Archos 705 Wi-Fi mobile DVR
Except it's not a DVR
Review While Apple, Samsung, Creative and the like squabble over the mass market for MP3 players, Cowon and Archos have become engaged in a fight for the premium end of the market. The latest shot in this battle is from Archos: the fifth-generation 705 Wi-Fi.
On introduction to the 705 your first thought will almost certainly be 'wow, that's big', rapidly followed by 'wow, that's heavy'. At 182 x 128 x 20mm and a weight of 630g, the 705 is a man-sized box of tissues PMP and no mistake. The limitations of portability are tacitly acknowledged by Archos who have labelled the 705 a "mobile DVR" rather than a PMP.
Archos 705: most controls are on the touchscreen
In the hand, the slab-sided 705 is a triumph of engineering over aesthetics. Exterior decoration is limited to the grilles covering the two speakers that sit below the screen. Tiny Philips screw heads abound. The brushed metal casing looks and feels robust while exterior controls are limited to a power on/off button and an LCD/TV switch, everything else being controlled through the touchscreen.
On the bottom of the unit are four ports: a mini USB to connect to your PC, a micro USB to connect to an external USB device, and two connectors that link to the optional DVR Station Gen 5. Around the back is a handy metal kickstand that props the 705 up for desktop viewing.
Let's start with the screen. At seven inches size is not an issue, nor is resolution which comes in at an Eee PC-size 800 x 480. Archos states the display will support video resolutions "up to DVD", which we take to mean 720 x 576 PAL - decent enough, if shy of the 1280 x 720 H that the Cowon A3 - reviewed here can manage.
Technical specification aside, the screen is a fine bit of engineering, being both bright and colourful. The matte finish does take away that last degree of crispness, but has the benefit of not showcasing too much the inevitable fingerprints you get with a touchscreen UI.
Closed Linux OS = Bad. Nokia's Open Linux = Better
The makers of the Archos have given the device a closed version of linux. You can not develop applications for it, so you simply won't find any of the common applications you would expect ... unless Archos makes it and slaps a price tag on it.
The Nokia N810 is far more flexible. the Maemo OS is open, hundreds of applications are available from people around the world for free ... although admittedly many of them should NOT be coding ... but if you don't like it, you can build something yourself, unlike with the Archos.
... For example, Mobipocket ... not available for either device. But thanks to the open source Garnet Virtual Machine, with some effort you can run Mobipocket for Palm on your Nokia N810, while the Archos owners keep begging Mobipocket for a version ... that Mobipocket can't make due to the closed Archos system.
The Nokia N810 has similar battery life, a good screen if smaller, is much lighter and comfortably fits in a coat pocket.
One problem with the screen..
....that put me off the 705 was that it's only 262k colours, where as the 605 which I got instead, with the same resolution is 16million and makes quite a difference. Plus the 705 is really too big for travelling on buses/trains or walking.
Also, it supports WMP for synching out of the box so you don't have to drag'n'drop, but drag'n'drop is usually better as you can use other applications to manage your collection.
I just wish it could internally resize video that's too large, within reason, rather than rejecting it.
Oh and I agree with the double tap nonsense - I wish they'd add an option to set it to single tap.
"Navigation around the 705 is pretty straightforward"
"The icons are not that intuitive"
lol, make your mind up...!
As far as I'm concerned, all of those chargeable extras should be standard out of the box. I'm sure it will do a very nice job, but I agree it needs marking harshly for being a con artist
"Creative and the like squabble over the mass market for MP3 players"
Do a bit of research mate before you knock out generic nonesense!
Creative own the only company that has made a chip capable of doing 720P HD output from 1watt of power and you think they arent interested in this market?
I have the similar but more portable 800x480 4.3" Archos 605WiFi
The Internet is MUCH better than Safari or Opera on the E65 phone. Phone displays are just too small.
But all these Archos are useless for DVR. They only record at 640x480
As PMP (video) and Web-Browers, great. I hope the rumour of Real Player or equivalent is true.
Unlike other PMP it will play 720x576 files as is. Though re-encoding to DivX is recommended to fit 2 to 3 times as many as straight DVD (which needs a plug in).
Indeed these are not DVRs.