Archos 5 Review

archos 5 main Archos 5 Review

I have owned or own a few different Archos PMPs dating back to the third generation (Now on the 6 th). They were good and very capable PMPs, but I never really got too excited about them, due mainly due to clunky hardware and haphazard interfaces. Oh – and let’s not forget about the lack-luster sound quality.

However, upon holding the new Archos in my hands, my aversion to Archos products quickly faded. The device is one of the sexier devices currently on the market, and small tweaks in the UI have made a drastic difference. If you are looking for a serious portable video player or had previously denounced Archos, please read on. Though there is still much room for improvement, there is much to like about the Archos 5.

  • Quick Look
  • Screen: 4.8” 800×640 pixel 16m color Touch
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g
  • Processor: ARM CortexTM-A8, 32 bit, In-order, dual-issue, superscalar core @ 600 MHz + 32bit DSP @ 430MHz
  • OS: Lunix
  • Video Playback: MPEG-4 (including XviD/Divx), WMV, MJPEG [optional $30: MPEG-4 ASP 720p, WMV HD MP 720p, MPEG-2 MP@ML up to 10 Mbps up to DVD Resolution with AC3 5.1, and H.264]
  • Video Recording: MPEG-4 AVI @ VGA resolution @ 30 or 25 FPS.
  • Audio Playback: MP3, WMA, WMA Pro,n FLAC, OGG WAV [optional: AAC, AC3]
  • Photo Playback: JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF
  • Other File Types: PDF
  • Transfer Protocol: MTP/MSC User Selectable
  • Rated Battery Life: 12hrs Audio, 4 hours Video
  • Size: 127.5 x 78.3 x 12.9 mm (60GB) / 127.5 x 78.8 x 19.4 mm (120/250GB)
  • Weight: 250g (60GB) / 300g (120/240)
  • Applications: Email (POP/IMAP), Opera Web Browser, PIM (VCF supported), Calculator, News Reader, Currency Converter, and many other Widgets.
  • All of the Archos 5 features and specs
archos 5 02 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 01 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 03 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 05 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 06 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 08 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 09 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 10 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 12 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 13 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 14 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 16 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 17 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 18 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 20 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 22 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 23 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 26 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 27 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 28 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 30 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 32 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 33 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Reviewarchos 5 34 thumb 150x112 Archos 5 Review

Accessories

Inside the Box

Archos packs in the very basics: the player, headphones, a cleaning cloth, an adapter for the DVR Station (sold separately), and a proprietary USB cable. They went with just the basics to keep the cost down, but it would have been nice to have at least had a dock or a cable that would allow you to connect to a TV.

Optional Add-ons

There are quite a few add-on accessories for the Archos 5, many tht add substantial functionality. For instance there are four docking stations, two
of which give you the ability to use the Archos 5 as a DVR while hooked up to your TV: the DRV Station ($100 Retail) and the more portable DRV Snap-On ($80). The other two docks give you basic TV out and USB host, with one of the two including a battery pack (Battery Dock $50). It’s nice that they have given us some choice, but it is a bit absurd to have all these docks.

But the additional hardware add-ons don’t stop at that. There is a GPS cradle to turn the Archos 5 into a full blown turn by turn navigator, a snap on TV tuner/antenna, wired remote/FM tuner, and a helmet cam. Note that some of these are yet to be announced or released in the US. One thing I did find interesting is that you can use a USB 3G modem (from AT&T or Verizon) plugged into USB host port on one of the several docks. It would be such a messy dongle-infested, unusable setup, but neat none-the-less.

Plug-ins

Archos sells optional software plug-ins in order to give you additional codec support or additional applications. As of now the only plug-ins that are available are three different Codec packs for Cinema (DVD, MPEG2 video, AC3 audio), Video Podcast (H.264, AAC Audio), and HiDef Video (720p WMV and MPEG-4). Each of these sells for a ridiculous $15 a piece (or you can get all three for $30). I hate this, plain and simple. One reason I don’t agree with this approach is Archos’ argument that this keeps the cost down to the people who will not use all the codecs. The problem with this argument is that they are making some serious coin on the sale of each. Licensing does not cost Archos $15 per codec, more like a few bucks. and on top of this, it is a pain to find serial numbers, login to online accounts, purchase, download, install, then finally use the codec.

I really commend Archos for adding the web browser for free in this generation (it was $20 as a plug-in for the last gen), but they have to come the rest of the way and include the codec plug-ins. It’s just not a fun experience to mess with the extra purchasing. Either eat the cost or add $10 to the price tag; don’t nickel and dime me.

Design & Build

Previous Archos designs have been solid but rather “clunky”. This time around they built one sexy piece of hardware. The majority of the player is solidly crafted out of a heavy gunmetal with just two pieces of plastic used on the left and right sides of the device. Although I would like to offer a word of caution to the obsessive compulsive, this gunmetal is highly susceptible to fingerprints, more so than the glossiest black device. It also shows scratches more so than many others – after just a week around the house use there were plenty. An attached case might seem like a logical way to go, but I believe that putting a case on this great design is blasphemy. Use it, love it, enjoy in the raw. Each scrape and scratch is a mark of your identity and interaction with this device. (However, you might want to put a screen protector on since it protects a crucial component and is invisible if applied correctly.)

As far as stress tests, I did not do any on purpose, but the player did take a few tumbles from my pocket. Once the player dropped about three feet onto a tile floor and only suffered a few light scuffs on the back. The other two times it landed on the carpet and there were no damages.



Screen

The screen looks fantastic. It’s bright, quick, and the colors are accurate. The 800×640 pixel 16.7 million color screen looks better than many laptops, and better than my Sony Vaio I paid $2k for two years ago. When comparing it to the last generation’s matte finished screen you will notice that the Archos 5’s screen is glossy, lending to a much better viewing experience. Overall, the screen is on point. I can’t find anything bad to say about it. I guess if you wanted to get really picky, it doesn’t do well in direct sunlight, but no non-transreflective screen does.

