The Archos 32’s display has a 240 x 400 pixel resolution, which isn’t particularly impressive, but definitely gets the job done. Icons and text are readable, and thanks to the text-reflow ability of the Android browser text on websites is legible, when zoomed in, as well – it’s definitely acceptable given the price. The display is also bright, and colours are vibrant, which makes watching video as pleasurable as it can be on such a small device.
As ever, we’d be reluctant to watch an entire 45-minute episode of, say, Supernatural, but the occasional 20-minute hit of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Arrested Development on the tube would definitely be tolerable. And as it supports just about every format going, getting video onto the Archos 32 isn’t an issue – H.264 MKVs, and DivX AVIs being the two most important bases it covers.
Audio format support is equally comprehensive, with MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG and FLAC all playing back flawlessly. However, although he Archos 32 can decode lossless files, that’s not to say you’d want to. Blasphemous as it may be to say, we really couldn’t hear any difference between 320kbps MP3s and FLACs, even when using some fairly high-end earphones, in conjunction with a headphone amplifier.
That’s not to say the Archos 32 sounds bad; but it’s definitely good for its price, rather than outright good. There’s a muddy feeling to the high end, the soundstage is at best a little crowded, and at worst claustrophobic, and the low end comes across a little overpowering. With some music, especially grungier rock (Nirvana for example), it’s not especially noticeable as the tone tends to complicate the tracks, but with lighter, airier classical music there’s just not enough breathing space to give you a truly immersive listening experience.
But to reiterate the previously made point: for £100 it’s as good as you can expect. It only improves from there, too; the 800MHz CPU inside the Archos 32 is much more capable that we expected at tis price point. The Archos 32 had no problems running any of the apps we installed on it, with its ability to play Angry Birds probably key for the millions of fans that game inexplicably has.
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