With its sleek and sexy design, ample screen and plethora of features, it's hard to believe that the Archos 404 camcorder lists for just £20 more than an iPod with the same capacity. For as little as £210, you can get a PVP, a camera and a camcorder all rolled into one pocket-size device.
At 99mm by 76mm by 15mm and 181g, the Archos 404 camcorder isn't a lightweight contender in the MP3 player ring, but it is ultracompact by PVP standards. Its sleek, brushed metal exterior adds to its appeal. An 89mm (3.5-inch), 16 million-colour LCD screen dominates the front of the device, which means your viewing pleasure won't be negatively affected by the relatively small size of the player.
Of course, you also can output your stored video content to a TV. A button on the left spine of the unit lets you toggle between LCD and TV output. This is also where you'll find the power key and headphone jack. Along the top edge of the 404 is a single external speaker, while the bottom houses the pinhole mic and two proprietary USB ports, one for charging and syncing and one for attaching optional accessories. Flip the device over, and you'll notice a tiny digicam lens near the top on the back.
The 404's navigation controls line the right edge of the screen and consist of five two-way toggle keys -- the top three are marked with various directional arrows, and the bottom two function as OK/Back and Menu/Tab buttons. As you can infer, these are quite different from the standard playback controls, which means navigation can take some getting used to.
You have to take your cues from the display, which is fairly straightforward. For example, the arrow keys can move you around the main icon-based menu as well as scroll through inner lists, and the OK button serves to make selections as well as play and pause music and videos.