Archos is no stranger to the portable audio player market, and while we've known about its 104
for some time now, PCMag has finally given it a good once over in the testing lab. Apparently designed to compete with other miniaturized devices like the iPod mini / nano and Cowon iAudio 6
, the 104 sports a 4GB hard drive, 1.5-inch OLED display, and an enclosure that's about twice as thick (though just as tall) as the nano
. Available in black, silver, or pink, the relatively bare-bones DAP didn't have a whole lot to showcase aside from its decent design. Reviewers noted that controls and menus were simple, yet effective at navigating through libraries, and did allow bookmarking to keep your place in those lengthy audiobooks. The inability to play any flavor of lossless
format was a bit of a letdown, and although its "playlisting functions" were said to be "excellent," the included headphones were anything but. The unit took some serious criticism when the review team attempted to view pictures on the color display, and found the results to be "terrible," as "jaggies" distorted every photo they tried, even turning attractive faces into "scary sights." The biggest dig, however, came from the lackluster battery life -- by keeping the tunes rolling for only 11 hours, 50 minutes under "normal listening conditions," it fell several hours of short of expectations. The so-so player earned a well-deserved "average" rating, as the lack of extras (like an FM tuner) and poor display / battery performance really put a damper on things. But if your primary interest is keeping it simple, and you don't mind finding a charging port every 12 hours or so, you can snag the Archos 104 for a very competitive $159.99.