"Very capable product with rich features and styling."4.0 starson by MrGadgetman
Pros: Screen size, touch screen interface, battery life, internet browser, wireless options, Formats...? Bring It!!
Cons: GPS sucks, doesn't like to get too busy, had to buy plug-ins for additional format support.
Summary: This thing kicks badunk-a-dunk! Overall, it is an awesome device. It plays just about anything you load into it. I haven't run accross anything it will NOT play, but I did have to purchase a plug-in that turned on the support for one of the video formats. That sucked.GPS Issue: Earlier I slammed the unit, claiming the GPS has yet to work. Turns out that after calling the good ole folks at Archos it was revealed that several units including mine left the factory with bad GPS chipsets. These defective units had GPS hardware that failed to initialize, which was the reason that it would never receive a signal.
It is soo easy to load this thing with music or videos. No itunes, no media players necessary. Just drag and drop files right into the appropriate folder on the device and you are ready to go!! Too easy. You can use Media Player 11 to
synch, but you do not have to. There is a DVR module you can buy that allows you to record TV or any other source so that you can take all of your video with you.
As long as you are doing one or two things simultaneously the unit works fine, but it will get a little choppy and fussy if you force it to multi task too much.
Bluetooth was a selling point and it works just fine! I hate wires. You can completely customize the home screen with wallpaper as well as the colors of the menu buttons, etc. The selected wallpaper scrolls as you wipe from page to page also.
Video and Audio play perfectly on this unit with lots of audio playback options including ID tag support. It will play WMV protected files, your standard issue MP3, and various lossless formats. There is also a 5-band EQ with presets and a balance control. Video files play flawlessly as well on the big screen which is sharp and rich with color. Best screen I have seen on a media player this side of a laptop. There are motion thumbnails for the video files when you highlight then and you can pick your thumbnails as well. I guess that's useful, I dunno. What is useful however, is the buit-in kickstand that will let you stand the unit up at an angle to view it on a desk or wherever. No need to by a dock when it already has its own leg to stand on. The need to buy a unit with a lot of storage is not as paramount because it has expandable memory via SD card micro.
The form factor is small considering the overall size of the player. Not nearly as bulky as it looks on TV. The screen is dominate and the back of the unit is a glossy carbon, metal-like finish. I'd Invest in terrycloth for this unit however, if I were you. Having a slim formfactor means that the parts on the inside are closer to the outside and there isn't much between you and the internals. What I mean is that this baby gets hot on the interface side (left when in landscape) pretty quick. After about 7-10 songs in succession it got hot enough that I looked for a place to set it down. Not burning-can't-handle-it hot, but whoa-I-didn't-think-It'd-get-this-hot warm. A plus in the pocket during winter I'd imagine.
The GPS..., well, CNET was right..., it sucks. I have yet to get mine to work and I've got all the latest firmware. It will not find a sat signal at all and I was in the middle of a lot with narry a tree or building within 200 meters. The only disappointment on the unit. I tried different locations and times of day..., no joy.
People have slammed the Archos 5 for its poor apps support. I say, so what. Personally, I could not care less about what can buy for it or download on it. I bought it to play music and movies/videos and to web surf. I do not need extra gimmicky crap sucking up my storage space. I don't care that there's an app that lets you open your garage from the couch or whatever.
The web browser works great. It looks good and it loads content fast. Very easy to scroll and scale the pages and the built in accelorometer orients the screen to however you hold it, though it does have a delay. There is also support for email (various types) and you can configure multiple accounts. Lots of wireless options too. Wifi, bluetooth, and piggyback sharing. You can pipe your 3G phone through this unit and use its internet as long as your phone supports it. You can also answer calls when your phone rings. They really didn't want you to have reason to put it down.
Admittedly, the touch interface is not as silky as the i-whichever. Sometimes thinking about it first before it responds, but most of the time it works great. The transition from portrait to landscape looks cooler on the i-whatever too, but it is not a dealbreaker. Zooming on photos is a single finger sinch. You just touch where you want to zoom. No two finger pinch dance.
Bottom line: if you want a media PLAYER and not a portable accessorizer station, then this is for you. It plays nearly everything you throw at it, and it surfs the internet with its host of connection options with ease. Consider the GPS a happy accident, if it works for you!
Updated on Nov 24, 2009
After getting a brand new one in a sealed box and trying it out, the GPS signal was acquired within 1 minute! The GPS feature is actually pretty resourceful, loading POI in proximity to you in real time. Icons in the viewable map area appear and you can tap on them to plot a course. Voice guidance a plus. The view automatically zooms (scales) in and out to facilitate the next turn or elaborate on complex interchanges and intersections. It also shows your current speed as well as the current area's speed limit. There is a nanny alarm, but you can defeat that. There is a 3-D map (bird's eye) view and coolest of all are the 3-D buildings.