Audio codec support is excellent with the Archos 5 Internet Tablet supporting MP3, WMA, WMA with DRM, non DRM AAC, AAC+, Ogg Vorbis and Flac! While having Ogg support is nice, it’s the inclusion of Flac that will make this device appeal to audiophiles. OK, so the Archos 5 isn’t really small enough to be used as an every day, pocketable digital music player, but if you do happen to have it with you on a long journey, you won’t be disappointed by the sound quality it produces. Coupled with a decent set of earphones (a set of Shure SE530s in my case), this Archos is an above average music player, especially if you happen to have ripped all your CDs to Flac.
Inside the Archos 5 Internet Tablet is an ARM Cortex processor running at 800MHz, along with a secondary 430MHz DSP processor. The integrated Wi-Fi adapter supports 802.11b, g and n, while you also get Bluetooth 2.0. The latter supports A2DP for streaming stereo music to a suitably equipped receiver, while also allowing the Archos to get online using a tethered mobile phone. There’s also an FM transmitter included so that you can stream your music to any FM radio – handy if your car stereo doesn’t have an auxiliary input of any kind. There’s also a built-in GPS receiver, although you only get a seven day trial of the GPS application, after which you’ll have to stump up some cash.
The integrated Wi-Fi makes the Archos 5 Internet Tablet a great, well, Internet Tablet. The built-in browser is very usable, as is the software keyboard, making web browsing a breeze. In fact, when I’m at home on my sofa watching TV, the Archos makes a great browsing tool when I get bored or have a burning need to look something up.
Archos is keen to push the gaming aspect of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, but on this score it’s clearly outgunned by the iPod touch. There’s support for basic Flash games, and of course with Android in residence, there’s the prospect of downloading games from the AppsLib. However, when you compare this to the sheer number of games available on the Apple App Store, Archos simply can’t compete.
Personally I don’t see the somewhat poor gaming experience as a problem, since I didn’t buy an iPhone to play games, and likewise, I have no intention of using my Archos 5 Internet Tablet for gaming either. If I really want to play games on the move, I’ll throw my Nintendo DS in my bag – compared to a proper handheld gaming console, even the iPod touch doesn’t cut the mustard.