Archos 2 8GB - Archos 2 8GB

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

You don't get the same snap and energy with pop tracks that you might get from, for instance, Cowon's S9 or Sony's NWZ-S639F, and in A-to-B tests the Philips GoGear Opus makes the Archos 2 sound slightly dull, but in isolation the output is well-balanced, clear and enjoyable. If the player has weaknesses, it's that the mid-range is probably a little too thin to carry heavy rock music, while fans of dance and electronic music will probably want something with a bit more welly at the bottom end.

Testing with the Opus, tracks by Massive Attack, Bat for Lashes and Beck didn't sound as rich and dynamic on the Archos 2, and switching the EQ preset to Bass only made the sound go flat and muffled. If you like electronic or bass-heavy music and fancy the Archos's low, low price point, then pair it with a set of bass-focused earphones if you want to avoid disappointment.

While we're being negative, it's also worth pointing out that, with only ten hours of music playback, the Archos 2's battery life is distinctly behind the curve. More seriously, file format support is not exactly extensive. MP3? Obviously. WMA? Why, of course. AAC, OGG, FLAC, APE? Not on your nelly.

The lack of support for FLAC is particularly galling, as with its high capacity, low price point and expandability, the Archos 2 might have found some love from audiophiles looking for a bargain basement, take anywhere player. Then again, audiophiles will probably also want a player that sounds spectacular, not merely solid. Arguably, though, the money saved on the Archos 2 could be put towards purchasing a better pair of earphones, so things might just balance out overall.

As it is, the major thing that the Archos 2 has going for it is that it's a lot better than you might expect for the money. Personally, I'd rather spend less on a 4GB Clip or more on the 8GB version and do without video. In fact, I'd rather pony up a little more dough for a more capable video PMP. All the same, were I a cash-strapped chap with a heaving music library, I'd probably be more tempted. If that sounds like you, and you can live without the last word in audio quality, then buy away. In a way, the Archos 2 is the Fiat Panda of the PMP world. It's not really funky, lovable or exceptional in any way, but it's affordable and does the job. For some people out there, that's enough.

Verdict

The Archos 2 doesn't excel in any area, but it's very cheap and the quality isn't at all bad for the price. There are more exciting players out there, but it's worth considering if you're on a tight budget.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Value 8
  • Usability 7
  • Sound Quality 7

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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