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June 23, 2010

Archos 5 Review

Archos has been in the PMP (personal media player) business for the longest time so when they did an Android-powered tablet with the Archos 5, I thought the market will be pleased to see an affordable device coupled with a great mobile OS.


The Archos 5 comes in many flavors, from 8GB Flash to 500GB HDD, but for the purpose of this review, we looked at the Flash version. The device in impressively thin (close to a Nokia E71) and lightweight despite the combination of plastic and steel construction.

The power button is located on the top left side along with the volume toggle. The 3.5mm headphone jack is positioned on the bottom left side beside the micro-USB port. The micro-SD card slot is exposed at the bottom along with two ports that attaches it to the cradle (DVR Station).

The kickstand pops at the back to allow free-standing position both in landscape and portrait orientation (useful for when watching movies or during music playback).

The 4.8″ TFT display screen (800×480 pixel resolution) is bright but not too crisp and does not work well under direct sunlight or against bright light sources. The drawback to the display is that it has a resistive touch screen instead of the more manageable capacitive one. As such, touch navigation isn’t very accurate or as responsive as one would expect.

The Archos 5 comes with a custom Android OS v1.6 so you get the Android Market and AppsLib Store to browse thru thousands of free apps. With WiFi 802.11 b/g connectivity, the device fulfills its function as an internet tablet on top of being a media player. The GPS receiver also comes in very handy when using Google Maps.

Archos added a couple of other software features like the TV Scheduler and Video Recorder that works once you pair the device with the DVR Station (captures video played on your TV much like how TiVo works).

Movie playback is great and is able to decode a lot of video formats so you’re able to play movies as soon as you downloaded them. The screen offers a lot of real estate for a nice viewing experience and though the built-in speakers aren’t very loud, you can always hook an earphone anytime.

Web browsing is a good experience due to the large screen size and resolution but not as great as compared to, say, an iPod Touch mainly because of the lack of multi-touch and the resistive touch screen. I’d still maintain though that, for devices in this category, bigger is better.

Performance-wise, the Archos 5 is pretty capable but you’d bump into some sluggishness here and there. I’d attribute this to the multi-tasking nature of the platform running on a measly 128MB RAM but once you cleared up the memory (I used Advanced Task Killer), it performs comparably good as the HTC Hero.

The Archos 5 with its 4.8″ screen beside the Sony-Ericsson Xperia X10 with a 4.0″ screen.

One issue I had with the Archos 5 is that the device seemed to uncomfortably heat up when used extensively, like watching movies. Battery life didn’t reach the 7 hours as claimed by Archos but I am able to watch two full movies and have a little power left to browse the web for under an hour. The sleep mode helps conserve power by hibernating the device on its current state.

The built-in FM Radio is a nice addition (and you don’t need to hook it up an audio jack to work) plus the FM Transmitter allows you to broadcast sound wirelessly to a more powerful FM stereo speakers.

With a suggested price of Php15,500, the Archos 5 is an affordable investment for an internet tablet. I’m thinking it’s a viable alternative to the iPod Touch which is also priced around that number. The real power of the Archos 5 is revealed when you pair it with the DVR Station and it becomes a portable media player, TV recorder and internet TV hub.

Archos 9 PC Tablet running Windows 7
Archos Android tablets delayed due to Froyo
Archos 32 Internet Tablet

17 Responses to “Archos 5 Review”

  1. Jedd says:

    I can’t believe you reviewed a mobile device without mentioning anything about battery life.

  2. patrickross
    Twitter: PSEspiritu
    says:

    Abe, feedback on battery life, please.

    Thanks.

  3. yuga says:

    @jedd and patrick – the WP-SuperCache didn’t show it up the first time after editing. I’ve refreshed the page to include it.

  4. Jon
    Twitter: rand0m_insanity
    says:

    Too bad it does not have a capacitive touch screen. If it had, it would have been perfect. I love the kickstand!

    I hope they release one that has a better screen.

  5. kwekkwek says:

    kamukha ng dell streak. :)

  6. j
    Twitter: tagabalasik
    says:

    does the device come with the dvr dock sir?

  7. j
    Twitter: tagabalasik
    says:

    oh noes it doesnt come with it. lol.

  8. Teknisyan
    Twitter: Teknisyan
    says:

    Yeah.. looks like the device from dell. Archos just needs to improve some of the specs and this can be another tablet in the now getting-crowded-tablet-market.

  9. Herce says:

    What about the insane dock system? Is anything besides the non-portable DVR dock for sale here? If not, the device is crippled. Did you have to pay for all the codecs or did your “review” unit come with them for free? Its not free for the rest of us.

  10. yuga says:

    @herce – all the codec came free and the unit I review is the same as the one they are selling in stores. I think the one you bought is an old one and did not include all the codecs. The DVR Station can be bought separately for about 7k.

  11. Herce says:

    @Yuga, check Google. Review units come with the codecs free, retail units do not. The fact that Archos didn’t tell reviewers that was a topic on the ethics of Archos and reviewers way back when this was released to the rest of the world.

  12. yohan says:

    really cool stuff man :)

  13. Cool, but they should have built it with touch screen it would be perfect! But still like the look than my iPhone :(

  14. Hi there, just doing some browsing for my Bakersfield 4g site. Can’t believe the amount of information out there. Looking for something else, but cool site. Take care.

  15. Joncel
    Twitter: Joncel
    says:

    sir… before i buy a tablet, in your opinion, whats the best tablet in the market today aside from IPAD..
    thanks ofr the reply….

  16. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

  17. Arthuro
    Twitter: Arthuro_riderhotmail.com
    says:

    I love my archos : D
    i want some flash games 9.0 for play on touch screen some recomendations ?
    Arthuro_rider@hotmail.com

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