"Better than Apple, Microsoft and all the Android phones"5.0 starson by Charbax
Pros: Fastest and Biggest Android experience in the world on ARM Cortex A8 at 800mhz loads website faster than anything else, as fast as Intel Atom. Video support best in the world with start of 720p MKV high profile H264 support. Up to 500GB, 8GB for $200
Cons: We would like full Google Marketplace support, it should come in Archos firmware updates to support Android 1.6 and 2.0 coming in the next few of months. Built-in 3G would make it perfect to replace a mobile phone.
Summary: Donald Bell, as usual, rates this as an Apple fanboy. How come his review of the similar priced iPod Touch does not list non-existing GPS, Flash, 800x480 4.8" screen and the video codecs support as bad points?
Archos improved or even fixed GPS, MKV 720p in the latest firmware: http://update.archos.com/7/archos5/changes_firmware_archos5.html Donald Bell should remove GPS from "the bad" of his review and change the rating to rate it better the the similar priced iPod Touch.
Sure Archos needs the full Android marketplace, but you cannot blame it on Archos when Google is still releasing Android 1.6 and 2.0 updates in the next days and weeks that are the first versions of Android to support the kind of medium density 800x480 4.8" touchscreen that Archos is using. I would rate this product 4.5/5 for currently lacking Android Marketplace and Google apps. But as I expect the full Android apps support to come within weeks on the Archos so my rating stays 5/5 cause I don't think Cnet allows me to update my review. If you absolutely need full Marketplace and Google apps, wait for the firmware updates and follow http://forum.archosfans.com to see when users report which apps that work already today or later (because hundreds do work fine today, and most .apk files for Android applications that you can find on the Internet will install by simply finding them through Google and clicking on them).
Follow the discussions on my forum to see if Archos will support the full bitrates of MKV 720p movies above 3500kbit/s. I haven't tested todays new firmware update that claims to improve MKV H264 support through:
"Video: H264 SD High Profile did not play
Video: allow smoother H264 HD playback in some cases
Video: seeking in MKV file sometimes caused audio or video freeze"
Until this firmware at least, 720p MKV support up to 3500kbit/s means 720p MKV TV series would playback fine (if Archos fix the audio synch issue on those HD MKV files) Since there is no other device in the world to support 720p MKV on Android or any other OS, I found MKV support to be a really nice surprise so even if full high bitrate 720p movies would not be supported even with the best optimized firmware update Archos can come with, I still don't think it should lower my rating. Since Archos provides the absolute best video playback, storage and streaming experience in the world no matter what. For example, Archos supports to stream Youtube HD at 1280x720 and 2mbit/s of those files, outputted to your HDTV through HDMI, which makes it the absolute best Youtube player in the world.
I haven't been able to test 3G bluetooth tethering, but with SIPdroid and other VOIP applications on Android, I do believe this could replace mobile phones to provide you with the most affordable free mobile phone system since the Archos 5IT at 8GB starts at $249 MSRP and street prices may go below the $200 and many countries have SIM cards for HSDPA to use for 3G tethering using any cheap $50 mobile phone for $20 per month pre-paid without the need to sign any contracts. Imagine runing Google Voice, Skype and SIP telephony on that setup, I think it could be pure awesomeness (although I haven't been able to test it yet).
Archos could release a version with built-in 3G (which I would love even more), though I probably wouldn't rate that 6/5 cause with built-in 3G comes other constraints, like a probably more expensive purchase price of the product if unlocked ($100 extra? $200 extra?), or a compulsary 2-year subscription plan with a carrier in many markets such as in USA, France and some other countries where it's the 3G carriers that make the law.
There are some good reasons for the iPod Touch to be selling faster than the iPhone at the moment. Price, and not having to subscribe for $1500 over a 2-year contract with a carrier. Archos 5 Internet Tablet positions Archos perfectly against the much inferior iPod Touch.