Archos 105 review: Archos 105

Typical Price: £59.00
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2.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Design; price; fairly easy to use after practice; bookmarking option; drag and drop support.

The Bad Average sound quality; no included software for video conversion; average battery life; poor screen.

The Bottom Line A distinctly affordable player but very average performance and feature set reflects this. If you're eager to have video alongside your music and are on a tight budget, you'll probably be happy. If you're not fussed about video, or can stretch to a few more pounds, there are many superior alternatives

5.5 Overall

French manufacturer Archos is best known for its flagship multimedia player, the 605 WiFi -- a superb product that won our prestigious 2007 Editors' Choice award.

But high-capacity video and Internet devices aren't the only strings to the Archos bow; the 105 is a cute little music and video player that lacks any kind of pretension. What's more, at just £59 for 2GB, it's exceptionally well priced.

Design
Instantly, we noted how lightweight the 105 is. Archos has kept this player slim and weightless, without compromising its generally rugged feel. It's encased in a peculiar matte-finished plastic that feels like a sort of pseudo-metal. A standard mini USB port sits next to a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the player. We were sad not to see a physical hold switch -- you'll need to press and hold the power/menu button to lock the plastic keypad.

The only out-right disappointing aspect of the 105's design is the screen -- it's seriously low-resolution. It does its job but it's hardly putting its back into it. This was obviously a corner seriously cut in order to keep the player's price below £60.

Features
The 105 sports the same simple icon-driven interface used in other 5th-gen Archos players. Navigation is easy and menus are laid out intuitively. Music is sorted in the typical album>artist>song format, but can be browsed by genre or release date too. Videos and images are sorted in the same text-based way. While this is simple to work with, thumbnails would've been a nice touch.

Audio format support is quite average; only music in MP3, WMA or WAV is supported. Again, while this is understandable considering the player's low cost, AAC or FLAC would've been appreciated. Videos in WMV are supported at 160x128-pixel resolution. There's no software provided so you'll need to handle conversion yourself through Windows Media Player. JPEG images aren't restricted -- even a 2,304x1,728-pixel photo didn't look too bad on the small screen.

On-the-go playlist creation is pretty simple to use after some practice. If embedded into your MP3 files, album art is displayed alongside track information as a song plays. If you're an audiobook or podcast fan, you'll appreciate the bookmarking option that lets you mark your playback position for future listening.

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