Click to see a slideshow of all the photos I took…
To the layman, it’s just another portable video player with a big screen. For the rest of us, the Archos 704 is something we’ve been waiting for, but have very little information about (even the Archos web site has nothing on this). While the rest of the world waits with baited breath, I got to play with it today!
Being a big fan of video and Internet-enabled devices, I saw the Archos 604 and 704 (both wifi) as possible replacements for my trusty Sony Cybershot M2 (hybrid cam) as well as my Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. With the helmet cam attachment for the Archos DVRs, I could document my travel experiences easily, while the Wifi feature would allow me to surf the web and check email. Sound good right? Well, here are some honest opinions after playing with it for a while.
First off, both the Archos 604 and 704 have awesome touchscreens… the rugged kind that uses your finger for controlling on-screen menus and still maintaining enough clarity for watching videos. In fact, both seem to run similarly, having the same feature set sans the difference in screen picture size and quality. You heard me right… other than the size, the 604 features around 16 million colors, while the 704 just features around 262k colors. Before you grimace, it isn’t really discernible as seen in my photo. The weight is also a factor, with the 604 coming in at 290 grams while the 704 coming in at 630 grams… just over double. Here are the spec sheets for the Archos 604 Wifi and the Archos 704 Wifi.
We know that the Archos devices handle videos dramatically well (e.g. multiple formats), and the sole distributor MemoryWorld prices it with the DVR dock for recording shows off TV or any video source just to make sure we enjoy that feature. What sold me was the wifi feature, which if it worked well, it would mean that I could ditch my Nokia Internet Tablet. In terms of expectations, some users from the ArchosFans forum even thought that it could be a UMPC competitor. While I find UMPCs silly to begin with, unfortunately this is where the Archos 704 stank.
Anyway, take a look at the photos I’ve taken and do give the nice folks at MemoryWorld a call. They didn’t pay me to recommend them, but they let me play with their toys long enough to make a decision… even though I ended up not buying one. Perhaps I’ll get the smallest one just to get the helmet cam going… that would be fun at conferences or for videoblogging.
UPDATE 1: Here’s an 11 second video clip showing both Archos 604 and 704 playing in sync.
UPDATE 2: Looks like my photos and videos have circulated to Gizmodo. Sweet!