User Interface

With the previous generation Archos 605, one of my biggest complaints is the UI. This is because it’s a very awkward hybrid touch /tactile interface. Choosing to go strictly touch was a natural step but it also focused the efforts into a single purpose driven interface. While the UI could still use a lot of polishing, since there are a few inconsistencies, the difference between the Archos 605 and Archos 5 is night and day. While the 605 was frustrating, the 5 I find to be a delight to use. There may be a very slight learning curve that would take less than a day to get used to, but overall it’s a much more straight forward interface compared to previous Archos’ PMPs.

What they need in order to improve the overall organization of the UI would be to allow the user to add, remove, and rearrange the main menu items. There is a lot of clutter from menu items pertaining to features you can only get with add-on accessories like the GPS or TV. For instance when you look at the home screen’s main menu, “TV” is an option, but this menu item and sub items are completely useless if you don’t own the $80-100 DVR attachment. Looking further down, there is an entire section for adds and these are nothing more than “commercials” for each hardware accessory. If you never buy an accessory it’s a menu of junk.



Touch Screen

The responsiveness and accuracy of the touch screen is noticeably improved. Touch typing on the on screen keyboard works very well and is fairly accurate. I would equate my number of mistypes on this to any candybar QWERTY mobile phone (ie, Treo, Blackberry, Nokia e71, ect). “Flicking” a list of items to scroll could use some improvement; it doesn’t always behave predictably and sometimes “sticks”. This may be improved over time with firmware updates.

Battery

The battery life is rated at 12 hours audio and 4 hours video. My tests showed a bit less on the video: about 4-4.5 hours and about 12-14 hours for audio- both over the rated battery life. One note about this though, you will archive these battery times after 5 or so charges and discharges.

There is an optional battery dock that will give you video out plus extra battery time for $50. I didn’t want to shell out $50 bucks for this accessory so I don’t know how much more time this adds (If you have one and do know, please comment below). What I don’t like about this option is that it adds an awkward bulk to the bottom of the player. It would have been nicer to have a sliver type battery that snapped on the back.

Transferring Media

The Archos will work on any operating system since it used both MTP and MSC transfer modes. MTP should be used if you plan on managing your media with MTP based media player such as Windows Media Player. Or you should use this mode if you plan on using a music subscription service like Napster or Rhapsody. MSC mode works just like a portable hard drive on any operating system.

UPnP: The Archos 5 like previous Archos PMPs will automatically recognize your UPnP media libraries on your home network. So if your media library on your computer is set up to share, the Archos 5 will automatically see that shared network folder and show it in your me
dia library on the device. This is great for streaming your music and video when connected to your wireless network. In addition to being able to stream massive amounts of media, you are also able to transfer songs from your computer to the Archos. This is somewhat slow, but it is quite convenient not to have to connect the player to the computer every time you want to transfer media.

Media Playback

Video

Video playback is incredibly smooth, with lower resolution videos scaling nicely. Even full screen YouTube videos look great (as good as a YouTube video will get). Archos PMPs have always been strong in the playback department, and the Archos 5 is no exception.

The Archos was able to handle most of the videos I threw at it, including XviD/DivX. You will start to run into problems with codecs using audio streams that are only available by purchasing the codec pack. Some XviD/DivX use AAC audio streams as opposed to MP3; these files will only be playable if you bought the codec pack. Frustratingly, H.264 is also only available via $30 purchase. This is a shame since H.264 is becoming more and more of a standard with many video podcasts being in this format.

Web TV: Thrown into the main video menu is a link for web TV. This is basically a repository for all kinds of video feeds from all over the world. The video quality can vary by stream, but they are generally of a lesser quality, even lower than YouTube vids. Other than that, it’s a fantastic feature. I have been using it to catch up on world news, carrying it around the house as I cook, or go though the morning routine propping it up with the built in kick stand. I get a big kick out of being having my video follow me throughout the house so conveniently. I would love to see a SlingBox or a Windows Media Center client on this PMP.

Music

The large screen lends itself very well to music playback and manipulation. It is much like the previous generations but is easier to use due to the improved UI. The main music screen is similar to a standard file browser with an info window on the right showing album art and other meta data pertaining to the selected item. The content is displayed primarily with the ID3 tag info with Artist, Album, Genre, Title, Year, etc. But for those who love the standard file folder browsing, that option is available above all the ID3 tag categories.

Playlists: Playlisting is also a treat since you can very easily create, rename, and manipulate playlists all from the device. Playlists can also be done on your desktop computer, but it’s way more fun to be able to do it on the go and on the device. Audiobook listeners will be happy to know that bookmarking takes place with a single click in the options menu. On the downside, you can only bookmark up to 32, although I’m not sure I would ever use more than 32.

Internet Radio & Podcasts: Built into the main music screen is a menu for “Web Radio”. This is a simple but comprehensive list of available internet radio streams – everyone will be able to find something he likes. What is a bit odd to me is that under this Web Radio menu is a section for podcasts (audio only). It is another very rich list with something for everyone. However, this is an example of the poor organizational skills of the Archos UI team. Podcasts do not belong under in the same category as internet radio; there needs to be a separate menu for these. In addition, in order to give this player a strong podcast offering, they will need to include video podcasts and the ability to download them. As of now you can only stream podcasts while connected to a wireless network.

Sound Quality

One of the biggest concerns I had with previous Archos players was the lack of acceptable sound quality. This was one of the reasons I would never use Archos as an audio player. This time around, with the Archos 5 they have stepped out of that poor sound-quality doghouse. While not the top echelon, the sound is very good and might only displease those who spent more on their headphones than they did on the Archos 5.

Built in speaker

The built in speaker is very weak in terms of performance as well as volume. This is only something that you can use while sitting in front of it or in a small quiet room. It also easily distorts at higher volumes. Not that I expect a lot from a tiny built in speaker, but almost all of the recent players I have reviewed easily outperform the Archos 5.

Photo

Photo is not something I use that often, mainly because I don’t want to show people picturess on a small screen. In this case I would be much more apt to use the Archos 5 as a photo browser, not only because of its big screen but because it’s more of a rich, hands-on browsing experience. Since the 5 has USB host abilities (with optional accessory), it may be a nice companion for a photographer, athough without RAW support it does have its limitations.

