The same money again will get you the “Video podcast” plug-in, supporting H.264 – which really should come pre-loaded - and AAC audio. A soon-to-arrive "Hi-Def" plug-in will let you view 720p WMV and MPEG 4 files. In due course, you'll be able to get all three plug-ins together for £25.
Twenty-five notes, but still no FLAC or Ogg support? That's taking le grande pipi. If Archos were just passing on licence fees then fair enough, but quite clearly it's charging way, way more. Its position seems to be 'why charge people for codecs they don't want?' Well, we never play WMA files on our devices, so can we have a few quid off? No? Thought not. The player also supports PDF, JPEG, BMP, PNG and GIF files.
On the upside, at least the web browser comes free with the 5 - Archos is still charging £20 for the same plug-in for the 605 Wi-Fi!
A 3.5mm headphones jack resides on the left hand side
The touchscreen places the on-screen volume control to the right and a play bar at bottom. For the 5, Archos has tightened the whole thing up, made it a little more intuitive than before and stuck to a simple, clear and attractive white-on-silver-and-black colour scheme. It's also added some some nice touches, such as the option to put shortcuts to regularly opened folders on the main screen.
The video fast-forward and rewind controls are worth highlighting. Dragging the play bar back and forth enables you to move through feature films at lightning pace, while pressing the fast-forward or rewind arrows ramps the speed up smoothly and progressively. We haven't come across a media player that enables the user to navigate through long videos in a more usable or reliable manner.
Audio quality has sometimes been a bit of an Archos Achilles' heel but the 5 is quite the best sounding player it has produced to date, though it's a shame that the supplied earphones are so cheap and nasty.
Using our usual test Griffin Tunebud earbuds and Sennheiser HD 25-SP headphones we were thoroughly impressed by the composure and quality of the sound across a range of styles and genres stretching from Beethoven's Op. 131 string quartet, through some Mylene Farmer dance re-mixes, to Virginia Astley's achingly sublime 1986 Sakamoto-produced album Hope in a Darkened Heart.
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.