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Archos 5, the “Ipod Touch Killer” – is it worth buying?

Well, here goes for another one. Once again, this is not to replace reviews that exist out there, in particular the review on ArchosLounge is worth reading as it is sufficiently in depth and will give you an answer to just about everything you can ask for.  And yes they also have the review in English! 🙂 En particulier pour les francobetes (amis lecteurs capables de lire le français) leur forum répond à beaucoup de questions pratiques.

Another resource that is useful is the infamous ‘AnythingButIpod‘ (ABI) website and they also have a very useful review of the Archos 5. You will see a big difference in tone between the two websites as Archos, if you did not know, is French, and the Lounge needs to show Gallic pride, although in the case of the Archos 5, some pride and merit are well deserved! ABI seems to think Archos is a bit shite. Certainly I remember looking at the 405 (I wanted the helmet camera for biking) but decided that something was wrong about it. That was a wise choice.

So, here I am in Honkers, and for some reason I see the Archos 5 at a store and decide to have a look. It becomes a long look. I have been thinking of some form of netbook for a wee while, and have been waiting for an Asus EEE to float by, but then i see that this thing has: a browser, Wi-fi, it’s using Opera (!!), video, touch screen etc etc.. So it’s a non Ipod Touch. And I take a look around at the thing. I connect to their network, and go online.

To say I was hit in the teeth is mild, I was holding a real-life mini-pc, something I could actually envision using somewhere in this wi-fi infested world and doing something potentially useful with. Nearly everything useful is now using some form of web interface so I tested Google mail, Facebook, this blog and its all OK. Yes, it can be barely readable, but it is all shipshape and useable.

Suffice it to say I bought it. This was good for the shop’s business, but it turns out not so good for my pocket. High street shops in HK make you pay essentially retail price so you gain nothing from buying from them, apart from getting service (and here I was lucky I got good service). Does this justify paying 25% more than in other places (check taobao for example, in mainland ZH it is 10% cheaper, in the UK 25%, in the US as well), maybe, but only if you can really use their facilities. This is what happens with impulse purchases I guess!

More later…

10 comments

1 Paula { 08.11.09 at 3:31 pm }

I was wondering, is it possible to type chinese on this thing? maybe via a website or something, then copy/paste it to where you need it. that would make buying it a lot more worth while for me.

2 patrick { 08.11.09 at 10:09 pm }

Hi Paula, no, they have not upgraded their OS since 30th of June, and their latest version is unlikely to allow for a true software keyboard. I have to use the Archos in French in order to have a FR keyboard, so your only hope is to use it in Chinese. hahahaha.
(changelog: Version 1.6.54 – June 30th, 2009
New:
* Hardware changes support
)

I think (I stand to be corrected!) that the Ipod Touch allows a full software keyboard and most likely the HTC smartphones do. Personally I would not buy the Archos 5/7, a new version is coming out (Archos 9) and you will be better waiting for that or looking at something else, although I must say that watching videos on the Archos is a pleasure, it rocks. The rest sucks. Another minus: the Wi-fi is *CRAP* really really REALLY crap (vous entendez Archos, le WIFI sur l’Archos 5 PUE!!!). Its range is abysmal, and only useful at home, forget using it in a wifi hotspot area unless its a megawatt one, 90% of the time it fails. Even in business lounge at airports it *FAILS*. Very disappointed by that.

3 patrick { 08.11.09 at 10:11 pm }

oh and it does not support copy and paste from a website, major minus point. Had I checked that I might not have impulse bought it… But the video is really hood…

4 Paula { 08.13.09 at 6:07 am }

Thanks, that’s really helpful. But I don’t think I’ll wait for the archos 9, because it’ll probably be way over my budget, and it’s not exactly pocket-size. I am considering buying the 605 wifi. The wifi isn’t any better, but the price is a lot more reasonable.
I’m going to wait a month before I decide, because it’s a lot of money for me. I’m also looking for other brands, but archos just seems to be the best option.

5 patrick { 08.17.09 at 10:47 am }

Hi Paula, I would not buy the 605, as most of the issues with the 605 and the 5 are the same, but the 605 makes you *pay* for nearly all plugins and they are not crackable. At least the 5 you can play just about any video file you can throw at it, apart from 720p (hi-def) and the video quality is just stunning, way superior to the 605. Unless you can get a 605 with at least 120gb and all the plugins for 100$+ less than the Archos 5 120GB then I think you will feel you made a bad choice. Also the 605 is not that small.

6 Keith { 09.08.09 at 8:55 pm }

I thought about the Ipod Touch at first, then saw the website videos on the Archos 5/7 and thought I would but that instead. Now your blog says no. Too much out there, too confusing!

7 patrick { 09.08.09 at 11:50 pm }

I know what you mean! Put it this way, if you are a non-technical user, go for the Ipod as it will be much easier to use. If you don’t like being part of the crowd of sheep and are tech savvy or an audiophile/videophile, go for the Archos 5 250GB (the Archos 7 is too bulky, you might as well get a Netbook at the price and 120GB will go quick if you do films), if you are a technophile and like gadgets, then go for the Ipod or the Zune, they will serve you much better as the Archos is simply too restricted in its expansion capabilities.

8 patrick { 09.08.09 at 11:55 pm }

You may also want to wait until end of October, mid/november, most likely Apple will bring out new stuff for the Xmas stockings, in particular check out this at Techcrunch: Large form Itouch for Fall 2009 🙂

9 patrick { 10.05.09 at 10:30 pm }

So, it seems that the initial ideas of an Archos 9 variant were a ruse (?) and now that there is a ‘new’ Archos 5 out there! What does this mean for existing Archos 5 users? We can upgrade to Android??? We finally get HD and apps for free?? J’aime bien le concept et le look, mais on a payé avec des sonnantes et trébuchantes ce qui à l’air d’être devenu un éléphant blanc! Why have the same name at the existing Archos 5 if there is no firmware upgrade plan announced? This is all very strange…
Sorry, I made a mistake it looks like they still want to make you pay for HD video
To be continued, but I can’t say I am overwhelmed at the moment, they should have brought out the 5 ‘IT’ version first, and even this version seems to have many limitations…

10 sarco { 03.15.10 at 12:51 am }

compre archos 5 i tablet, creo que es la mejor decision que tome.
comparando y revizando muchos comentarios , decidi por archos 5
porque? : porque lo que mas me gusto fue que comparado con IPOD TOUCH . Archos se puede expandir la memoria y tiene fm radio, aparte de otras occiones.