Over at ArsGeek there's some serious canoodling going on: they've got their hands on Archos' 605 WiFi PMP and fallen in love with the 30GB music, video and picture device. I'm not all that surprised, really; from when we saw the PMP at IFA 2007 it's been the ominous, hardball player on the media horizon.
Here's something I really can't wait to get my hands on: Archos' TV+ PVR/media streamer/web surfer, which the company were flaunting at IFA 2007. An instant competitor to the AppleTV - and, so my gut feeling says, with the potential to blow it out of the water - the compact box has a choice of 80GB or 250GB hard-drives and a plethora of connectivity including HDMI (outputting 720p Hi-Def), WiFi, USB 2.0 and ethernet.
There was something for everyone at Archos' stand at IFA 2007 - well, if you wanted a PMP, that is - with a broad range of new media players catering for every spec-demand and budget. Since I'm nothing if not greedy, I'll start at the top with the brand spanking new 605 WiFi and its swanky DVR base-station; we knew it was coming after it received FCC approval back in July, but there's nothing quite like seeing a 4.3-inch touchscreen toting, web-surfing, media downloading masterpiece in the flesh.
After seeing - and being instantly bored by - Philips rather "me too!" facsimile of the AppleTV, it's nice to see that we can rely on Archos for some decent competition. Their TV+ unit turns up its nose at a paltry 40GB hard-drive and instead whacks up to 500GB in there (other options are 80GB and 250GB), coupling that storage with HDMI, RGB inputs & outputs, WiFi and wired ethernet, USB and support for 720p.
It seems that this season's hot-look is gadgets with their whole front taken up by a screen, preferable touch-sensitive. The iPhone might be the most obvious, but then there are other handsets like LG's Prada cooperative and then obviously the usual gaggle of UMPCs. Meanwhile, Archos has been gradually spec'ing up their Portable Media Players to the point where they border on being UMPCs themselves; their latest, the 704, has a sleek metal casing that should really give Samsung something to aim for, as well as networking technologies such as WiFi. Techgage took a look at it to see whether the 704 should really be your pocket companion.
Boasting more photos than your average MySpace profile, GenerationMP3 have outdone themselves with a review of Archos' brandspankingnew 704 WiFi PMP. Rocking the 7-inch 800x480 touchscreen and with a sleek metal chassis, it's available in 40GB and 80GB capacities, can act in USB host mode for offloading images from your digital camera and plays back a vast array of formats in up to DVD resolution.
My my, what's this slinky little madam? Colourful touchscreen, clear GUI, handy hardware buttons? Let me introduce you fine gentlemen (and ladies, of course) to the Archos 604 - $350 worth of audio, video and image viewing loveliness. dapreview.net took it in hand and gave it a thorough fingering.
While video is handled beautifully and photos dealt with in a pleasingly straightforward manner, they found that audio was somewhat more tricky to manage. To quote: "as a video player, the 604 is superb but as an audio player you are better off looking elsewhere even in the PMP market". Necessary add-ons (like a DVR docking station and a number of AV-codec plugins) to make the unit the core of a home cinema setup would take the total investment to around $500, which is a whole lot of money. Still, they give it an overall score of 83%, so it's obviously impressing on more levels than it's failing!