Archos quotes a full charge as being good for 22 hours' audio play and seven of video. We say that is either a typo, or Archos is being very, very optimistic. The best we managed in real world use was 14 hours and five hours, respectively, though this may be a beta firmware issue fixed in the final release.
Use of the Wi-Fi radio has a major impact on those numbers. Out of the box, the 5 can only be charged through a computer's USB port as Archos doesn't supply a mains adaptor. Instead, it asks you to pony up a further £25 for the “Mini Dock”.
The UI will be familiar to anyone who has used a 605 or 705
Prices direct from Archos for the 5 range start at £280 for the 60GB model climbing to £360 for the 250GB device. In between sits the £320 120GB model, £20 more than you can get a 160GB 605 Wi-Fi for. Value for money? When you consider that a 32GB iPod Touch will put a large hole in £290 we would say yes, though we continue to have reservations about Archos' desire to charge extra for just about everything under the sun.
A case? That'll be £15. Want to record TV shows or play back media on your telly? You'll be needing the £80 DVR Station. Cowon, by contrast, just supplies you with a cable. Prices are yet to be announced for the DVB-T clip-on, or the helmet cam, or the battery dock, but we are guessing they won't be cheap.
For anyone who wants a bigger screen, the 5 will in due course be joined by device with a 7in screen and a HDD capacity of up to 320GB called... the 7. Also coming down the pike is the 5g, which is a 5 with a SIM card slot and support for HSDPA, though with only a 30GB HDD.
The A5 isn't perfect, but is comes very close. The device looks and feels superb, media playback is excellent, the internet experience is one of the best available on any current mobile device and the touchscreen UI is almost beyond criticism. Perhaps the screen lacks that last degree of fidelity found on the Cowon A3, and points have to be deducted for the lacklustre codec support, the proprietary USB cable, the poor earphones and lack of a supplied mains charger.
Archos 5 internet-enabled PMP
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.