The display also performs the handy trick of rotating through 360 degrees, no matter what the screen is displaying. Given that all the controls are displayed on the screen, everything is always in the right place, no matter which way you hold the device.
Screen layout follows the orientation
The user interface doesn't stray too far from the Froyo norm, but Archos has added a selection of media applications and widgets. There's nothing revolutionary about them but the 3D picture gallery and cover-flow album selection are a step up from the plain Android norm.
Despite running Froyo, the Archos 43 lacks Flash. While technically supported, Archos has yet to get certification from Adobe, so you will have to wait for the plug-in to arrive before you can watch video in the web browser.
Palm-sized and 9mm thick
Flash apart the 43 can handle an impressive array of audio and video files with Ogg, Flac, MP3, AAC, DivX/Xvid, WMV and H.264 all covered, as well as MKV, AVI, MP4 and QuickTime video containers. Video resolutions are supported up to 720p. Most still image and subtitle types are accommodated too, and if you cough up $15 (£9.50) for the "Cinema" plug-in, you can also play VOB, TS and PS video as well as AC3 audio.
Content can be loaded by drag'n'drop or via an MTP media player, but you can't synch playlists, they have to be set up on-board. Support for gapless albums ripped using LAME is excellent.
Not being a Google approved device there's no Google account sign-in, nor Google apps like Talk or Navigation. The Navigation app is not such a big loss because the 43 doesn't have a GPS chip. The Android Market is also absent.
Next page: Nice touch?
Re: Significant price difference? (why isn't this added automatically?)
Similar memory? At least in my calculator 16 is twice 8, and that makes one hell of a difference. AND it accepts up to 32 GB from a memory card (sorry, iPod, I'm afraid you can't do that), which could make it up to 6 times more capacious.
Believe it or not.
There are people out there who still want traditional PMP's. Cost is the big attraction here. £169 versus £400+ for a decent large screen Android phone.
The only worry here is the company. Archos are notorious for poor support and promises of functionality that is then not delivered. They also shamelessly use their paying customers as beta (and with some devices even alpha) testers. This device is a classic example. They were touting it way back in June and accepting orders for a device that was months away from final completion. I wouldn't rely on Flash ever being delivered.
Still, even without Flash the froyo version of this device appears to be a whole lot better than most of the cheap Android devices being sold at the moment.
It's the UI, not the type of screen
It's the UI, not the type of screen that makes or breaks a touch interface.
This is true for the media player as it is for all other aspects of the UI including the web browser.
...and Archos does make a killer media interface despite what others might say. They actually make a proper video player that treats video as if it were something other than just an mp3 file or record album.
That said. The main advantage of Archos is they sell devices with much more storage than this one (or any Apple device).
Rue the day they bought into this hegemony?
your 101 may get patced for now ...
... but just wait until the model is replaced then you'll see nothing.
I would be tempted by this device however my mixed 604 owner experience would put that in question (when it works it's great, but support from Archos was useless even when they were patching it).