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MP3 Players

Archos 704 WiFi: Magnificent 7 inches

Archos prepares to rock the portable video market with a 7-inch screen and enough storage space for over 100 DVD-quality movies. Goodbye eyestrain

The new Archos 704 WiFi is the proud recipient of our 'Most Hotly Anticipated Media Player in the Office this Week' award, and here's why. Successor to the fabulous 604 WiFi, the 704 comes with an 80GB hard disk -- enough storage for thousands upon thousands of MP3s at a high bit rate, or over 100 DVD-quality movies.

The 7-inch screen makes the 704 a little on the large side as an MP3 player, but as a dedicated movie player it's a gift from the heavens. Apple's video iPod has the capacity needed to store a decent number of movies, but on a 320x240-pixel screen, watching a two-hour film even at a high quality is something of an eye killer. With 80GB of storage and a massive 7-inch screen, the 704 will be the must-have gadget for mobile movie fans, especially since it'll play back videos encoded with the popular DivX/Xvid codecs.

So you've got a fabulous new gadget on which to watch every Star Trek episode ever made, but what about reading the news and email? What about seeing that gloriously high-resolution photo taken at your niece's tenth birthday that you know is waiting for you in your inbox? Thanks to the most useful invention since ADSL -- Wi-Fi -- the Archos 704 will exploit the Wi-Fi hotspots in your nearest cafes, giving you access to your online media through the Opera browser, wherever you happen to be. Plus, it'll be comfortable to read on such a large screen.

We've not been given any definite price for the 704, but our educated estimate stands between the £299 and £350 points. No release date for the US or Europe has yet been announced, but we're suspecting a spring/summer launch. Archos will be at CeBIT later this month exhibiting their new products, almost certainly including the new 704 WiFi. We'll bring you a full review as soon as we can. -NL