A 3.5mm headphones jack is located on the left side of the player while opposite lurks the 5's single speaker, a rather puny affair making us wish Archos would start to fit its players with two small puny speakers rather than just the one.
Memory expansion is noticeable by its absence, but since the entry-level player comes with a 60GB HDD, we don't think that is such a big deal.
Archos has ditched the soft-touch matte screen of the 605 and 705 in favour of a solid high gloss affair with a more than decent specification: 4.8in corner to corner, 800 x 640 pixels and 16m colours.
The new screen is more prone to reflections
The new screen is more prone to reflections than the old, but in every other way it's a massive step forward. From a purely visual perspective, the 5's screen is very, very nearly as good as the similarly glossy and identical resolution 4in screen on the Cowon A3. Looking at the two devices running side by side, we'd still say that the A3 has the slightly sharper image, but there's very little in it.
The screen's solid backing works wonders for the touchscreen UI too. Tapping the screen on a 605 or 705 was a bit like prodding cold, congealed porridge. Taps on the 5 screen feel far more positive, and the UI reaction time is far faster, doubtless helped by the underlying Linux OS being driven by a 600MHz ARM processor with 128MB of RAM to romp about in.
File and codec support once again prove to be something of an Archos weakness. Out of the box you get MPEG 4 support, including Divx and XviD, WMV and Motion JPEG video, along with MP3, WMA, Protected WMA, WMA Pro 5.1 and WAV audio. Cough up £12.50 for the “Cinema” plug-in and you can add MPEG 2/VOB files with AC3 sound.
I have liked and bought Archos since their Jukebox Recorder 10 days in 2001-ish, but the moment they started charging for plugins and extras (e.g. no mains adapter) was the moment they lost as regular bump of £250 every 18 months from me. FAIL.
Archos - approach with caution
I have a 605 Wifi (4GB). When I bought it I really wanted to like the product, but little by little Archos managed to chip away at my love, until now I barely use the thing & will never again buy an Archos product.
Briefly: The hardware & especially the software are always in beta & never quite work. Technical support are grossly incompetent & rather rude, eg. send a bug report & get a message back saying 'Yeah, we know' - & they still haven't fixed the bugs. & a few months before shipping a new range, all maintainance of the previous models will cease - learn to love those bugs 'cos you'll be stuck with them for ever.
In my dealings with Archos I was made to feel that I really didn't matter. I realise that to a big, mass-market company individual customers don't count for much, but you never actually tell them that.
A PMP that requires the purchase of extra plug-ins to work as a PMP? FAIL!
A PMP that doesn't come with a charger? FAIL!
Archos' reputation for taking the mickey continues and I will continue to ignore the platform. My Nokia N800 meanwhile meets all the criteria.
Archos...a disgrace to technology.
If you want reliabilty DON'T buy an archos, any archos!!!!
I had a 605 for about 4 months until it bricked itself.
Sent it back to archos and after a month, yes a month, it was working again.
The next day I placed it on ebay and sold the fuckin thing, it is now somebody elses headache.
There are a large number of worrying reports of the paint wearing off on the corners of these things within days of ownership. Also reports of stuck pixels being common.