The Archos 5 has already been thoroughly torn apart in French by the cats at Archos Lounge, but there's nothing quite like getting your hands on a device for yourself, and while we found Archos' latest to be impressive in terms of raw ability and features, actually using all those features wasn't always smooth going. Although the 800 x 480 4.8-inch touchscreen is laudably bright and clear, it's still a resistive touch panel and feels like one, depressing slightly with each press and reacting a bit slowly in general. We used two different builds of the firmware, and while the second was an improvement, it still hung badly at times and occasionally crashed out hard, requiring a reset. The Opera-powered browser rendered fine, although it scrolled a bit choppily, and the mail client was functional, but obviously not capable enough to be used day-to-day -- it can't delete IMAP emails, for example. We were also a little annoyed by the constant come-ons for accessories and plug-ins -- plugging in the charger pops up an ad for a dock -- and we were left wondering why album art was downscaled so crappily with such a great display available. We also tried out the DVR station accessory, and while it upscaled the interface and content to 720p admirably, we were unable to get it to recognize component video in from a TiVo HD. That's basically the story here: the 5's got terrific potential but nothing's quite there yet -- too much seems missing, broken, or otherwise unpolished right now. There are more firmware updates scheduled, so we'll see how things go, and we may well be singing a different tune entirely when the plug-in enabling the 5g's built-in 3G modem is released, but for now we'd say we're a little disappointed in what should be a kickass little player.
Gallery | 42 Photos
Archos 5 unboxing and hands-on
Gallery | 17 Photos
Archos 5 DVR Station unboxing and hands-on