Archos Unveils Generation 5: 105, 405, 605, and 705

So I took a trip to NYC to get a firsthand look at what Archos has in store for their next generation of portable media players. Overall I was impressed with what I had a chance to play with, even though only the 605 and 405 pre-production models were available. There were many nice features and a plethora of ways to enjoy your media on each of the players, but what impressed me most were the accuracy and sharpness of the screens and the devices’ price points. I am a bit worried about the lack of codec support for XviD and DivX files, though. It’s something Creative has always supported and that consumers want.

Archos 105

Tailing its bigger PMP brothers, the 105 weighs in at 1.8 oz. and measures 1.8” x 3.3” x 0.3”. The little player will sport a 1.8” 160×128 pixel 262K-color OLED screen with playback of JPEG and 15 fps WMV files. The 105 will come in a 2GB capacity and retail for around $90. With such a low frame rate, I’m not sure I would call this a PMP, but the price is not bad at all. Expect it sometime in the fall.

Archos 405 

The 405 falls in at the lower end of the Archos PMP lineup: it doesn’t have a touch screen, wi-fi, or external speaker, but the company is offering it at $170. Very nice price considering you get a 3.5” 480×272 pixel LCD screen. In terms of storage capacity, the player will only pack in 2GB of internal flash memory, but will house an SD slot (SDHC support as well) for a theoretical 32GB of additional storage. The 405 weighs 4.2 oz. and measures 3.9” x 3.1” x 0.5″. 

Archos 605:  What seem to be Archos’ MVP is the 605, which will be released in three different flavors/capacities. On the lower end, the device will pack 4GB of built-in flash and like the 405 will feature an SDHC slot for additional memory theoretically up to 32GB. It will retail for $200. Take one step up and you can get a 30GB drive without the SD slot for $300. At the top of the scale is the 160GB model for $400.

The 605 shares all the same features as the 405 plus it has a higher resolution screen (800×480), wi-fi connectivity, external speakers, and touchscreen capabilities. Additionally the screen size is bumped to 4.3”. For those interested in dimensions and weight, the 4GB and 30GB models are both 4.8” x 3.2” x 0.6” and tip the scales at 4.2 oz. and 6.7 oz., respectively. The 160GB version is bulkier to accommodate the 2.5” drive: 0.75” thick and 9.8 oz.

 If you’re thinking that you can’t fit much video on a 4GB device, don’t worry. The 605 in all capacities has the ability to stream media from any desktop or laptop computer connected to your network. Videos, photos, and music will all stream seamlessly as if they were on the device itself. 

Archos 705:  The flagship of Archos is the largest PMP on the market sporting more or less the same features as the 605 but on a 7” (800×480) screen. Portable may not quite be applicable here with a weight of a pound and a half (22 oz.) and a size of 7.05” x 0.96” x 7.75”. It will also come in 80GB and 160GB capacities.

Common Features of the 405, 605, and 705 

Audio, Video, and Other Formats

 On the audio end, playback is pretty standard: MP3, WMA, and WAV with additional support of AAC and AC3 with optional plug-ins. Recording audio can be done with the optional dock in WAV format.For video, the players support MPEG-4@L5 ASP AVI and WMV up to DVD resolution. Again there are video plug-ins that will allow for H.264 and MPEG-2 playback. You will also be able to record video with the optional dock in MPEG-4 at VGA resolutions.Some of the other features include photo viewing of JPEG, BMP, PNG, and other formats such as PDF. The 405 will be MSC as well as MTP so it will work onany modern operating system including current generations of Windows, Mac, and Linux. In addition it will offer USB host functions for MSC and PTP for digital cameras. 

On Screen Interface:  Here is a quick video on the 605 piped into a TV. The interface you see in this video will be the same with the 405 and 705 as well. The video is not thorough and just samples some of the features including the DVR, music playback, and photo sideshow.  

DVR:  These players will work as full-on DVRs with the optional DVR Station dock. Just like with any DVR, you will be able to schedule and record your favorite TV shows and sports events. What’s great about Archos’ dock, though, is that you can just remove the player from it and take your shows with you to a friend’s house or even your treadmill workout at the gym.  

Archos Content Portal:  Here’s where the new Generation 5 series really differentiates itself from the Generation 4 devices (’cause so far, you’ve probably noticed that not much has changed). Archos has teamed up with a few content providers to bring media directly to your device without the need for a computer. All you need is access to a wireless network. Registering your device will give you a personalized home page with content providers you choose to be a part of. For instance, signing up with CinemaNow allows you to download movies directly to the device for viewing on-the-go or connecting to your home theater. Not all content providers have been announced but CinemaNow, BurnLounge, and YouTube are already up and running. 

Optional Plug-ins:  Archos has a different approach to the way they sell their devices and optional plug-ins are something they offered in their Generation 4 line-up. I think this is a great idea in theory. Why pay for a web browser you may never use or AAC support you don’t need? At first I went along with it, but then I got a look at the pricing. Verbatim from Archos press release: 

Web browser Plug-In ($30): to surf the Web via the Opera® web browser and Adobe Flash®

Cinema (DVD, MPEG2 video, AC3 audio) Plug-In ($20): to play movies in MPEG-2/VOB format with AC3 sound (5.1-surround sound); copy/paste your DVD movies from your computer to your ARCHOS and select your language and subtitle.

Video Podcast (H.264, AAC Audio) Plug-In ($20): to play video podcasts in H.264 MPEG4 format and AAC audio files. Widgets Plug-In ($20): hundreds of great tools for your ARCHOS: video search, calendar, clock, weather forecasts, Gmail checker, games, and more.HiDef Video Plug-In ($20): to play movies in HD TV up to 720p resolution @24 f/s MPEG4 format

Internet Radio Plug-In ($20): Broadcast over the Internet up to 11,000 radio stations.

Real Video Plug-In ($20): to play the Real Video Player Format So if you want all of these features you need to shell out an additional $150, nearly the cost of some of the players themselves. I don’t have a problem with paying extra for plug-ins; I have a problem with the pricing. As a consumer I believe that cutting the prices in half would be fair. 

Optional Accessories Verbatim from Archos press release: 

DVR Station Gen 5 ($99.99): record TV, play video on TV and charge your ARCHOS. Make scheduled recordings from a VCR, satellite receiver, Digibox, Digital TV adapter (DVB-T) or a cable box. The DVR Station is compatible only with ARCHOS Generation 5 devices. Generation 5 saddles (DVR Station adapters) are packed with the DVR STATION.

DVR Travel Adapter ($69.99): record audio/video sources on the go.

Mini Dock ($29.99): transfer your files directly from other external hard drives or PMP. Quickly charge your ARCHOS through the DC-in. Play video on your TV with the video out. Battery Dock ($49.99): all the great features of the Mini Dock plus a built-in backup battery to get extended video playback.FM Remote ($29.99): built-in FM receiver and microphone to listen to radio anywhere or make voice recordings.

Helmet Cam ($149.99): turn your ARCHOS into a hands-free digital camcorder perfect for sports and family fun. Stand Case ($19.99): protect your ARCHOS or watch your videos in a convenient stand position (case allows access to all buttons).

By: Grahm Skee

Explore posts in the same categories: All, Archives, Gadgets, Mp3, Technology

2 Comments on “Archos Unveils Generation 5: 105, 405, 605, and 705”

  1. Hello there, and thank you for all your untangling here..;p I appreciate the info. and definately look forward to my next purchase!!
    Best and be well,

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