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Archos 7 160GB Internet Media Tablet review

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For several years now I've had a dream - a dream I'd like to call 'Shed Cinema'. You know how it is: you spend years building your dream home cinema system, buying a big-screen TV or projector with surround sound speakers and DVD/Blu-ray player to match, and do you ever get to watch a movie on it? Nope. Instead, it gets wasted on kid's films, home improvement programmes and sports you haven't the vaguest interest in, while you slowly develop a backlog of must-watch films that you never get around to actually watching.

One day it dawns on you that what you need isn't a living room system, but something portable that you can sneak out to the shed with and enjoy your feature presentation in blissful peace and quiet. Such a device would need a big, high-quality screen so that you can enjoy your films as they were meant to be enjoyed. It would need high-quality sound through headphones and - if possible - speakers, a capacious hard drive and Wi-Fi connectivity so that you could stream content direct from your PC. It also needs a battery that can last out a viewing of Return of the King: Extended Edition if need be. Some warm clothes and some smart excuses, and you'd be away.

Archos has just made this dream a reality.

Of course, Archos doesn't market it as 'the complete shed cinema solution' (though maybe it should). Instead, the Archos 7 is described as an Internet Media Tablet. Those of you without goldfish memories might also realise that it's the larger cousin of the Archos 5, which we reviewed back in October. In essence, the Archos 7 is nothing more than the Archos 5 with a bigger screen, but that one change makes such a difference that such a description doesn't really do it justice.

You see, the move from a 4.8in 800 x 480 screen to a 7in screen with the same resolution has two major consequences. The negative one is that it's a struggle to describe the Archos 7 as truly portable. With the same elegant, shiny, gunmetal casing as the 5 it's still a hugely desirable PMP, but it's as large as a paperback book and, at 640g, over twice as heavy as its smaller sibling. It's light enough and solid enough for you to take on a trip or use on the plane or train, but it's not the sort of thing you'd want to carry around all day, every day. In fact, you'd have to be mad to use it as your main MP3 or mobile video player. I'm not so sure, however, that that's really an issue; there are plenty of small, cheap PMPs that fill that need. The Archos 7 is all about two things, browsing the Web and watching movies, and in both cases that screen has serious benefits.

Chocoa

January 24, 2009, 6:40 pm

330 QUID!! and I still have to buy plugins for popular codecs !


Noooo Wayyy Archos!


- Revised buainess model required here.

Gnormie

January 24, 2009, 9:36 pm

@ Chocoa


It's a mixed blessing, on the one hand you're paying for functionality that really should be included from the get go, however Archos has to pay for the licenses to play these types of media and to include them as standard would raise the base price by quite a bit so people who don't need them are not paying for codecs they won't use - although personally I don't like the model either, it wouldn't be so bad if the codecs were cheap but with how expensive they are Archos is evidently making a good chunk of profit on top of the rights to use the codec.

smc8788

January 24, 2009, 10:55 pm

It's not that bad considering 𧷚 worth of iPod touch will only net you 32GB of storage, a smaller 480*320 resolution screen, weaker format support and worse video and audio quality.





So considering what it does and the capacity I think it is around right price bracket, but I would have liked to see it sub 𧷤 and offer better competition on price with the higher end iPod touch models considering it uses a cheaper HDD rather than flash memory and the touch interface is not as good.

Epic

January 25, 2009, 7:08 pm

I'm afraid Archos doesn't have the pricing power of Apple and should be looking at the prices of 9" netbooks rather than iPods if they want to sell many of these.

Bernard Miller

November 25, 2009, 10:19 pm

Beware if it goes wrong... i bought an Archos 7 and in 30 mins it froze permanently... i did a reccommended format and reloaded but it still wouldnt work.... i contacted archos who said it needed a repair and it would take 3 weeks at the european factory but if a part was needed it would take up to 7 weeks. i asked for a replacement due to the fact it was new out of the box, but they said i should go to the seller, (who hasn,t got back to me 7 days on) so i reluctantly opted for the repair. it cost £8.57 to send it back. i have had an email to say it may come back without the plugins i purchased and i would have to contact them to change them over... All i can say is this... the archos 7 looks an absolutly great piece of kit IF IT WORKS, but honestly you guys at archos 3 to 7 weeks is unacceptable in this day and age...with a faulty product out of the box there should be a quick returns policy and a swift resolution to a valuable customers problem...as for the internet seller (who reports to be reputable) ill be waiting to see what happens, after all a purchase of almost £300 is a small investment

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