TV / DVR

There are a few optional accessories that will turn the Archos 5 into a full blown DVR. Two of these are docking stations and the other one is a portable TV tuner that clips onto the bottom. Since these are major purchases of between $80-100 ($30 for the simple TV out adapter), I will cover them in a separate upcoming review. I was far from impressed with the last generation DVR features, but I have seen a lot of improvements thus far, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for something usable this time.

“Media Club”

The media club icon is one of those menu options I want to remove. The media club is a content portal where you can buy or rent videos from Cinema Now or Archos Media Club. The selections contain few, if any, new releases and are typically priced at more than what you would pay for the physical movie on DVD ($15-20). Also under this menu option is DailyMotion (Video) and Jemendo (Music) both of which are free, but can also be accessed just the same with the web browser.

I don’t know if this does well back in France or the rest of the EU, but quite frankly Archos needs to nuke their efforts in building this content portal for the United States. The Media Club is poorly implemented and does not cater well to the American market. Instead in order to have a solid content delivery plan they should be partnering with bigger US content players like Amazon, Rhapsody, or even NetFlix.

Applications

Email & Contacts

On the main home screen there is an option marked “internet”. In the sub-menu you will find applications for email and contacts. At the time the 5 was released, these applications still carried beta software warnings. Rightfully so, since I have had to perform a few resets while using these apps, and the mail accounts don’t always display your inbox correctly. However, while using a Gmail account, it will display your labels as folders. You can have multiple email accounts, POP or IMAP, as well as import VCF contact files.

Widgets

Built on top of Opera’s platform, these widgets are simply small applications built with HTML, CSS, Ajax, and Javascript. There are only a handful of applications, but most of them are simple and useful mini apps – calendar, calculator, currency converter, news reader, notes, weather, and even a world factbook. It’s hard to say at what rate these widgets will be released, but I’m betting on not too many more since they’ve already had over a year to develop on the previous generation Archos 605. They are fairly straightforward being that anyone with HTML and or Javascript knowledge can make them, but few seem interested in targeting the Archos PMPs. I hope this changes since it is a cool feature despite the lack of content. If you are interested in making widgets for the Archos players check out widgets.opera.com or this quick video overview.

One of the annoyances I did run into with the widgets was that it will not automatically start the wireless connection. They do not have the ability to turn on the wi-fi so you always h
ave to remember to turn it on before launching widgets that use a connection.

Games

Games come into the Archos 5 as purchased applications. There are three different game packs costing $10 each which include 4-5 games in each pack. Did not purchase the games this time around because I don’t think they are worth the money. I had played the same games on the Archos 605, but found them to be rather generic and they didn’t really keep my interest. In all fairness, though, Texas Holdem, Solitair, and Video poker typically don’t entertain me very long. Check them out on Archos website to see if they are worth it for you.

Flash Applications

Upon turning on your Archos and selecting the flash applications folder you will find nothing. The idea is for people to develop Flash 9 applications for the Archos 5, but none are available at this time. I’m also wondering if we will see any kind of development support, as we don’t see a lot of support for the Widgets. It will run any flash based application, but the problem is the application needs to be targeted to the control sets of the Archos 5. For instance, I can run Flash apps from the iriver clix 2, but they won’t work since they are looking for the clix button layout. All in all it’s a great idea, it just lacks content.

File Management

With this PMP you have full control over all files residing on the device. Managing these files (moving, renaming, deleting, browsing, etc.) is similar to the music UI and not much different than typical file/folder UI found on any computer OS. This particularly comes in handy in browsing your network and transferring files to the device from the network. Additionally there is a way to password-protect folders and files by marking them as “Adult” content.

File Sharing

There is an option for file sharing over a wireless network with other Archos players. It’s still an internal beta and not available yet, but definitely something to look forward to.

Conclusion

Archos has taken a big step with their newest generation of PMPs. The hardware is substantial, well built, and a leap better than the previous generations. Despite the fact that I’m not a big fan of the touch interface, I do very much commend them for getting rid of the hardware button. This improved the overall usability of the device, though they do have many more things they can improve and better organize in the UI. I’m also feeling a bit burned by the additional costs of what are standard codecs with other PMPs, mainly H.264. $30 for a pack, That, long with knowing that licensing fees don’t cost that much, does not sit well with me. I love the idea of having the ability to add on Flash 9 or Widget applications, but I fear that few developers are interested in creating apps for the Archos 5. However, there are always web based and cloud applications to access though the very robust Opera browser, which is now free (Bravo!).

Aside from the problems, I do think that the Archos 5 is one of the best – if not the best choice – for a bonafide portable video player. If you had a previous aversion to Archos as I did, I would encourage you to take a second look.

Compare the Archos 5

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Fantastic screen
  • Improved touch screen
  • Improved UI
  • Good sound quality
  • Good native video support
  • Lots of accessories and add-ons
  • Support for OGG or FLAC

Cons

  • Menus not customizable
  • Plugins cost extra
  • Games cost extra
  • Non removable battery
  • TV out needs a dock
  • Metal housing scratches easily

Purchase

You can pick up the Archos and all the accessories from Amazon for the best price, usually free shipping, and no taxes. UK, EU, and the rest of the world should check here. Note that you can only purchase the Plugins directly from Archos.com.

80 Comments

Jon C on September 25, 2008 2:07 PM

Ooo… the hardware is bloody sexy! A shame that it scratches so easily, in contrast to that robust E71.Great review!

BeautifulZune on September 25, 2008 2:37 PM

Great review. That is one sexy looking player.

Brent on September 25, 2008 3:18 PM

Looks pretty good, but not perfect. Better battery life and video out from the 3.5 mm jack (like their older players had) would make it much more desireable for me. More stable software or a customer service reputation that makes me confident that bugs will be fixed would also be nice.Too bad archos is the only option for anyone wanting something with more than 120 GB. And really, you don’t get many options unless you’re willing to settle for 32 GB or less.Why doesn’t archos release something like an ipod? Apple made a 160 GB ipod, couldn’t archos make something pocketable with that kind of storage? I’d be interested in something like that, since I love how archos supports MSC, and I like being able to browse the file structure on the player.

Alex on September 25, 2008 3:31 PM

so….should I upgrade from my 504 40gb+ DVR dock?

