Archos still seems to be the only company fully embracing Android as an operating system for its higher-end media players - or Internet Tablets, as Archos calls them. After the disappointing performance of the Samsung Galaxy 50, that might not be so surprising, but fortunately enough for Android's future as a media player OS, the Archos 28 Internet Tablet isn't a complete let down.
The smaller number reflects the main difference between the Archos 28 and the visibly similar Archos 32 - namely, a 2.8in display, down from 3.2in. The shrinkage is accompanied by a drop in resolution, giving the Archos 28 a pretty low 320 x 240 pixel count, which won't impress anyone. However, the smaller 100mm x 54mm x 9mm dimensions do make the Archos 28 easily pocketable, and at 68g you'll barely notice you're carrying it. Of course the Archos 28 is also cheaper than the 32, at £75 for 4GB of storage, or £90 for 8GB.
The Archos 28's small screen size, coupled with the low resolution, pretty much precludes using it as a serious video playback device. Even watching a 10 minute TED video was a chore, even if the codec support is impressive, encompassing H.264, VC1 motion JPEG and MPEG-2, in a wide variety of containers (including AVI, MKV and MOV, among others). The player will even show subtitles, if included with the video file.
As well as hindering video playback, the low resolution and small screen also makes navigating the Archos 28 somewhat fiddly at times. For a start, the touchscreen is resistive, which we can accept given the Archos 28's price, and thus not particularly accurate. Swiping gestures are particularly hindered, with strokes sometimes failing to be recognised - particularly when trying to open the notifications tray. The result is a touchscreen experience that leaves us hankering for the good old days of button-based navigation.
These complaints extend to the Archos 28's controls, all of which are touch-sensitive, save for the power button that has been located oddly on the bottom-left corner of the device. Especially lamentable is the absence of a physical volume control, making it impossible to adjust the loudness of the Archos 28 without removing it from a pocket - a cardinal sin for a media player.