Saturday, October 17, 2009

Archos 3 Review. An Inexpensive Pocketable Touchscreen from Archos

It's taken awhile to get here, but I finally received my Archos 3 today. I love the red anodized back. Seems to resist fingerprints well. This is a quick look. I may add a deeper review of it's capabilities at a later time. Keep checking back.Dimensions: 95mm (3.75") x 52mm (2.05") x 9mm (.35"), Weight: 63 grams (2.2 ounces). It's smaller and lighter than the iPod Touch.
- 3” Color LCD touch-screen - 400 x 240 pixels
- Battery: 14 hours music, 4 hours video

Includes: ARCHOS 3 Media Player, USB Cable (for charging and file transfer), earphones and user manual.

UI: Very simple. Tap an icon to open the associated app. Tap the bottom target to go back one level. The only confusing thing is the on-screen circle that I assume should be a list navigator. So far I haven't quite figured it out. Far from intuitive. The screen does react quickly to your touch. Volume control is on-screen in each app. There are no external volume buttons, and no way to control volume from the home screen or within the photo app.

- Music
-- Formats supported: MP3, WMA (non protected files), WAV, OGG, FLAC
-- Sort by Track, Artist, Album, Genre, Recording, Favorites, or Folder
-- EQ: 5-band manual and 6 presets.
-- Add to Favorites Option
-- Display cover art, Lyrics, frequency spectrum, or nothing.
- Video.
-- Formats supported: WMV, AVI, MPEG 1/2/4, RM, RMVB, FLV
-- Resume from last point watched or play from beginning.
-- output to TV.- Photos
-- Formats supported: JPEG, BMP, GIF
-- Slide Show, with music if you wish.
-- Flick left or right through photos.
-- Zoom in or out.
-- Rotate image clockwise or counter-clockwise.
- FM radio
-- FM record
-- Auto Search
-- Save or delete a station from presets.
-- Set your Region
-- Stereo or Mono.
- File Browser. A simple listing of the files/folder on the 3. Touch and hold for a delete files option.
- Calendar. Display only. No appointments or events.
- Stopwatch. Includes lap time. 100th of a second precision.
- Recorder. From internal microphone or FM radio. WAV format. Stored in the RECORD folder.
- Text: Reads and displays text files (.TXT) & lyrics files (.LRC). Find TXT files using the browser. You can save and load bookmarks. You can also set the font size and color.
- TV Output. No cable included. Nothing to report.
Summary: Every app has the basic features. Nothing unexpected though. Scrolling through long song lists is difficult. The sound is great, although the included headphones can be thrown out. The backlit LCD screen is old tech, and won't compete with any player that comes with an OLED screen. It serves it's purpose though.
Conclusions: For under $100, the 8gb Archos 3 is competitive with other players in it's price and capacity range. All the basics are there, but none of the extras like bluetooth, microSD expansion, or even external controls. A better value would be the Samsung P3 at under $150, but including bluetooth, external volume buttons, and a more refined set of applications.

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