Archos 35 Home Connect
Net savvy Android clock radio, anyone?
Review After having built a DECT home phone around the Android operating system doing the same for the humble bedside clock-radio probably seemed like a logical move for Archos so here we have the 35 Home Connect.
Beside manner: Archos' 35 Home Connect
The basic components are much the same in the Smart Home Phone reviewed recently, so you get a 3.5in 272 x 480 screen, a 1GHz TI 3630 CPU and 802.11n Wi-Fi but no Bluetooth or GPS. The shell is clearly made of the same gloss grey plastic but like the phone it feels well made.
Much the same? Yes, but there is one big difference, the Home Connect will play Flash video, something I couldn’t coax the Home Phone into doing despite an apparently identical technical specification. Flash playback wasn’t always wholly smooth or consistent but I got through an hour-long episode of The Crusades using the iPlayer app with only a couple of stalls.
Flash support enables BBC iPlayer viewing among other things
Like the 35 Smart Home Phone the Home Connect uses a resistive rather than capacitive screen, but it’s a much better implementation and could almost fool you into thinking it is capacitive. It makes me wonder if the touch screen on my review Smart Home Phone was a one-off dud.
I’ve no idea what sort of power the two speakers that flank the screen develop but they sound very nice with punchy bass and no hint of vocal sibilance. They deliver plenty of volume too. Certainly waking up to the Home Connect is a far more aurally satisfying experience than to the noise made by the speaker of a smartphone.
Homescreen with big icons
Below the screen you will find touch controls for the volume as well as the usual four Android system buttons. The buttons are not back-lit but they should be - ideally to match the subtle green clock that is the default standby display - and some sort of rocker control on top for the volume would have made sense too.
Next page: Aerial view
POWER CONSUMPTION. POWER CONSUMPTION. POWER CONSUMPTION. Please, whenever you review an electronic device, please give the power consumption (and that means more than battery life) as it would help people who are trying to make efficient choices.
On top of that, an easy ability to play a looping sound would be nice for some people. My wife uses a sound machine* to help her sleep.
* Sound machine replaced a standing fan: it'll pay for itself in reduced electricity costs in about 2 years. We'd have bought a combined sound machine/clock radio but you couldn't turn off the backlight and we like the room DARK.
A weighty problem?
It looks kind of light, and has a resistive touch-screen, which will require some pressure to operate.
My concern is that, unless you hold the body of the thing with one hand, you will just shove it around the bedside table as you try to prod the screen.
So if you get shitfaced and wake up the next morning in the bed of a strange woman, you won't be able to tell where you are?
Re: Re: Chumby
The original Chumby had stereo speakers, the one I have has a single speaker. It's a very loud and clear and there is a volume dial and snooze button. Screen is resistive touch. The Chumby doubles up as an FM radio, internet radio and has bunch of apps you can run on it that you download from their site. The device is definitely hampered from not running Android though and is basically obsolete as a platform.
I like the concept of the Archos device. Running Android is a good idea but I think it doesn't look very pretty. I think I would be more tempted by a device that looked like a picture frame preferably with an OLED screen. Failing that it would be interesting to pick up an OLED 800x400 capacative PAYG phones for less than this Archos, flash it with Cyanaogen and use that as a clock.
Wait a minute...
..a radio alarm clock with a built in camera?
Just what every bedroom needs, right?