Tech on September 25, 2008 5:48 PM

wow! good review. T>H>A>N>K>S

aaa on September 25, 2008 7:11 PM

Grahm Skee, you said you want a Slingbox client, but doesn’t the Archos already have TVportation?

swild on September 25, 2008 10:30 PM

Alright, I don’t intend to piss anyone off by mentioning apple… But honestly are there any devices that come close to the Touch’s versatility?This Archos player is sweet, but not something you can drop in your pocket.

Brent on September 26, 2008 12:46 AM

The ipod touch is sweet, but not something you can drop 250 GB into.Seriously, though, I do like the touch, but I can’t do anything with less than 80 GB.

rahul on September 26, 2008 1:36 AM

Its running whats probably the most advanced microprocessor ARM core on market right (better than the iphone for those wondering) now AND its running linux. But .. stupid Archos is not providing SDK to write native apps :(

sprockkets on September 26, 2008 2:00 AM

It runs an open source OS but no open source codec support, ironic.@Brent, Apple no longer sells the 160GB ipod. Besides, the top goal for each ipod generation is make it thinner. There won’t be a “classic” ipod anymore, since they just can’t make it thinner!Maybe you should compare this to the Nokia Tablet.

noam on September 26, 2008 7:44 AM

higrate review!!!does someone know what language ops do i have when i buy it in the us?thanks

Brent on September 26, 2008 1:24 PM

I’m aware apple doesn’t make the 160 GB ipod anymore. That they stopped making it is irrelevant to the point I was making. Which is that a company besides apple (like archos) could make an ipod classic-sized mp3 player with at least 160 GB of storage. That’s really the type of product I’m looking for.

Aspra on September 26, 2008 4:11 PM

How did you get Doboys D.I. mixs?

Galileo on September 26, 2008 4:25 PM

For the battery life after 4 to 5 charges I achieve 4h45 with my A5 250Gb and test done by french users show the same duration on video ( http://www.archoslounge.net/forum/showthread.php?t=4849 ).

JQuilty on September 26, 2008 7:46 PM

Lunix based? Don’t you mean Linux? Lunix hasn’t been worked on for god knows how long.

aaa on September 26, 2008 7:49 PM

^lol truesince the 80s I believe

Warofart on September 27, 2008 2:17 AM

The price and the pay-to-get codecs are the only thing keeping me from buying this.When it comes down in price a bit, this probably will be my main device.

Chris on September 29, 2008 5:03 PM

If you want more then 160GB on something other than an Archos you will have to the Vosonic VP8860. It has a detachable 2.5″ SATA hard drive, so you can put a 500GB HDD and even a 1TB HDD when they come out. Although the lack of a video out is huge, you can use the device as a DVR without any attachments. Also it has a detachable battery, memory card readers, and the ability to view RAW photos. Look on Mydigitaldiscount.com to buy it if your in the USA. Lastly, the Vosonic is about half the price of the Archos, but does not offer internet connectivity.

n81acc on September 30, 2008 1:02 AM

Can this play full DVDs? That includes DVD menus, commentaries, subtitles, etc.Basically, I’d like to be able to copy a ripped DVD’s VIDEO_TS folder and play the whole DVD.The Cinema plug-in says it supports VOB files, but I’m not sure if that includes the full DVD experience.

Simon on September 30, 2008 11:12 AM

I really like how the 605 worked as a DVR. Mine is hooked up to its own freeview box. With the TV guide its easy to record what I want. It also turns on the freeview box and changes channel and switches it off when its done. This is great for match of the day etc which I can watch at a sensible hour the next day. All of this does come at an extra cost but so long as you take that into account when buying there is no need to moan as its better to have the choice than everyone paying top price for things they dont need.

Nicholas on October 2, 2008 6:49 PM

How easy is this to recharge? Can I plug it into the wall with a usb to electricity plug, or is it just computer charging?

sapibobo on October 5, 2008 1:34 PM

Maybe it is not related with the review. I was wondering, would you sometimes review the sound quality of your Nokia E71?I think for once in a while it is worth to have specialized review of mobile phones, especially between vast array of dedicated music player reviewed here…

EFA on October 8, 2008 12:22 PM

Is there any way to transfer all my video/dvd/tv recorded content from my 504 to the new 5?

dutch4life on November 6, 2008 10:39 AM

Great review and a great device this Archos 5But one thing i can’t understand is that it’s in stores for such a low price! I live in the Netherlands and it’s only 300 euro’s over here (still a lot more than for what it’s sold in the US) I mean it’s just a little bit more expensice than the Ipod touch 16 GB version. While this thing has 60 GB! And the Archos beats the Ipod touch at video quality, sound quality, it has a bigger and better screen. The only things in wich the Ipod Touch beats the Archos is the quality of the touch screen and the interface.How is it possible that this device is sold for such a low price is it really that good? because I almost can’t believe it :P

TJ on November 12, 2008 10:25 AM

Sound Quality: Can the Archos 5 be a dedicated audio player with decent earphones? (w/ UE SuperFi5 for instance) A more general question: what’s the best option for someone looking for a large capacity player with excellent sound quality? I’m looking at the Archos 5 and the iPod Classic 120GB — is the sound quality basically the same, or would you say one is better than the other? (I’m wary of the iPod sound quality) thx!

Gonzo on November 12, 2008 6:07 PM

@ dutch4lifeMaybe because iPod Touch is an overpriced POS? Its price point is not realistic, you’re just paying for the “privilege” of owning an Apple product. IMHO, 300 euros is just about right for a player with this kind of hardware and capabilities at this point in time. iPod is WAY overpriced for what it offers. It doesn’t even come in capacities larger than 32GB ffs! It only plays like 2 video formats and 3 audio formats! It’s got a nice interface, you gotta give it that, but still it tries to limit what you can do with it every step of the way. It’s just not worth it.

whataname2c on November 12, 2008 8:22 PM

Just wondering, do i need to convert anime files before putting it on the product. I’m thinking about getting this and was wondering if i would have to convert a lot of videos in order to play them on this

anonymouse on November 26, 2008 5:29 AM

WTF is Lunix? Is that like linux or something?

