The Archos 105 has a very modern, basic design. The only two connections found on the MP3 player are a 3.5mm headphone jack and a mini-USB jack, both located at the top. Because the Archos 105 is super skinny, the case juts out a smidge around the top to accommodate the two jacks.
We like the Archos 105 navigation pad, but admittedly, it is more form than function. There's really no need to have the power and navigation controls connected. In fact, we would have preferred to see the power and hold functions tucked away on the side of the player.
The Archos 105's 1.8-inch screen looks much better than this photo would have you believe (those OLED screens always look horrid on camera). Still, with a video resolution of just 160x128 at 15 frames per second, we were less than thrilled with the Archos 105's video capabilities.
The Archos 105's anodized aluminum face is classy and durable. Unfortunately, it looks like Archos ran out of money before it could finish the back. We understand that the back of an MP3 player is a rather dull place for a company to invest in materials, but it is a bit of a letdown to flip the Archos 105 over and see a flat, plastic backing.
Truth told, we like the dimensions of the Archos 105 better than the squat third-gen iPod Nano. We also like the sub-$90 price tag. But there's more to an MP3 player than snappy looks and penny-pincher appeal. The Archos 105 cuts a lot of corners on features, screen quality, file format support, and battery life.
If the Archos 105 had been released a year earlier to compete against the second-gen iPod Nano, we would have nothing but praise. Unfortunately, these are intensely competitive times for flash-based MP3 players, and the Archos 105 just doesn't have an edge.
With its rectangular shape and 0.3-inch thickness, we often mistook the Archos 105 for an expensive European chocolate bar. With its anodized aluminum construction and recessed video screen, the Archos 105 can survive a few accidental bites without showing much damage. Good thing this doesn't come in chocolaty brown.