Archos 7 160GB Internet Media Tablet - Archos 7

By Stuart Andrews


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For movie watching those are obvious. This is about as big a screen as you can handle in two hands and it fits the supra-DVD 800 x 480 resolution perfectly. The image is bright, crisp and generally magnificent, the display handling rapid movement and vivid colours without any sign of ghosting or smearing. With a 600MHz ARM Cortex processor, a 32-bit DSP and 128MB of SDRAM, slowdown and poor frame rates are no problem, provided files are properly encoded. Normally, I'd watch a DVD rip of a blockbuster film like Iron Man on a mobile device with the feeling that I wasn't even getting 50 per cent of the experience, let alone something approaching mobile home cinema. With the Archos 7, I can forget about the limitations of the screen and just enjoy the film. Decently encoded movies are a must, and if I was feeling really picky I might say that the black level response could be better - darker scenes lose detail and some impact - but this is still hugely impressive stuff. With a decent set of headphones the sound is equally immersive, with a nice, wide soundstage and power and clarity to spare. Admittedly the output from the built-in speakers is too tinny to be of much use, especially when you pump up the volume, but at least this gives you options if you want to share a film or TV programme with others. Nor do you have to worry about the batteries running out before the movie ends; Archos quotes a ten hour battery life, and we achieved a little under nine in tests.

There's more good news if you just want to relax and listen to music - the Archos 7 will handle your audio files in style. As with the Archos 5, the bundled earbuds aren't actually that bad, but if you want to get the best from playback then you're still advised to plug in some replacement 'phones. Do so, and you'll get a clean, warm tone with plenty of detail that can handle complex classical music, stripped-back fifties Jazz or thumping, bass-heavy pop with equal aplomb. From the sweet, high violin of Ralph Vaughan William's 'The Lark Ascending' to the tense, rock-hard beats of Justin Timberlake's 'What Goes Around, Comes Around' and through the ragged-edged guitar and vocals of Kings of Leon's 'Revelry' the Archos 7 sounds superb. Only a handful of players I reviewed last year could better it. The quality of the output is backed up by strong format support. On an HDD-based player with a 160GB hard disk there's room for the odd uncompressed FLAC file, while OGG Vorbis support is always popular with those who have adopted the excellent MP3 alternative. iTunes users should beware, however, that AAC playback demands an optional £12 plug-in.

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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.


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.


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.


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 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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