Concept on December 13, 2008 11:08 PM

Man, I really dont like how they make you pay for the things that are supposed to be standard. I didnt even notice that before I bought it. Its like they are trying to suck as much money as they can ou of you. Its still a pretty good device but, damn can I enjoy the features of the device with the purchase price. Also a pretty good review.

Renee on December 15, 2008 2:04 PM

I think this link answers so questions to those who are truly looking to compare Archos to Touch:http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2008/10/archos_5_lightning_review.html

marco on January 4, 2009 6:09 PM

would you classify this as pocketable or not.

Franico on January 5, 2009 12:30 PM

As an owner of an iPod, an Archos 605, and an Archos 5, let me see if I can address some of the questions/issues brought up by other contributors. Due to length, I’ll have to break this up into multiple replies.Nicholas – The Archos 5 will charge from any source that provides a USB output. I actually use a number of charging options: the (obvious) USB port on my computer; a small handy little USB converter that plugs into the wall; and (this one I love) a pocket-sized UPS (uninterruptable power supply) that charges by plugging it into the wall, but then has a 3600mAh battery inside it, with a USB output that will either run the Archos directly from the UPS battery, or just charge the Archos from the UPS battery. (One UPS charge will charge the Archos battery multiple times.)To be continued…

Franico on January 5, 2009 12:31 PM

Continued from previous…swild – I agree that the Touch is sexy. My son owns one, and we played with it over the holidays. But my response would be that a) the Archos 5 is incredibly sexy (much more than my iPod or the Archos 605), and b) they really are two different gadgets. If you want a true media player, you can’t limit yourself to something like an 8GB player. I have the *smallest* Archos 5 (60GB), and I have 30-40 full-length videos, hundreds of MP3 tracks, and thousands of digital photos — with room to spare. Also, with its TV integration, it is way ahead of the Touch. On the other hand, as my son pointed out, the Touch has applications like a remote control for his Sonos audio system, which he just loves.TJ – Yes, you can definitely use this as a dedicated audio player. In fact, my iPod is a 60GB iPod with literally tens of thousands of tracks on it… and I haven’t used it once, since getting my Archos! I use the Archos for everything now — music, videos, e-books (it reads all PDF files), photos, etc. And the audio quality is excellent — especially if you get a good set of earbuds.More to come…

Franico on January 5, 2009 12:40 PM

Continued from previous…whataname2c – about converting files… You’ve actually hit it on the head. I agree with all commenters that it’s a pain to have to pay additional for plug-ins to be able to play AAC music, or certain video formats. But I don’t bother with the plug-ins. I’ve focused on one or two formats I like, and have a couple of really good freeware applications that will convert music and/or videos to the formats I like. Yeah, it’s an extra step; but by the same token, I can also compress the resulting files a bit more, and get more on the device.FYI, I particularly like AutoGK (Auto Gordion Knot) as a video converter, although there are many other freeware apps out there.Concept – as far as paying for plug-ins… see the previous comment. For me, converting the files takes care of the audio and video plug-in issues. That only leaves the fact that Archos still charges extra for things like the Games that you can download, etc.marco – The Archos 5 is definitely “pocketable”. I carry mine in my pocket all the time. Admittedly, depending on what case you use (and I personally like to use a case, to keep it “new and shiny”), it may not fit some shirt pockets; but I can always drop it in my pants pocket. And by itself (i.e., outside the case) it’s quite manageable.In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find another device with the screen size (4.8″) and resolution (800×640), in a unit this compact.Hope that answers some of the questions. Needless to say, I like it a lot. And for anyone wondering, even after reading the review, the Archos 5 is definitely a worthwhile investment even for someone who already owns an Archos 605 (or smaller) player. (And I haven’t even mentioned all of the “positives” about the wireless capabilities! Try sitting in an airport for 6 hours, with full access to Web Radio, Web Videos, E-mail, Web browser, etc. It’s easy to miss your call for the plane!)

Christian on January 7, 2009 11:26 AM

I have an Archos 605 that has stopped working. I have had it over a year and have been extremely satisfied. Now I am thinking of buying either exactly the same player again, or to get the new Archos 5. Does anyone know if I need to buy a new DVR station or does the one for the 605 work? What about the “old” plug-ins? I guess I have to buy new ones for the Archos 5?Mildly irritating I would say.

Digital Fury on January 8, 2009 2:42 PM

Regarding sound quality, I’m using a 60 Gb model with a pair of Westone 3 and a FiiO E3, and with FLACs it’s *very* decent and potent – ’nuff said.

GL on January 11, 2009 3:31 AM

There is RAW support, i put RAW files of several different cameras and it recognised them.One of them being Nikon.The USB-Host is a god-send and Xvid videos play flawlessly pitty about the battery life and sound quality is acceptableALL PREVIOUS ADD-ONS WORK ON THIS NEW VERSION

Cynthia on January 16, 2009 11:34 AM

I own a archos 504 and it’s fantastic no problems only you have to order the add ons which should come with the system. But and i onw a Ipod Touch I’ll take the archos anyday I will be buying the new % series

Cynthia on January 16, 2009 11:37 AM

I will be purchasing the new 5 series. The only question I have is do the GPS system comes automatically with the system or do you have to purchase.

mark on January 18, 2009 3:23 PM

guys, great review!!!I would like to replace my ipod and want a media player but i need to know if itunes works on them or not – i have about 50 playlists that i wouldnt want to loose.Can you help?

patrick on January 22, 2009 12:51 AM

mark – use Winamp (http://www.winamp.com) to transfer the playlists off your ipod to your local PC (it will transfer the files as well to the local media directory on your PC, you can remove them afterwards) and then send them to the Archos. This should work, this is what I do to go between my ipod and sandisk.PS the 60GB verison of the Archos is very thin and sexy, but gunmetal, the 120GB is much thicker, twice the thicknesss, with a black metal finish at the back. in the end I went for the 120GB version as the price difference is very small (40 euros) and my main purpose is actually to use it as an ultra portable web 2.0 appliance but where I can throw in lots of videos. The ‘mini-dock’ is very useful as it provides a TV out function, (composite or svhs) but this is not HD or digital. having a Video-in dock would be great so I could add on a video camera for biking…

Dan on January 28, 2009 7:48 PM

I’ve read almost every review on the Archos 5 120GB; have yet to find pic’s of it; can only find the 60GB pic’s; I had the 605 160GB found it to industrial returned it; waiting for more consumer reviews on the 5 120GB, seeing more negitive then positive, about the backing, and metalic finish, and folks comparing it to a prototype; at $399 ++ Can anyone out there post how their 5 120GB is holding up, is it worth buying now, or should one wait until 2010.Cheers

sven on February 2, 2009 2:54 PM

Hi!i have a major concern regarding all this media players and streaming servers.Are they able to stream music from a simple network storage disc or an external hard disk drive???The point is I do not want to have my pc turned on and humming while i listen to my music (i could as well listen to some cheap fm kitchen radio :P ) and this is the feature all manufacturers are tip toeing arround.The one product that has this feature is TEAC wap series! Can I hope for a review anytime soon?

