The 32 has a resistive screen but by a country mile it’s the best I have ever encountered. It’s faster, more reactive and more accurate than the panel in the 43, which itself wasn’t bad. The absence of multi-touch zoom aside when playing Angry Birds, it’s almost impossible to tell it’s not capacitive.
The power and volume keys are too close together
The speed of the interface is in some part due to the manly CPU under the bonnet. Archos says it’s an 800MHz chip but interrogate the system with Quadrant Standard and you’ll see it’s actually clocked at 1GHz. The Quadrant benchmark test threw up a score of 1517 which is on a par with an HTC Desire HD even though the 32 only has 256MB of Ram.
Archos seldom skips on codec support, and the 32 is no different. MP3, Flac, Ogg Vorbis, WMA and AAC audio are all supported along, with WMV, AVI, H.264, MKV and QuickTime video up to 720p. The video player also supports most common subtitle file types and visually things look rather good despite the low resolution.
Sound quality proved to be uniformly of a high standard and there is plenty of volume on tap though to take full advantage of the 32’s sonic ability you will need to bin the supplied headphones and buy some better ones.
Next page: The Archos UI in pictures
Re: San Fran?
I have the Orange San Francisco and it is incredibly easy to unlock, flash and root which is good as the Orange branded default ROM is quite lethargic.... I'm currently running Android 2.2 but there are also stable 2.3 ROMS out there that I might upgrade to at some point.
For the price I'd say that the SF going to be incredibly hard to beat unless you *really* want a dedicated music/video player. The main advantage of the Archos seems to be the CPU which is considerably faster than the 600MHz one in the SF (although this can be over-clocked to some degree and seems perfectly fast enough to me anyway). Another downside could be the battery life which isn't brilliant especially when using a WiFi connection, although if I was just playing music I'd turn any data connections off.
I think you can get the SF for around £95 from Orange now (+10% extra discount for NHS workers and other selected groups) so it's pretty good value although the screen is now TFT-LCD rather than the original AMOLED (although it's still capacitive rather than resistive of course) and provides 480x800 resolution which is twice that of the Archos as is the memory (512mb Vs, 256mb). It can also take 32gb Micro SD cards so considerable room for expansion if you have a reasonably large music collection...
I personally think the Archos is pretty good value but doesn't really come close to the SF as a general purpose device (perhaps because it's not) especially when you consider the screen resolution and expandability. There's also a pretty well established development community for the SF which is always a good thing. Not sure if the Archos has GPS either... I'm guessing it doesn't.
Of course, you can also make phone calls on the SF which can be rather useful if you only want to carry one device around with you :) I spend £10 a month on giffgaff goody-bags which is roughly a quarter of what many of my friends are paying for their 18-month iPhone/HTC Desire contracts....
Yep, I love my San Fransisco :)
how does it compare to the equally well priced Orange San Francisco on PAYG as per your earlier review of cheap Android phones?
Capacitive screen, easily rooted/upgraded (apparently), free phone for the same price
great idea but something critical will be wrong with it, such as battery life or needs rebooting daily. Good luck getting a firmware fix for it. Oh and consider any previous incarnation EOL now so no more fixes for those either.
I love the principle behind archos stuff but by god their support is shite.
I thought my brain had stopped functioning but, no, Google informs me that in the UK that is actually a thing.
What? No SDHC slot?
What use is a media player without a card slot for my media?