The Archos 5 Internet tablet/portable media player offers a large, high-resolution touch-screen display, Wi-Fi, music playback, photos, Flash video and game compatibility, Bluetooth, e-mail, a Web browser, a built-in speaker, an integrated kickstand, GPS, and support for a limited selection of Android applications.
The Archos 5 is a touch-screen portable media player that comes across like an Apple iPod Touch on steroids. Everything is designed to be over-the-top, from the 720p HD video playback and 4.8-inch screen, to the integrated GPS, Bluetooth, and FM transmitter. The capacities on offer are also beyond belief, starting with a $249 8GB model with a slender body and microSD slot, all the way up to a chunky, hard-drive-based 500GB version selling for $489.
The thinner 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB Archos 5 models measure 5.5 inches wide, 3 inches tall, and a relatively svelte 0.4 inch thick (hard-drive models are twice as thick). In real-world terms, that means the Archos 5 is just small enough to fit into the front or back pocket of your jeans, or slip into a small bag.
Aside from the Archos 5's notable distinction as the company's thinnest portable media player to date, the device is also one of the first from Archos to use a Micro-USB PC connection. Compared with the proprietary cables used on most Archos players in the past, the adoption of Micro-USB is a step in the right direction in terms of convenience, making it easier to acquire generic replacement cables.
In theory, the inclusion of Android apps is a great asset to the Archos 5, giving it a flexibility and extendability to compete against the iPod Touch. In practice, however, the app selection is hardly dazzling and the majority of Android apps are not yet supported. Out of the box, Archos includes an app for Twitter, an IM client, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Moov, High Paying Jobs, Yellowbook, and a ThinkFree app for opening Office and PDF documents.
We love the built-in metal kickstand that hinges out from the back--a brilliant feature, especially for watching movie-length video content. We're not thrilled with the glossy metallic coating on the back of the Archos 5, which holds smudges and fingerprints.