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Large-screen Linux-powered PMP pleases

Mar 9, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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The newest Linux-based PMP (portable media player) from Archos is much larger than most, but its bright, detailed, 7-inch screen justifies the extra bulk, according to several early reviews. At $550, the 704 features an 80GB hard drive, a 802.11b/g WiFi radio, and an Opera browser.

(Click for larger view of Archos 704)

Laptopmag only rates the 704 four stars out of five, yet heaps ample praise on the device, calling it the “best big-screen PMP money can buy,” and calling Archos the “reigning King of PMPs.” Reviewer Jeffrey Wilson's obvious enthusiasm for the device seems mitigated only by “sluggish performance” during Web browsing. He writes, “There was a pretty noticeable one- to two-second delay between an input and an action, which may grate the nerves of impatient Web surfers. In addition, flash-based sites such as YouTube are off-limits.”


Archos 604
(Click for details)

Still, Wilson recommends the 704 to readers who do not mind its size (1.4 pounds and 7 x 5 x 8.75) and price (about $550). For others, he recommends Archos's earlier (and smaller) 604 or 604 WiFi (pictured at right).

PC Magazine also rates the 704 four out of five stars, praising its screen, easy WiFi and filesharing setup, tabbed Opera browser, A/V recording capabilities (with optional $100 dock), and excellent sound quality, at least when used with $1,000 earbuds. On the downside, the device is “huge and heavy,” and lacks an FM tuner, the reviewer notes.

CNET, meanwhile, rates the device 7.3 (“Very good”), praising its smooth video playback, easy connectivity, fast file transfers, and simple user interface. On the downside, processing power is fairly weak, and the integrated Opera browser is not completely stable, especially with highly complex sites such as CNET and CNN. For browser-based email and lightweight surfing, the device works well, the reviewer says.

The CNET reviewer notes that users must buy several optional codecs at $20 apiece in order to enjoy popular video formats. And, they must buy a $100 dock in order to utilize the device's recording capabilities, and a $70 travel kit to use the device in a car.

None of the reviewers comment on the 704 WiFi's touted ability to serve as a camcorder, when connected to “most digital cameras,” nor its ability to serve as a “Photo wallet” for up to 800,000 photos.


The Archos 704 WiFi boasts a jumbo, 7-inch screen

Archos 704 WiFi features and specs

Additional 704 WiFi features and specs touted by Archos include:

  • 7-inch WVGA (800 x 480) screen with 262K colors
  • 802.11g WiFi
  • 40 or 80GB hard drive
  • Video formats:
  • Audio formats:
    • Stereo MP3 decoding @ 30-320 Kbits/s, constant or variable bit-rate
    • WMA, Protected WMA
    • WAV (PCM/ADPCM)
    • With optional software plug-ins:
      • AAC3 stereo audio files
      • AC3 stereo sound files
  • Photo formats JPEG, BMP, PNG
  • Transfer directly from digital camera
  • PDF viewer
  • Video recording, with the optional DVR Station or DVR Travel Adapter:
    • NTSC/PAL/SECAM to MPEG-4 SP files with ADPCM stereo sound
    • VGA resolution (640 x 480) @ 30 or 25 f/s, in AVI format
  • Audio recording, with optional DVR Travel Adapter or DVR Station:
    • WAV (IMA ADPCM or PCM) format
  • Interfaces:
    • USB 2.0 High-Speed Device (compatible USB 1.1) Mass Storage Class (MSC) and Media Transport Protocol (MTP)
    • USB 2.0 Host : Mass Storage Class (MSC) and Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP)
    • WiFi (802.11g) and Opera browser
    • 1/8th-inch (3.5 mm) stereo mini jack for headphones or TV output (PAL & NTSC)
    • DC-in to connect power adapter/charger
    • Mini B for USB 2.0 computer connection
    • Mini A for USB 2.0 host connection
    • Docking connectors to connect DVR Station and other Archos accessories
  • Removable Lithium-Ion Polymer battery:
    • up to 25 hours music playback
    • 5.5 hours video playback on internal LCD
  • 7.1 x 5 x 0.8 inches (182 x 128 x 20 mm)
  • Fold-out kickstand
  • 22 oz (630 grams)

The full Archos 704 reviews can be found at LaptopMag, PCMag, and CNET. A 770 WiFi slideshow is available here, courtesy of PCMag.

Availability

The Archos 704 appears to be sampling, but not yet widely available. It is priced at $550, including headphones, USB 2.0 cable, USB 2.0 host adapter, DVR Station saddle, 2 styli, remote control, power adapter/charger, protective pouch, quick-start guide, and legal and safety notice.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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