Exclusive Photos and Specs for the Archos 704 Wifi (Portable DVR)

Archos 604 vs. 704 (both WiFi)
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.

Unlike my Nokia (which runs on Linux too), the Archos DVR’s Opera web browser couldn’t handle flash content nor javascript properly. Thus, while you could possibly read your email, you couldn’t really enjoy any Youtube goodness nor savor any AJAX sites. It handles basic sites well, but I guess the saving grace is really it’s ability to scan the network for shared media from your various computers. Plugged to a TV, this could mean loads of fun since your recently downloaded shows could be streamed to your nice big tv for proper viewing. Not bad still for a portable device.

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!

  • http://alex.halavais.net Alex H.

    Was checking out one of the older Archoses at Target for the head-mounted cam, but trying to gut an old laptop instead. Really don’t need the screen for that App, so I’m hoping that a headless laptop with a really big drive will work for me–at least for low-res recording.

  • http://theory.isthereason.com Kevin

    Alex: I know you’re really into the “low-cost, reuse” alternative, but you might be interested in getting something portable. Here are some helmet cameras and site on hacking the open-source Neuros video recorder.

  • http://archosfans.com Charbax

    Hi thanks for this video, these pictures and the info..

    I wonder if your N770 supports youtube, I guess it doesn’t..

    Possibly Archos still can add a few features in firmware updates for the 604 Wi-Fi and the 704 Wi-Fi.. for example internet video streaming would be nice.

    I posted a link to this blog post and embedded your video at http://archosfans.com/2007/02/23/first-video-of-the-704-wi-fi/

  • http://theory.isthereason.com Kevin

    Charbax: The Nokia 770 doesn’t handle Youtube video, but it does work with other flash-enabled web sites unlike the Archos Opera Browser. I do hope Archos pushes the web features more… that would make it an awesome convergence device!

  • Snappy!

    Hi there,

    I wonder if the 504 or 604 wifi archos has any decent PIM or memopad apps internally or that can be installed?

    Further, I don’t seem to see any pricing info at memory world. Do you have any idea on pricing from them? 8)

  • http://www.carrypad.com Steve Paine

    Thats bad news that the browser isn’t Ajax or flash capable. That keeps it well away from UMPC territory. This is something I want to test on the i-station netforce as soon as I can (has anyone done this already?)
    I’m assuming you can’t tether it to a phone for HSDPA action either?

    Shame.

    Uber-PMPs are getting very very close to UMPC territory. I have a feeling we’re going to see some interesting crossover stuff this year.

    Steve.