EGGO on February 23, 2009 12:13 AM

Almost good enough. I hate how the commercials are permanent. That’s pretty much the dealkiller for me. Feels too much like it’s a demo product.THEN their site doesn’t even allow you to contact them if you have questions. You seriously have to write a physical letter and then they’ll call you back.

angelo Ganino on March 11, 2009 6:07 AM

2 days ago i brought a archos5pile of crap stick to you itouch

angelo Ganino on March 11, 2009 6:20 AM

sorry my last message miss out half of what i typed.i brought a itouch two months ago i love it but the screen is a bit small plus i was stuck using itunes.i read about archos i decided to buy one two days ago.i think its a pile of crapsoftware is beta versionno onr told me that till i opened the boxit locks up 3 times in 3 hours of use needing a master resetproduct support is only by email.itouch doesn’t have any technical problems it’s 10 times better than archosi wasted $699.00 australian dollarscheersangelo

angelo Ganino on March 12, 2009 3:09 AM

$699 doesn’t include a wall chargertaken 5+ hours to charge with supplied USB cable

Dan on March 16, 2009 3:11 PM

After careful consideration; I finally came to the conclusion that I would purchase the Archos 5, weighing the pro’s & con’s it seemed like the most logical choice for me.I am now the proud owner of an Archo’s 5 60GB, and I could not be more pleased with the product;I pondered high on the itouch 32 gb, but found that Apple & itunes consumed far to much of my time and for the cost in today’s economy I would give Archo’s a chance. I also considered the Cowon S9 & Q5W along with the iRiver and still was drawn back to the Archo’s for the size & storage capacity of the product.We all know that Archo’s has a larger GB factor / Screen size / and is more of a true IMT then others on the market, which was one of the deciding factors for me, and it maintains a sleek sexy appeal.I also was drawn to the fact that I can drag & drop almost any file and get play back on the Archo’s within minutes.I have had no issues with this unit, out of the box I was immediately connected to my wifi, downloaded the latest firmware, flew through the online registration, received the opera web browser / web audio & video widgets for free as advertised, and have been totally blown away by its features.I have had no issues with the unit crashing; internet is lighting fast, I can access my yahoo to check e-mail and get full access to my hotmail account which I use as my primary e-account on the Archo’s, also having full flash is a hugh bonus compared to what the other products on the market offer.I have a Belkin universal charger which works perfectly on the Archo’s, I had a full charge within 4hrs.I find that having the option of the on’s is another great feature, so I can grow my investment. I will be getting the Helmet cam & the video-battery dock in the near future.For a simple product that offers sheer entertainment and multiple optional add on’s this product has really caught my attention, it’s new it’s & exciting to see something that is not within today’s so called fashionable main stream.Many others have asked on forums; is the Archo’s an iPod Killer;All I can say is:The day that Apple loosens up on constricting it’s consumers to what they feel we want in a product will be a day of reckoning, I’d like to have the option of being able to attach a cam to an Apple itouch, or an slot for additional memory, but Apple have their market by the kahoona’s and won’t let go until they see there shares start to fall; Maybe one day Apple needs to experience a bit of Nortel to give it a reality check.Look out Apple, the Archo’s has landed.

angelo ganino on March 20, 2009 7:26 PM

Dan 16th MarchGee, we can tell you work for Archo’sNo one could be that happy with a product that has known problems ie crashes and product support is 2 out of 10

germain on March 22, 2009 2:11 PM

I’m deciding between this and the Cowon O2.I want the O2 because of its 32GB’s of memory and its SD card slot. I want this player because of its large Hard Drive (when I first saw this, I said “Holy Cow! 250 GB of memory!?”). Which one would you guys prefer?

Mike on March 22, 2009 5:32 PM

Okay, this or the iPod touch?Im never going to use apps so i dont care about those really.Web browsing is a must and flash on the archos has me more leant towards it.However i heard that bbc iplayer and just internet in general is really sluggish on the archos, and internet is a major player for me. Anyone confirm this?

Dan on March 22, 2009 6:36 PM

Angelo March 20th; wow your quick; I am Archo’s employee, and on April 12th, I will change identities and become the Easter Bunny, Thanks Sherlock, but (NO)Germain; compare the spec’s of the Cowon 02 & the Archo’s it will give you a better indication of the two products differences; there is also some great footage of the Cowon on you tube, and of course their web site; I almost went with the Cowon, but I did not like the UI, and the fact that the unit requires a stylus to for some of the finer points; a deciding factor for me was the full touch of the Archo’s; however the Cowon 02 and Cowon products are better recognized in the today’s market then the Archo’s products; and know for their superior sound quality. I guess it depends what you looking for. All in all I chose the Archo’s for cost and it’s UI.Mike; choosing the Archo’s over the itouch was a no brainer for me, Apple has far to many App’s which are great for kids and for those who want games; I’m in Canada so I can’t comment on BBC, but I have not encountered any difficulties with the internet, I compared my Archo’s with my cousins itouch, and I have no regrets with my decision in choosing Archo’s over the itouch, it all depends what your looking for; again compare the spec’s of the two units and check out the user reviews on CNET and the consumer reviews on you tube.

