We've been patiently awaiting the arrival of the Archos Gmini 104 for months, and here's the problem with waiting so long for a product: Technology begins to pass it by. In fact, technology was already ahead of this cute, sleek little MP3 player when it was announced in March. The Creative Zen Micro Photo, which features double the capacity and several more features than the Gmini 104, had already been out for four or five months. And the iPod Nano had already started the trend for 4GB flash devices several months before that. So, seeing this color-screened, 4GB microdrive player now is more than a bit anticlimactic. Still, it is an Archos, and since Archos so often puts out fine portable audio and video devices, we decided to give the Gmini 104 some face time.
Along the top of the Gmini 104, you'll find the headphone jack, USB port, and power input.
Having spent some quality one-on-one time with the buffed black Gmini 104, which also comes in metallic gray (um, silver?) and pink, we remain unimpressed. The device honestly feels like a throwback to 2005, and in the ever-evolving world of consumer electronics, that's practically the stone-age. It's not all bad, of course--after all, it is
. The player's smooth, largish body (it's like two Nanos stacked back to front) feels good in the hand, the controls are well laid-out and of ample size, and the graphical interface is simple to navigate. The OLED screen is attractive, displaying its wallpapers and images--though the screen could be bigger, considering the size of the device. Mac
-compatibility is a plus, as is the Gmini 104's ability to play subscription tracks from services such as Urge. Finally, the player's list price of $159.99 is pretty cheap for 4GB of memory (albeit not solid-state memory).