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Archos 605 Wi-Fi personal media player

The acme of PMPs?

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Features dealt with, the acid test is always the performance. The Archos handles audio files deftly, with a warm and subtle quality to music. The on-board speakers are, as always, laughably inadequate and crumble under any kind of volume, but when we paired the 605 with our Creative in-ear Aurvanas, we were very pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. It easily rivals the iPod - and indeed matches it as the Archos too lacks an FM radio.

Archos 605 WiFi portable media player
Archos' 605 Wi-Fi: peripheral connector on the base

The Archos' screen has been bumped from its predecessor's 480 x 272 resolution to an eye-crackling 800 x 480 and the difference is frankly amazing. Moving and still images are incredibly detailed and smooth, with vibrant colour reproduction and barely any pixelation in even the darkest and fastest-moving scenes. Zooming in on still photos is simple, and scrolling around is just a case of dragging your digit across the screen.

It's instant too, which is a big bonus, as we always hate that lag that comes with a cursor. But if you don't want to tarnish the screen, full functionality is still available through the side keys.

Archos 605 WiFi portable media player
Archos' 605 Wi-Fi: side view

A built-in - and non-removable, tssk - lithium-ion polymer battery provides a claimed 17 hours' audio and 5.5 hours' video playback, which we found to be fairly accurate, give or take an hour depending on the files we were watching and listening to.

Verdict

The Archos 605 represents the cream of the current PMP crop, and no mistake. It looks, feels and performs like a professional, with an intuitive and even fun UI, great features and the capability to bring the PMP into the mainstream the way no other device really yet has. Its screen is scintillating - show it to someone's who's not a gadget buff and we guarantee they'll be slack-jawed at the quality on offer.

Its one major failing comes with the peripherals issue - having to pay for the plug-ins and TV dock is a pain. We'd rather Archos upped the price and bundled it all, since they're as essential as eyes if you want to make the most of the 605's manifold talents.

Even with these hidden costs however, the 605 still represents great value for money and will keep you entertained for hours, no matter where you are.

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90%

Archos 605 Wi-Fi personal media player

A shining beacon in a sea of visual and sonic grey mediocrity. Yes, we like it...
Price: 4GB: €200 (£135)
30GB: €300 (£203)
80GB: €400 (£270)
160GB: €500 (£338) RRP

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