angelo ganino on March 23, 2009 2:17 AM

Hi Dan,I was only jokingI brought an itouch 30gig last xmas for $530 Aus dollarsI loved it then as I do now only problem was/is screen size and converting movies to MP4The wireless internet is fanatic compared to Archo’sFrom a quality of hardware and software point of view itouch eats the Archo’s aliveDon’t miss understand me,I love the look of my Archo’s and screen size but the software and possibly hardware is defectiveSoftware locks ups are common place (my itouch has never lock up on me)How can Archo’s users sit back and not complain if the unit they brought for high $$$ is still under development.It should never have been on the market till all major bugs were ironed out.It’s not a cheap unit to buy $699 Aus why not expect a quality product and product support (still waiting on Archo’s to return my service call (email)re: 4hours to fully charge unit.When fully charged the “On light” should flash.A software bug doesn’t allow the unit to flash so how did you know it was fully charged.PS: I charge it with using the usb port and tried the same with the DVR dock.

moshbox on March 25, 2009 3:54 PM

@angelo ganino “How can Archo’s users sit back and not complain if the unit they brought for high $$$ is still under development.”Because Microsoft conditioned them to?…sorry, couldn’t resist.

angelo ganino on March 26, 2009 11:00 PM

hi moshboxi agree with you. thats why i use apple mac.

Germain on March 29, 2009 8:42 PM

@Dan: Thanks for the pointers. I guess it all depends now on whether they come out with a 64GB SD card in the next few months. Personally, I think the Archos 5 is better, but the Cowon O2 caught my eye because it was the only touch screen PMP I could find. I would most definently take the Archos 5 now., especially since it has that large hard drive space.

Germain on March 29, 2009 9:39 PM

By the way, what kinds of movie file extensions does the Archos support? We alredy know it supports DivX/Xvid files and the like, but I want to know if it supports the .avi extension and any others for my movies. I use AVI movies so I need to know if I have to transcode them before dropping them on the Archos. I plan to get one in June or July so I want to see if I have to prepare any movie files before I put them on there.

Dr M.S.Virick on April 3, 2009 8:31 PM

I love any Archos gadgets, for God sake I have 3 of them.But the customer support stinks.I bought a new Archos 5 and then a GPS unit. Though the web site states it is compatible with Ver 5 of machines, it is not. I thought I will use with the 605s,But I spent altogether 6 hrs and 42 minutes I cannot get anywhere with them. The North American Support team is rude and un knowledgeable. One of them said to me ,”what do I know , I only work here”.I finally got 14 days later a code for 605, but when I tried to install it it said it was already used. I am back with Archos support, now Ann tells me, I will give you a new code in a moment. I stayed 42 minutes on the line, Ann has disappeared.Folks, Archos is Citibank and AIG, all together,going down.

Luca on April 19, 2009 10:19 AM

Archos 5 is ok if works properly. But if faulty it´s really a hell.I bought and had to send back to repair center, after 2 months, they still have to start reparation.Don´t buy it if you re not a lucky guy!

Chez on May 21, 2009 4:57 AM

Was wondering about this product since it allows you to browse the web, what are the chances of downloading spyware and/or viruses from web-browsing with the Archos player? I want to purchase this player, but I am a bit discourage from reading reviews here stating about hardware problems with the Archos and shoddy customer support.

Dan on May 23, 2009 11:31 AM

Chez; the Archos 5 is limited as to what you can actually download directly onto the unit from its web browser; to my knowledge you cannot download spyware or anti virus; but you can run a full scan on the device when its connected to you pc; don’t let reviews discourage you; the Archos 5 is really a decent unit compared to everything offered on today’s market; especially for the price; I have the A5 60gb; and it’s a really great player; I originally was looking at the Cowon / Viliv & itouch but personally found that the A5 offered much more for its price compared to the others. Hope that this helps.Cheers

Brett on May 24, 2009 10:13 PM

I was looking for a mp3 player and saw there were a few with some extra features. Then I saw the archos 5. Well, I bought it. Am I sorry I did? Nope, just the opposite, so far I love it. Does the unit have a few quirks, yes. Is it perfect, no. But is it an ipod killer, in my opinion you betcha. I also don’t like the cost of plug-ins but I guess its the price of admission. As for customer support I can tell you that I sent them a question regarding flash 10 (it won’t currently support it). I sent the question on a Sunday and was promised an answer within two days. I was suprised to see that they answered the same day later in the afternoon.I have had hours disapear while connected to my wireless network which tells me the unit has a lot of potential. Someone complained about the supplied firware being beta. What’s the difference between buying any computer product that is updatable, by the time you get it off the shelf there is likely an update. The unit came out of box, got its first charge overnight (important) and next day it was updated and connected to my network in less than an hour. I did have trouble getting the new firware from the archos server with the archos 5 and ended up downloading it my computer and dragging it over to the archos hdd with windows explorer. Since then its been great other than a few freezes requiring a reboot with the power switch.BTW, great review on the product, it was very informative.

kenneth krabat on May 27, 2009 3:44 PM

maybe other people are dreaming dreams similar to mine:gadget allows all video and audio codecs, reads all document-types, connects via WAN/LAN, WiFi and datanet via simcard, has audio/video out/in, touch screen, horisontal/vertical switch, camera, and fold-out screen. And all plugs are part of central hub, so only ONE plug on gadget.okay, I will go with anything but the fold-out screen. But thats what *I* want.

Viking on June 16, 2009 11:13 AM

What can i say after 8 hours trying to get the frikking GPS function properly and the totally worthless Archos homepage with not a complete easy to use firmware and update for the GPS. Have talked to support worth of 1000usd.I have given up, it goes back to the distributor, totally worthless piece of SHIT.

Robert Robere on July 3, 2009 9:04 PM

Whatever you do, do NOT buy the 60 gig Archos 5. It has a faulty build — the headphone jack is notorious for breaking spontaneously. My first headphone jack broke, I returned it, and now two days later the new on is broken again.

bodo_ruediger on July 16, 2009 2:30 PM

returned purchase (250 Gb)after a frustrating 48 hrs.1.)Firmware update downloaded to PC would not install.2.)after initially connectind to WiFi, it suddenly stopped even though it recognized it. The same happened at work with 3 other setups.3.) Moreover, when the unit is left on for more than an hour, it becomes extremely hot (which causes concern about the longevity of the hard drive)Conclusion: For $300.- U.S. I expect fewer headaches and more recective & helpful customer service.

