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Archos 2 8GB review

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Archos 2 8GB
  • Archos 2 8GB
  • Archos 2 8GB
  • Archos 2 8GB
  • 8GB Flash Portable Media Player (Audio Player, Photo Viewer, Video Player, Voice Recorder, FM Tuner, FM Recorder - 1.8" Color LCD - 8GB Flash Memory)

Summary

Our Score:

7

With Apple it's all about the style and usability. With Cowon it's all about the sound. With Samsung it's all about the value. With Sony it's all about the quality. With Archos, it's mostly been about the video playback, but the Archos 2 is something of a departure. Here, it's all about the bottom line. £40 buys you an 8GB player from a respected brand, complete with video playback, FM radio, a voice recorder and a colourful, animated GUI. It's even expandable, for heaven's sake.

In other words, we have something here that undercuts and out-specs the 8GB version of Sandisk's ever-lovable Sansa Clip, which currently retails for nearly £10 more, and should - on paper - be the MP3 player bargain of the year. Has Archos created a stripped-back classic, or has the quality baby been tipped out with the bargain basement bathwater?

Well, it has to be said that the manufacturer has made a lot of intelligent choices here. For one thing, while the Archos 2 isn't the most stylish player in town - and that's putting it mildly - it doesn't feel like it's been built to hit such a low price point. Measuring 84mm x 41mm with a thickness of around 9mm, it's roughly the size of the mid-range E series Sony Walkman, though its 1.8in screen is a little smaller than Sony's 2in effort.

The gloss white plastic front of the case is complimented by a chrome back and, bar the slightly cheap feeling buttons, the unit feels solid and reasonably tough. The headphone socket sits next to the (hurrah!) standard mini-USB connector on the bottom edge, while the top edge hosts an on/off/hold switch and (double hurrah!) a microSDHC slot, which enables you to take the capacity up to 16GB or 24GB with an appropriate card. This isn't the sort of feature you expect on a £40 player.

I can say the same about the Archos 2's GUI. While primarily text-based, it makes selective use of animated icons and colour. It's quick to start up, snappy in use and relatively easy to navigate. The forward/backward buttons on the left scroll up and down through the available options or items, the M and Play/Pause buttons act as a menu toggle and select, respectively, while the up and down buttons on the right are mostly restricted to volume control. Albums and tracks can be browsed via file/folder or via iD3 tag, and the only odd thing I noticed is that songs on an album are occasionally listed out of the correct order for no clear reason.

Adam Foreman

June 21, 2009, 6:15 pm

I'm interested in selling my old ARCHOS 605 Wi-fi 160Gb, and upgrading to the new ARCHOS Series 5 250Gb Internet Media Tablet. Trouble is, its been some time since they released Series 5 I wonder if I should wait a little longer holding out for some news on any new models? hint hint TR!

sylar404

June 22, 2009, 12:23 pm

@ Adam - Archos should be releasing/announcing some new internet media tablets with android on September 15. I'm thinking of upgrading from my old Archos 404 to either that or the 5.

Adam Foreman

June 22, 2009, 7:05 pm

Thanks for the info, I definitely want to upgrade, first I need to send it back and have the battery replaced as my ARCHOS 605 has suffered a total battery collapse and no longer works without the docking station. Even the USB lead doesn’t supply enough power to sustain it. Thats one of the many design faults with the 605 series.

Edie

July 4, 2009, 8:31 am

I am having a hard time finding out if this archos2 can bookmark. Anyone know if this is an option or do I have to get a different product. this is my primary need on the mp3 I purchase. thanks

Barry Capon

September 7, 2009, 8:29 pm

I purchased on in August, and reasonably pleased with it. For reference, NO it cant bookmark, so playing audio books is a complete nighmare if the chapters are very long.





The audio quality is "OK" on headphones, but for those of you considering it as a cheap MP3 player for the car, beware! When I connected it one of those transmitters that puts out the signal on the FM band of the car radio, the HISS was terrible. It's not the fault of the FM transmitter, as it works great with the wifes Ipod. The only way I got an acceptable sound was using a Cassette Tape Converter, which seems to be a little better suited to the output of the Archos 2.





I have now puchased a futher 8Gb chip which hopefully I will be filling with more selections. The battery life was quoted at around 10 Hours, but anyone who has used Archos products before will know that that is very unlikly, mine seems about 4 - 5 hours, on reasonable volume.


All in all a great little player, and perfect for the kids for xmas.





Rated: 7 out of 10 (only because of poor battery life)

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