Archos 605 and 405 details, hands-on

We were on Archos's side of town today so we popped by to check out the 605 WiFi and 405 media players. (We were bummed there wasn't a 105 or 705 around, but 705 was no big deal -- according to Archos it's the same device, just made thinner.) We've also got some additional details for you on these devices.

  • 605 will launch for $230 (4GB), $300 (30GB), and $400 (160GB)

  • 405 will launch for $170, not including SD

  • Both are available this summer

  • The 605 is 9.2 ounces, and 4.8 x 3.2 x 0.6-inches on the 4GB (flash) and 30GB model, 0.75-inches thick on the 160GB model

  • The 405 is 4.2 ounces, and 3.9 x 3.1 x 0.5-inches

  • Both 605 and 405 will have 5 hours video, 16 hours audio playback

  • The 605 not only streams video from the internet, it also downloads from a variety of paid and free channels (like CinemaNow, YouTube, BurnLounge, and Archos's own Content Portal, etc.)

  • 605 also features an EPG for recording video

Now that we've rounded out the specs, click on for some additional first impressions and a gallery of press shots.


Ok, now we can cut to the chase and tell you that the units are definitely smaller (and feel it). The buttons on both units are more intuitively laid out (finally volume has its own rocker), with an interesting wavy surface (peep the pics to see what we mean); it's far clickier and an all around more enjoyable experience fooling around with these things. The menus are also a bit more refined and a step up from the 4 series. Some of it was disabled, though, like the widgets area on the 605 WiFi (it uses Opera widgets, as Opera is its browser), as well as many of the content streaming / acquisition channels. However, almost everything interesting in this device costs money:

  • The browser on the 605 WiFi is $30 (includes Adobe Flash plugin)

  • Opera widgets cost $20 to enable

  • The Real video plugin costs $20

  • The internet radio plugin costs $20

  • The HD (720p) video output plugin costs $20

  • The H.264 plugin costs $20, as does "cinema" video, which supports VOB + 5.1-surround

So yeah, Archos totally loves to nickel and dime their customers. Still, browsing the web worked fairly well, although the unit were fooling around with had a pretty early firmware, we understand. The interesting thing is the unit's ability to play back FLV files (raw flash video), so when you visit a site like YouTube you're prompted to play the video embedded in the page, or expand to full-screen. (Playing embedded video was unbearably bad, like 0.5fps, but we'll give it the benefit of the doubt since it's pre-release hardware.) The 200ppi 800 x 480 display on the 605 was out of control, totally capable of showing off a relatively proper browsing experience. Assuming they can get some kinks worked out, the 605 WiFi could become the mid-size screen media device to beat.

P.S. -Ignore the errors on the 405 -- it's labeled as the 305 (it's not, it's the 405), and it's got some crazy drive error going on. Spot 'em, this is early hardware.