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Good: Screen size, Speed of the browser,
Bad: Software bugs, Poor paint finish, still not 100% flash
Comment: I would personaly stay clear of this device untill such a time as all the bugs are fixed, and trust me there are plenty. Paint comes off with very little use leaving the units looking awfull and as normal the support from Archos is pretty dire. Video looks great on this device and I think this is still its strongest point but you may need to pay extra for plugins for some video formats. Do not buy this device on the strength of promised accessories or features that have not been implemented already as this company has a history of not following througth on this sort of thing ( the FM remote never arrived for the 605 for example). All in all its a nice device but it is let down by the poor paint finish and numerous bugs that havent been fixed yet.
Good: Screen, processor, storage, HSDPA, WiFi, codecs support, HDMI output, FM remote control, DVB-T tuner, Electronic program guide, web video streaming flash/divx, browser speed
Bad: Version with built-in HSDPA is even better always connected to the Internet, Android and Adobe Air applications support would be nice, looking forward to USB keyboard and mouse support, waiting to hear if H264 720p will be supported with the upcoming HD Plugin, VOIP using SIP and Skype would be awesome
Comment: This review I think is much better then Donald Bell's review at cnet.com I think. But I still think it has a few things that I would not agree with or that are just plain wrong:
"the system refuses to play any DivX HD, Xvid HD or H.264 HD, or any MKV files"
- The HD Plugin is not yet released. It will probably support DivX and XviD HD 720p just fine. We are still waiting for info from Archos if they can support H264 720p or not. Which would make sense for MKV. Archos has said they are trying to add support for the MKV container in an upcoming firmware update.
"once you get accustomed to pressing quite hard on the touchscreen"
- It's not like touchscreens were invented with the iPhone you know. The Archos touchscreen is not any worse then any other touchscreens that aren't the iphones capacitative thing for multitouch. But the advantage here really is that the Archos screen is twice as large as the iphone screen with nearly three times more pixels.
"in exactly half of our tests over Wi-Fi, the Archos 5 loaded large Web pages faster than the iPhone. But scrolling, zooming and navigating pages isn't as smooth or enjoyable."
- Thing is with twice as large and three times higher resolution then the iphone, you don't need to scroll nor zoom as much as you would on the iphone. Do you need zoom on your laptop screen? No, so the Archos is the same, with 800 pixels resolution wide, and dynamic auto zooming technology from Opera, the pages are displayed like if you were using a 1000 pixel screen, so you don't need to zoom. And the fact that pages load twice as fast to five times faster then the iphone compensates for it currently not using momentum scrolling, though which Archos may add in a firmware update.
"but trying to watch BBC iPlayer Flash videos was almost impossible"
- The BBC has announced that they are launching a special version of the iPlayer that is compatible with the Archos 5, Archos 605 using playsforsure.
"The email app seemed to work okay for us, but it only offers IMAP and POP support, and only plain text emails."
- It does support HTML email, you just click on "Open HTML version" button in the email client. They could integrate full HTML inside of the main mail client window though. You can use the Browser which has full AJAX support (unlike the iphone) so you get the full real AJAX version of Gmail in the browser loading pretty fast and instantly if you want.
"one of the finest screens we've ever seen on a portable video player of this size, second only to the Cowon A3."
- Archos 5 has a 35% larger screen then the Cowon A3. So it's not the same size.
"Archos has also done its abysmal you-need-to-pay-separately-for-extra-codecs thing again, meaning you need to cough up just over £12 to get support for 720p HD WMV and MPEG-4, another £12 for MPEG-2 and DVD VOB files, and another £12 for H.264 video and AAC audio. The Cowon A3 does all of this right out of the box for no extra charge."
- Archos provides a package for all of HD codecs, Mpeg2, AC3, H264 and AAC for a 3 for the price of 2 £24 package. Most people don't need all those extra codecs, for most people DivX, WMV, Flash 9, Mp3, WAV, Ogg, Flac is enough. In fact 95% of the videos people download or stream from the Internet are DivX or Flash.
- Cowon has an MSRP $399, so how can you say Cowon offers the extra codecs at no extra charge? Cowon A3 is clearly more expensive, the reason being that you have to pay for all these codecs even if you need them.
Anyways, your review is much better then Donald Bell's at Cnet.com US, he is obviously even more of an Apple fanboy.
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