In a small, luxurious private cinema in London's Soho district, Archos yesterday unveiled to us its fifth generation of portable media players, the flagship of which is the Archos 605.
There's been a good deal of buzz surrounding the new devices, despite the product range's slogan 'Entertainment your way' being as vague as it is enticing. Well, they had good reason to tell us something big was coming because the new 605 PVP is very impressive indeed.
The 605 is a really slim media player, with the 4GB and 30GB models only 15mm thick (capacities go up to 160GB). Archos also mentioned new 105, 405 and 705 players, but didn't reveal any major details. The 105, however, is a simple flash-based MP3 player that'll sell for around £60.
The 605 has a 109mm (4.3-inch) touch-screen display, with a resolution of 800x480 pixels. It's built on a new version of Linux, has fully integrated Wi-Fi and can be used to browse the Internet thanks to the Opera browser. Flash is fully supported, so sites such as YouTube work perfectly. In fact, not only do YouTube's embedded videos play perfectly -- including in full-screen mode -- but videos can be uploaded to YouTube directly from the device itself, without any need of a computer. Click on for more photos, dear chums...
Update: a Archos 605 WiFi review is now live on the site
Any media on any computer on your home network can be streamed to the 605, and a cheeky deal with video site dailymotion -- whose founder was at this launch event -- gives you access to a ridiculously large amount of video content.
If your own media collection, plus YouTube and dailymotion's video catalogues aren't enough, maybe you'll find any TV show currently airing quite appealing...
The 605 can be hooked up to your TV, Sky box or cable receiver and works as a fully-fledged DVR, with a nifty electronic programme guide that'll schedule the recording of any show you choose.
Once you're plugged into your TV you can sit back and use the remote control to browse through your media on-screen. All your networked content can be accessed via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. This also means those wonderful YouTube videos can be enjoyed full-screen on your HDTV.
If the thought of pixellated 320x240-resolution Web videos doesn't appeal, why not throw some 720p high-definition video into the mix -- the 605 can handle HD-quality video through the TV dock's component output.
To hook the beast up to your TV you'll need the Archos TV dock, bought separately. The price wasn't confirmed to us today but it's likely to hover around the £70 mark.
We couldn't end our brief hands-on time without a quick peek at how CNET.co.uk looked on the device. It's safe to say we were pretty impressed. Navigation was really easy using-esque gestures to throw the page around the screen. The virtual keyboard was also really easy to use and -- to our surprise -- very usable with just fingers.
The Archos 604 goes on sale in August with prices starting at £169. You can expect a full review very soon. -Nate Lanxon