Prashanth on August 14, 2009 6:07 AM

People say that it is better to hold on Archos 605 wifi instead of Archos 5 250gb. I have heard many negative review of archos 5 250gb1. battery life is horrible (2 hrs)2. not a good firmware3.lot of issues with player.please let me know which one to buy…

Patrick on August 16, 2009 7:13 PM

Amazon is selling the 250gb for $250. I understand Archos as new/upgraded product targeted for Sept. 15, ’09.Has anyone seen a You Tube on how to replace the internal battery? I replaced 5 batteries in by IRiver H340 that finally died.Thanks for the nice review.

d-_-b on August 20, 2009 12:30 PM

It’s gigaBYTE not gigabit. 60 GB. Not 60Gb.”Here on the left we have the main menu bla bla blah… and here on the left we have shortcuts to the widgets.”Dude. You suck.

Jen on September 24, 2009 12:03 AM

Very helpful post. I saw this at an airport a while back (actually, my boyfriend did) He has an older version of an archos (no clue which one though, but it is very clunky….) I’ve been looking to get this for him but I have been unsure because he is the one that is brilliant with all this technology. I want to get it for him for Christmas but one problem: he is in Iraq. I have no problem sending it to him but I am unsure what other accessories (if any) are needed. That being said, I know he can always purchase more when he gets back, but would any other accessories be necessary while he is over there? Thanks!

Andreas Ødegård on September 24, 2009 2:00 AM

@Jen: There is a new version of the Archos 5 which runs Android OS – its more expensive though http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=archos+5+android&x=0&y=0Whichever device you get, you should make sure he has a way to charge it and also fill it up with music and videos for him (i doubt he has much use for an empty device over there).

Jen on September 24, 2009 9:34 PM

@Andreas ØdegårdHe has access to his laptop and all that good stuff so charging and putting the huge amounts of music he has on there won’t be a problem. I just don’t want to send it over and him not have a certain accessory (It takes around 1-3 weeks for a package to get there) I could always take a picture of it near a Christmas tree… ;) But I will check out the new version of the Archos 5. Thanks!

Cameron D on December 7, 2009 12:54 PM

I am looking in to getting one of these around Christmas time but have a curious question. Can you listen to mp3s on it while also using the internet function? And Can you listen to mp3s on it while viewing pdf files? I am hoping to use it in these two ways and would find it a bit limiting if not able to listen to music while surfing or reading a good book. Can’t seem to find this exact answer on any sites so thought someone viewing this would know more on this topic. Thanks in advance!!!

Dan on December 7, 2009 7:14 PM

Cameron; yes you can browze internet / photos / pdf’s &e-mails while playing mp3′s. The unit will only stop playing your mp3s when you access the web radio / tv and of course when you view a movie. Apart from that its a decent gadget; especially now since the costs are much lower then what they were 9 months ago; I’m not sure which model you plan on getting; I personally feel that the 60GB is the better of the Archos A5 models; the 120GB & up are much thicker; you also stand a better chance of getting a glossy screen on the 60GB vs. the latter GB’s. I will throw in a word of caution, at the present time Archos has released a couple of firmwares which seem to be problematic; I would recommend using 1.6.53 firmware; and avoiding 1.6.54 / 1.7.02 & 1.7.11, all of these firwares cannot be rolled back.There is also a forum which you can browze calledArchos Fans.com is has been very helpfull to me with issues that I was unable to solve.Also do youself a huge favor when you purcahse the unit, get an extended warranty.The Archos 5 has also recently been hacked, and Archos has put out a Special Edition Firmware opening up the device to third party techs to build a more realiable operating system.Hope this is helpful for youCheersCheers Enjoy your purchase

Jon on December 27, 2009 12:10 PM

Hey everyone. I just got this. I charged for 8 hours right of the bat. I got about an hour of life. I recharged for 6 hours with my mini dock and got 27 minutes of life. Charged it overnight with the dock got a legit 2 songs in before it says it needed to be charge. All i am saying is either get the Android or dont get this product. I ordered for christmas and i now cant return this and i am extremely mad. If you know how to fix this please reply.

Jay on January 6, 2010 7:33 PM

Where can i find 1.6.53 firmwear

chaz on January 28, 2010 6:11 AM

Hi Everyone!Bought the Archos 7 about 6 mthsago…thought the 320gb flagshipmodel had everything!Not so….no “CONTRAST” or…”BRIGHTNESS” adjustments on it.Funny how smaller…cheaper 5model version has these?So…gonna turf the 7 320gb andbuy the 5 version just on thatreason of the 5′s extra pictureenhancing qualities!As most…if not all movies areso whitish on the screen..evenHD movies!Not very happy ARCHOS!Keep jibbing on us!!!!…Get your act together please!

chaz on January 28, 2010 6:18 AM

to:d-_-b on August 20, 2009 12:30 PM.u really suck….so vain….up yourself…tech hippy!go get a real life dude!chaz. xxx

chaz on January 29, 2010 2:43 AM

Hi There Y’all!Keep it up people…..Keep up complaining….All bad reviews are good….Hopefully Archos get off theirbums…get their act together!Heard enough crap from them…regarding their crappy products!Bad units!Bad comunication!Bad quality control!Bad untested products!How in the hell did u get awaywith all this Archos???…We are not “IDIOTS”..as u think!You will definately loose yourworld wide customers the wayyou are going currently!I kid you not!Theirs the old saying…the bigger they are…the harder they fall!If…you keep selling thesefaulty products..eventuallyno one will buy them….simply spoken!Chaz.

deedee on April 4, 2010 6:11 PM

Sorry for all users who have problems with their archeos 5, I just love it.Never had any problem with it and use it on a daily basis to view video, listen to my whole music collection and check mails.I’ve got the thicker 160GB version and but is still a very handy device.On the Ipod touch I gave up watching video’s very quickly, but on the archos this is so much better.Sure the UI on the Ipod touch is better, but for all the rest get the archos.

Comments Closed. Please continue the discussion in the forums