because a USB slot will only output a certain amount of power and since the Archos 5 is a power hungry device, its only logical that it would take a while to charge. Unfortunately in the box there was no wall charger. I think archos does this so you resort to buying their battery pack ($50) or their dvr dock ($130). I would say that this company is trying to nickle and dime you, but in reality, if you buy the ipod touch, you would have to buy a wall charger if you felt inclined to need one.
Aside from my quarrel with charging the device, everything else is pretty solid. Because I got the hard disk drive version, the Archos 5 is 2 times thicker than the solid state drive versions. It is quite heavy, but a plus is that it has its on kick stand. i can lay in bed and have it next to me with no problem.
As I write this, I have firmware 1.3.07 installed on the device. It runs quite smoothly. I can browse the internet pretty fast. It comes with ebuddy, a chat program that lets you log on into any of the popular chat client, ie; aim, msn messenger, icq, yahoo, etc. Because it runs android, it has access to the applib store. At the moment there aren't a lot of applications (i tink around 20 or so) but the ones that are there are useful for the most part. There are times when i'm trying to access the applib store and it takes a while to load or it says i need to clear the cache for the application and that also takes a moment. I think there will be more apps once archos updates the android os to the latest one which i believe is cupcake or eclair. In any case, once the os is updated to the latest android os, it will have access to more apps that run natively on an 800x480 resolution.
The biggest reason I wanted to get this device was to put my entire anime collection in it. Putting media into the device is a matter of click and drop, very easy and you don't have to convert a thing (unlike the apple wonder). While I do have a 32 gig iphone, I could have put my collection on it, but i would have had to convert more than 80 gigs of anime into mp4 format and even then i wouldnt have enough room. I tranferred avi, mp4, mkv's, and mpg's into the Archos 5 and it plays them all smoothly. It does have some quirks with the mkv or mp4, but i believe that future firmware updates will fix that. The tranferring time doesn't take long and the videos look amazing on the screen.
I also decided to put some of my mp3's into the device and they all play beautifully. I love that it has a built in radio tuner and under the archos media tab you can listen to web radio and your local stations while you're surfing the web or looking at pictures.
I should mention that the input method for typing is a virtual keyboard. its not really the best nor does its predictive text feature work well, but there are other keyboards that you can download and use.
Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase and because I am a power user and tech savvy, I don't think its too challenging to operate the device and get the most of it. You have to be patient with the device if you don't want it to freeze, but thats the same with a windows pc.