Unlike Archos media devices, the Archos 9 comes with standard Windows 7 media support. H.264, Divx, MPEG-2 and WMV appear to be supported out of the box and there’s full flash support if you need that for online videos. (see performance notes below.) We think the media player applications is good enough for most people but if you have a personal windows favorite, you will have no problems installing it.
As mentioned above, speaker quality is good but there’s no digital output. If you’re looking for a home cinema component you’d be better off with the Archos 5 and the docking station with remote control.
In a recorded live testing session we took a number of formats and checked out the performance. Unfortunately the results were not that impressive with the standard benchmark YouTube videos failing to play smoothly in anything but low-quality embedded versions. DivX and WMV support appears to work well up to a point but higher bitrates can cause problems. Our benchmark ‘Coral Reef Adventures’ WMVHD file didn’t play well at all. This is a video we see almost 100% success-rate with on netbooks. H.264 at 720p / 2Mbps works well (and looks great) but higher bitrates will start causing dropouts.
We saw no real evidence that the video decoding hardware was taking the strain from the CPU.
This is a Windows device and there are many thousands of iterations programs and codecs that can be used on the platform. In theory the platform is capable of much more than we have seen in our tests but as the Archos 9 appears to be targeted at the consumer, we feel it should be working to it’s full capability out of the box.
Regular tasks on Windows worked slowly and in benchmark tests we saw some very poor hard disk, memory and CPU scores that indicate that the Archos 9 is truly half of a netbook. Firefox regularly took over 10 seconds to start up and the login process on Windows 7 needs a minute or two before it has settled down and allows the user a judder-free run of the UI.
Combining a slow, single-threading CPU with the HDD, 1GB RAM and Windows 7 looks like a poor choice on paper and in reality, the story isn’t much different. Web Browsing with a maximum of two or three tabs (or a Flash blocker) is all you can expect although single-tab page loads are quite fast. Office apps will run on the device and the 60GB drive gives plenty of space for installing programs (although don’t expect anything near 60GB. Due to partitioning and a rescue partition, you’ve got less than half of that to play with.)
Windows 7 Experience Index.
Gaming Graphics: 2.3
Primary Hard Disk: 4.1
CrystalMark is a free application and available here.
11562 is not good. Netbooks are normally around the 20K mark. A ultra mobile PC with the 1.3Ghz CPU and a fast SSD can also reach over 20K.
Web Performance test.
Timed uncached pages over a local hotspot. First figure is time to start scrolling around text. Second figure is total page load time. Flash enabled.
- Carrypad.com 7/10
- Google News 3/3
- CNN.com 5/9
- Facebook.com 2/3
- uk,yahoo.com 5/6
- Techmeme.com 4/10
- Engadget.com 5/15
Results are good for a sub 1KG device.