What we think is missing.
Portrait Mode homescreen. Many Android applications are designed for portrait mode usage due to their smartphone roots. It becomes annoying to constantly have to turn the device back to landscape mode just to use the homescreen.
Haptic feedback. Something that many smartphone users will be familiar with. If done well it can add a very useful dimension to using an on-screen keyboard.
Camera. The Archos doesn’t need a camera but many Android applications expect to see it. A high-quality snap-on camera or usb camera support would make a nice addition.
Battery. The battery is a sealed-in part. We would expect a 2-year usable life from the device with very little drop in battery capacity and this should keep most users happy. Note that there is a mini-docking station with integrated battery pack available and the device can be run from A USB port so there are external battery options.
3G Data. The Archos is crying out to have integrated 3G data capability. We’re thinking about online navigation, removing the need to worry about hotspot security and in-car radio streaming. 3G capability would also allow carriers to sell the Archos for, in most cases, free with a low-cost data contract. Please Archos, make this an option.
Bluetooth. Full Bluetooth support is a must. File transfer and PAN support are used by many. Bluetooth printer support might also be useful. This is a firmware issue and we would encourage Archos to work on this aspect.
One application we’d love to see: Synergy. Being able to user the Archos as a component in a Synergy keyboard-and-mouse-sharing arrangement would be fantastic; A second computing screen for IM, Twitter and other applications.
Navigation features. A 5-day trial is included but we were unable to test within this short period. A full European map set with turn-by-turn capability is available for 50 Euros. We have requested a further test of this and hope to bring you a full review of this important aspect of the device.
Bluetooth keyboard/mouse has not been tested but we understand that this is working via the BT HID proile.
Screen capture on the Android is not possible at the moment so here are some photo images of various screens.
We paid 299 Euros for the 32GB SSD Archos 5 Internet Tablet and within just a few hours of using the device we were happy that the device had potential way beyond what the pricing might suggest. The quality web experience really pushes internet to the fore on what is essentially a media player (not a PDA) and it highlights how media, internet, communications, navigation and gaming can work together well on the same, 5″ screen device. From a design perspective, Archos have done an excellent job. It’s hard to think of any other device this small, with this much battery life and this much power and capability. A set of Android hardware keys, haptic feedback and TV-Out on the headphone port would make great additions but even without them we’re happy that the Archos 5 is a great value product. It only remains for us to, once again, highlight stability. The tested firmware (V1.4.09) was acceptable but only with the knowledge that improvements will come in future firmware upgrades. We’re looking forward to stability more than new features.
Archos have a potentially huge product with the Archos 5. With an 8GB version coming in close to 200 Euros and the thought of 3G, larger screen variants and Android applications they’ve got a great low-cost platform to build other products on. A step ahead of the Ipod Touch in terms of capability (although certainly not as slick and stable and with a very restricted application selection) and offering many features that more expensive MIDs and UMPCs fail to deliver on. We love the potential but hope that Archos spend money on improving the platform stability first before they extend their range of new products based on it.
We are continually monitoring the Archos Internet Tablet on Carrypad. This link will take you to the latest news.
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Archos 5 IT Owner Review