As is always the case with Archos Android devices there are no Google apps and no access to the Android Market, either, but you can fix both by sauntering over to Archos Fans and downloading the Froyo Market and Google apps installer. You can use Amazon's new app store when Amazon’s decides to let those of us not living in US to download from it.
Once you have installed the Market and snagged Adobe’s Flash Player 10.02 you can watch Flash video in the web browser - not a bad trick for a mid-price PMP.
Android Market can be added, but not officially
Skype worked perfectly though you’ll need to have your headphones to hand to make a call: while the 32 has a mic and 0.3Mp camera it doesn’t have a speaker. The 32 also lacks anything in the way of storage expansion.
Both MSC and MTP media transfer is supported but as always with Android devices playlists can’t be synchronised directly from MTP media players. There's no DRM support either, so you are stuffed when it comes to watching BBC iPlayer downloads. On a more positive note, albums ripped for gapless playback using LAME play as they should, without gaps.
Archos reckons that with a full charge the 32 will play music for 24 hours or present video for six, neither of which are claims I’d take issue with. I got six hours ten minutes out of it while looping a standard def H.264 video.
The 8GB 32 can easily be found for just under £100 which makes it significantly cheaper than Apple’s £130 iPod Nano or Samsung’s £150 Galaxy Player 50. If you can live without DRM support and storage expansion then the 32 has a lot going for it: codec support is broad, audio and video quality good, battery life strong and the Android UI is a pleasure to use despite the resistive panel. ®
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Archos 32 Android media player
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?